Tag Archive: romance



The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War IIThe Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so sorry I am finished reading this book! I wanted to live with these characters. No, I didn’t want to live during a war, especially while bombs were dropping. But I love living with book people who love to share books with those they love. Oh, yeah. I already live that, sans bombs!

Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator) keeps the story live. Not even a moment did I remember real life while in the book.

I love stories about females during World War II, but they are often soft mushy girls who do not seek their inner strength. They often fall in love with the guy and become arm candy or the like. Not our main character here. She seeks her own worth and, in the process, finds a fellow book lover, even before she has become addicted to the same.

Please, if you get the chance, try this book. I think you may love it as much as I did. I was lucky to pick it up on Libby, but I am seriously thinking of getting my own copy for when I want to curl up in a guaranteed good read. I hope you love it as much as I do.

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Improbable Magic for Cynical WitchesImprobable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know who recommended this, but it was an insightful read. Kate uses Tarot Major Arcana to tell a piece of a teen’s confusing life. I love how we learn the cards as a story unto themselves and how it applies to Elenor’s past.

Kate Sclesa is a young adult novel, and the romances cause angst. But I loved climbing into Elenor’s thoughts and seeing how she caused her worries to grow.

Stacey Glemboski (Narrator) brought this Audible version alive with her voice acting.

Quite an enjoyable and inspiring read.

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On RotationOn Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who recommended this to me? Thank you, whoever you are. I am usually not into romance novels, but I loved this all the way through! However, recommended, I do remember looking it up and finding it on Libby.

Mela Lee (Narrator) told the story with believable passion.

I’m crazy about medical stories; a Grey’s Anatomy fan from the beginning, Dr. Kildare, started me out when I was a child. So this story pulled me right in. That it included a younger generation of adults and another culture made it even more engaging.

I may come back to reread this when I need a light distraction again.

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The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels, #1)The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t do this often, but I think I should include the blurb from the GoodReads page.

“A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.”

My friend, a Pirates of the Caribbean fan like me, suggested this for fun. Her book club had just enjoyed it.

But after the serious reading I had been doing of late, this was just not my cup of tea. At least at first. By the end, my sense of humor came back, and I had a hard time reading it before bed without letting Laugh out Loud moments escape me.

My copy came from the library on the Libby app. It was the audio version and the narrator, Elizabeth Knoweldon, was a hoot to listen to. I loved her accent and how she adjusted her voice according to the character.

If you are looking for a fun summer read, this might do the trick!

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The Lost and Found BookshopThe Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book would have been a perfect read if I only had a beach. Even so, it felt like You’ve Got Mail in a way. But the list of books mentioned throughout the book to check out was longer. The book series that contained Ballet Shoes wasn’t even mentioned.

What I loved was the multiple generations not just mentioned but given problems seen from both sides of the issues. And the story goes back generations and includes historical events of their times that affected the outcomes of the current characters.

I love how often San Francisco played in the story. I felt I got to travel just the tiniest bit.

The writing was fun, and the narrator, Emily Rankin, was great.

This is a book that I recommend for fun and leisure. Go for it!!!

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One Golden SummerOne Golden Summer by Clare Lydon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one of those beach-read type of books. Done in a couple of hours. It was fun for the most part. It felt very like the male-female romance books in the part I hate them ost about romance. Jealousy. And lack of communication. But it was cute and a quick read, so great to pass the time.

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Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I reread it. And I still say the same things about it being my favorite Outlander so far. Do you want to know why? Okay, beyond Diana Gabaldon’s writing and research and Davina Porter’s voice acting, this character and scenes list goes beyond the first review I wrote below.

Characters: Jamie Fraser, Brianna Randall, Roger MacKenzie, Jeremiah MacKenzie, Fergus Fraser, Marsali Fraser, Germain Fraser, Ian Murray, Lord John Grey, Benedict Arnold, Claire Randall Fraser, Jonathan Randall, Dougal MacKenzie, Geillis Duncan, Jenny Murray, Young Ian Murray, William Ransom, Rachel Hunter, Denzell Hunter, William Buccleigh MacKenzie, Amanda MacKenzie, Harold, Duke of Pardloe, Henri-Christian Fraser, Brian Fraser, Jane Pocock, Frances Pocock, Dorothea Grey, Jerry MacKenzie, George Washington.

Settings: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1778 (United States)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1980 (United Kingdom)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1739 (United Kingdom)
Savannah, Georgia, 1779 (United States)
North Carolina, 1779 (United States)
Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina, 1779 (United States)

***

I thought that book 7, Echo In The Bone, was my favorite of the Outlander books. Nope. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood wins. It was fantastic!

Regardless of the time the characters land in, they all grow and help us learn the rules of Gabaldon’s Time Travel.

What can I tell you that won’t spoil it for you?

As usual, there is a lot of research evident in the reading, and as one supposes, there are instances of poetic license, which Diana Gabaldon admits she has it framed on her wall.

The most exciting part of the book is as Breanna talks about Doctor Who in a chapter called, Thank You For The Fish. (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Now I really wish I had a TARDIS so that I could play in all three universes.

And I wish I could move on to book 9, but my Audible credits don’t come until the middle of the month. A quick note about why I read by Audible most often now: actual reading is impossible for my eyes. It seems to be a tracking issue. So I use a lot of Kindle Text-to-Speech. Though TTS works well for most books, I want to hear the words pronounced correctly when there are other languages involved. Davina Porter is able to range the language barriers and character ages and sexes with apparent ease. I love listening to her.

If you get the chance, the books are as good if not better than the shows, and the Audible versions are the best of all the worlds. Enjoy!

