Tag Archive: contemporary



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.


Serendipity (Southern Comfort, #1)Serendipity by Lisa Clark O’Neill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was an interesting story. What grabbed my attention was the main character, Ava, is a capable person who is out to protect others. She is a veterinarian after all.

There is romance. It gets a little bit too much for me. But it plays a part in the suspense and mystery.

It’s worth the read. Especially if you like mysteries.

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The Payback SocietyThe Payback Society by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, Cidney Swanson pulled me in and delivered a good story, one I didn’t like to put down for the night. Cidney knows how to write stories that are believable. The characters and plot are always well developed.

As a young adult, I think I would have loved this even more. The romance is not the most important aspect of the story. Of course, it is there. They are teens. But this story goes deeper. One guy thinks everyone should worship him. When our main character refuses all hell breaks out and payback is required. The reader will feel the need and satisfaction of said payback.

I want to say more but I’m afraid I will end up slipping serious spoilers.

If you get the chance pick up any of Cidney Swanson’s work and you will be on adventures you cannot believe. Of course, my favorite still remains the Saving Mars series. All others are fun, too.

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My Alien (The Alien Chronicles Book 1)My Alien by Robin Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Though I have rated this three stars, I still went and bought the next book. I have to stay true to me and my feelings.

The first part of this book is a lot like The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Ugh! what a horrid book that was. So as this alien takes over this teen girl it feels just like that!

Then this turned into a YA. Yes, with all that angst! UGH! times two!

By this point, I was ready to throw the book away. But I couldn’t get my other book to load up. So I continued reading. Somewhere around the three-quarters mark, I somehow cared for a couple of the characters.

I didn’t like the ending, a bit of a cliff-hanger. But curiosity got the better of me. I want to see what happens.

If you liked The Host, you might love this book, too. If you love teen angst, this is right up your alley,

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What HappenedWhat Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought I wrote a review for this one. Sorry, after looking all over I somehow never did.

As I usually say about autobiographies, this is HER story, not what I think I wanted from her. But I agree with a fellow reviewer on GoodReads Jessica Mae Stover. Here’s her review URL

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

for those reading on Amazon and Audible, you’ll have to look it up on your own as they don’t allow websites in reviews. Those on my blog enjoy.

In short, I listened to the Audible version and I felt she read her story okay. She didn’t get screechy as she did on some of her speeches. But what little she did address she did a good job.

Granted she had a lot to deal with that no other person running has ever had to deal with. And with the political temperament since the election has been a bully pulpit supported by his own channel. Misinformation and lies are starting to come out into the light. Still, Hillary owned up to most of her own issues.

My biggest issue, and I know nobody is asking me, whereas Bernie addressed the poor, Hillary dismissed him and the poor. Her deal seemed to be directed at the middle-class and above. Those of us who have slipped out of her sight, those who used to be middle-class, who were the first affected by the mortgage issues and were not given any help when the house got beyond the income. Now many of us are too old to help ourselves up by our bootstraps. We can’t afford the boots! Sure there are those with plenty of energy and health at our age, but we are not worth anyone’s time in politics. She didn’t address how we should get to the miracle cures out there, we can’t afford to go to the doctors. She didn’t address, nor did anyone except Bernie, those of us not able to afford to HELP them get into office.

That’s all I have to say about that. Others loved this book, a few hated it. I guess to each their own. Still, I think it best reading things we might not like as we can learn something here and there.

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The Hope Chest: A NovelThe Hope Chest: A Novel by Viola Shipman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was personal for me. I recently lost a dear cousin to ALS. It was through her mother that I got my antique hope chest. It was one of those dome-lidded train trunks. My grandfather and brother lined that hope chest with cedar and the lid with velvet. With all that family involved in this chest, how could I not fall into the thought processes of the day? Girls grow up and have families. They get married. Become someone else’s. That’s not all bad. (I’ve grown to accept that a hope chest could just be hope of growing up and having a place of your own, not put the hope into another person.) But I had a wonderful family full of aunts and uncles and double the grandparents. No matter how life at school or home was, there were other relatives of love I could rely on.

My hope chest aunt taught me to knit. All the cousins, girl cousins, learned to knit slippers. My other aunt taught me to crochet and sew. Mom didn’t have the patience for all that but having a fantastic extended family gave me hope and taught me what I think everyone should know. That you can love past differences. The uncle attached to that aunt, taught me how to tie my shoes. That uncle and the uncle attached to my crochet aunt, taught me that even if you disagree so much with ideas the rest of the family hold, everyone will still love you. Just disagree with you.

My brother, who helped my grandfather fix up that chest, was killed in a car accident. That grandfather died of Parkinson’s. Even that chest disappeared in the many moves of my life. But the love of that family is still there. My cousins and I see each other on FaceBook daily. It is the only reason I haven’t left social media. It is my new hope chest. It’s in my heart. And so is the cousin who isn’t with us anymore, at least not where we can see her.

This book brought all that up for me. Sure, in ways it is a little hokey. But it wasn’t a stupid romance novel. It was about people who love or learn to love and help each other. The writer wrote characters I could believe. The mom was a little too strict with the little girl, seemed she wouldn’t let her be a little girl. But there are people like that. The woman with ALS seemed a little too perfect, though in pain and having the disease. The husband was every woman’s dream husband, so maybe not so real. Even still, when a book can reach into your heart like this one did and you see and smell the garden and the lake and feel the love, that’s a good book. Bring your Kleenex.

Thank you, NetGalley for letting me read this gem!

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