***
By the way, since the first reading and the need for Audible, I have had cataract surgery and hope that soon I can read paper books. But for books like this with many foreign languages I don’t know how to pronounce, I’ll stick with Audible.

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An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is my first review of this Audio version of the book. Nothing has changed. This is still my favorite Outlander book. It was great to read it as this season of Outlander streams. In fact, the scene from a couple of weeks ago I had just read the same day. Claire got sick. I’ll write no more about that without spoilers.

I took longer to read (listen) this time. Instead of knitting, I spend the listening time on Diamond Painting a series of dragons. I can only devote an hour or so to that endeavor. So with the before-bed read and creative pursuits, I couldn’t read straight through. I am already set up to read book 8. It’s like I can’t remember what happened next, yet I kind of remember and can’t wait to revisit it all.

***
This book may be my favorite of all the Outlanders. Maybe because of how I chose to read it nearly 24/7. After all, I had reached the skinny-mini underbelly of all streamings–teens or young people who look like Barbie Dolls going through the samo-samo life issues. Give me some older adults, women of all shapes and colors, real people, not Hollywood mothers, whores, or weaklings. Not enough streaming of strong women holding up half the world. So back to reading the only way I could. Audible.

Also, I was making scrubbies and washcloths while listening. That helped me ‘hear’ better.

By constant reading, I could stay in the story better. And family members came and listened with me on occasion. So it wasn’t a lonely process.

At any rate, I loved watching the cast of the characters struggle with life and time travel issues and historical moments. I especially loved the parts about Brianna and Roger at Lallybroch recovering letters from Claire and Jamie. And though I used to find Willy obnoxious, I think I clicked with him this time. And I grew more in love with John Grey. How nice to see good, honest, quality men portrayed.

I tried to find something else to read last night as my bedtime read but couldn’t resist looking for more Outlander. Now I am listening to book 8, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

Time to lower my reading goal as I seem stuck in tome reading. I love it! I hope you get the chance to read these. Oh, and Davina Porter does so many voices so well. I still wish for more actual actors, for sometimes Bri and Claire sound the same, and all the children sound the same, and Roger, even with his sore throat, sounds like other men. Still, for one person covering so many people, Davina is fantastic!

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A Breath of Snow and AshesA Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is the review from the last time I read/listened to this book. I have re-rated this and given it five stars. I think this reading corresponds with the newest episodes on the show. The last episode I watched was exactly what I had just listened to that day. I love following both the book and the show and seeing how they translate the written word, especially a long book like this, into a show excellently done.

Though I stay with the thought that the narrator, as excellent as she is, for the most part, had a hard time helping the listener to know who’s point of view she was portraying. Still, I followed better this time than the last read.

I highly recommend these books. Like last time, I have already started book 7. Yay, William as a grown-up!

***

Wow! Am I finally finished with this book? It is the longest book I think I have ever read. I don’t think it needs to be that long, either.

Look. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the story, the characters, and the time travel element concept. I just found the length unbearable with the thousands of books on my TBR shelf.

It is fun to explore the early days in America with the characters. I have to admit that I loved the time in Scotland the most, so this book is missing that aspect.

The other problem with this book is that our magical narrator, Divina Porter, couldn’t handle all the characters. Now that Brea is an adult, she sounds like Clair. Now that Roger is an adult, he sounds like Jamie. All the children sound the same. Maybe if I could read simultaneously as listening, I could sort them out. But that is not possible for me and my eyes.

The last thing I need to point out, in case it counts for your reading the book is that I am already reading book 7, so…

It is worth the read. Stay with it. There are rewards in the story. And in this crazy world, a sweet time-travel romance can calm the worries that like to strike at bedtime.

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The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The new season on television prompted a reread of what I hoped was the equivalent of the book series. Except for a couple of scenes, this book was the more the season before. Still, this read raised my rating from four stars to five.

The narrator, Davina Porter, is terrific as she is reading Diana Gabaldon’s outstanding writing. In fact, I have decided that Ms. Gabaldon is one of my favorite authors. And Ms. Porter may be my favorite narrator. I love living in the Outlander world. I not only read at night before sleep, which proves hard to leave the book for but while Diamond Painting or knitting.

I found the same issue with figuring out when the voice is Claire’s or Bree’s, or Jamie’s or Roger’s, but it was easier this time knowing the story from the TV show and having read this before. I have already picked up the next book, A Breath of Snow and Ash. Now I am nearly caught up with the television series. I just wanted to see how the Revolution progressed in the books.

I highly recommend this series and its TV counterpart.

Below is my earlier review.

These are such great books. The story continues. And now I can watch the current series on TV. But…

Until this book, Divina Porter, the narrator of all the Outlander books, was able to change the voices of most of the characters enough that a listener could tell who was talking. With Bree, Roger, and Ian grown, they all sound like Clair and Jamie. If my eyes could handle the tracking, I would try to have the book or Kindle version open to track who is speaking. Instead, I have to back up a bit to see if I can find out. Or I just keep listening, and finally, context will indicate who had just been the speaker. That throws me out of the story.

Is it me, or is this book a little less exciting? I know with Covid19 all around and the stress that has caused us all, it may be playing a part in my attention levels. I may have to reread the series later when life returns us to quieter minds. So I will try not to affect my rating on this issue. I still loved it and have already downloaded the next book. I can’t wait to see how Jamie and his men adjust to the American Revolution. What if you were on the wrong side of history and knew it but couldn’t do much about it as no one but you had access to future history? Yeah. What a conundrum! Excellent writing, Diana Gabaldon!

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