Tag Archive: women’s fiction



The Mother's PromiseThe Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe if I don’t write a review, I can hang onto the charms and lessons of this book. No. That’s not right. Others need to read it and the only way to hang on to the knowledge in this book is to read it again.

I finished this book four days ago. That’s how long I had the above conversation with myself.

There is a nice blurb about this book on GoodReads. And the one on NetGalley had me seeking it out. I’m glad they let me read it. But here’s my blurb: A young teen with severe social anxiety only child of a single mother dying of cancer, a social worker who is a victim of abuse, a nurse who is finished with IVF unsuccessfully.

Sally Hepworth pulls these four females into a book that is hard to put down and hard to leave behind. And not only is it a great story, it is full of real life answers to some of the problems these fems deal with.

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this, again. I do plan on a second read. Please read it, especially if you have social anxiety, there are some good ideas in here and the author shows she knows how we feel who have it. There are triggers for cancer patients and abuse victims but they are handled well and give each of the other characters more depth.

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The Last Chance Matinee (The Hudson Sisters #1)The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I noticed as I wished this story hadn’t ended was that it has a series name: The Hudson Sisters #1. Yay! I don’t have to leave my new friends forever! And while I am talking about the ending, relax, it isn’t a cliff-hanger. Everyone is safe. I just miss them.

You can look up the blurb to see what the book is about. I try to concentrate on my feelings about the story. What I noticed most of all, was the lack of conflict and yet I kept wanting to read more. I suppose the conflict is the undertone of how the characters ended up owning a theater. They had to spend the time getting to know each other and see how they fit into the scheme of things. But there was no great adventure, no one is in grave danger. Yet through each of their perspectives, you see their birth order and history.

It was because of the description of the story on the blurb on NetGalley dot com that I picked this up to review. I am so glad I did. It is quite an interesting story. I look forward to book two so I can see these women and watch them remake a theater together.

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The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (The Malayan Series)The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds by Selina Siak Chin Yoke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. At first, I got mad at the ancient order of things where females were worthless and could only hope to marry well. But keep reading. The main character grows on you. By the end, I was crying for her. I’d say more but–spoilers!

I hope I can read the rest of the series.

The book is about seeing the world through another woman’s eyes as she grows through her life. I love reading about other cultures. Though we have many differences, the female experience is what we have in common. Some of that we humans need to work on, but some of it is unique to being a woman.

This version was courtesy of NetGalley. Thank you for letting me read this!

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Serious Leigh (Literal Leigh Romance Diaries, #2)Serious Leigh by Melanie James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is such a fun series! I barely finished reading book one that I grabbed the next one and started reading. There are many laugh-out-loud moments with this witch in training. Leigh, her cursed writing desk and her very familiar, marvelous cat, Luna, find ways to have adventures no one had thought would happen in the life of an author. Writing after all is a lonely, boring life. Right? Not for this newbie witch.

These are quick reads but don’t feel like short stories. They are layered with full characters and a world that melds the real, current world with a few fantasy yet historic realms thrown in. Each book is based on the last but has its own personality.

I picked up the first book and this book for free. Now I have to find a few pennies ($2.99) to get the next book, so it may take a while before I get to read the rest of the series. But I will after the move is completed and I am bored–probably in the coming winter. That will add some light to my frozen life ahead.

Please give these a try. You might like them, too.

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Accidental Leigh (Literal Leigh Romance Diaries, #1)Accidental Leigh by Melanie James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I guess I’m in a mood for these lighter-weight books. Maybe because my mind is working on the move and all that entails. So, yes, another silly, fun book. It had me laughing out loud. Premise? A wannabe writer wants a desk to get in the mood. The desk is cursed. Everything written on it comes true. And as we writers know, the easiest thing to write is erotica. But oops–a lot! The first couple to fall under a curse–oh, shoot, I feel that would be cheating if I told you. Needless to say, it starts out hilarious and keeps going.

Now it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. It isn’t that kind of book. But it does make you want more. SO I am already about halfway finished with the next book. If you don’t mind, and maybe even like a little erotica, these books are for you. The situations Leigh gets herself into will keep you laughing and or wishing(?). Everyone needs a light read every now and then.

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I Have PeopleI Have People by Taylor Dean

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now, that’s unusual, you might be saying. Dar is giving a romance novel five stars. Yep. I am. That is because this is a cautionary tale of what all those romantic ideals can hand those who are blind in their love for the romantic partner. Notice, I said partner. Notice I didn’t just identify this as a fem issue. I realize that there are relationships of all kinds where one partner uses the other for a punching ball physically and or mentally. That is NOT love, folks.

Let me take a moment out to warn those with PTSD who have been in bad relationships, this book does have triggers. Even so, if you can live past them there are lessons to be learned here. Granted the outcome is much better than most real life situations might have. It is fiction after all.

BUT climb into the mind of the intelligent yet emotionally unstable young woman, Holly Sinclair. That is what Taylor Dean, the author, did quite well. I, personally, recognized many of Holly’s thoughts. These are the thoughts romanticized in many young adult/romance novels. They are angsty. At least Ms. Dean gave Holly a narrative of conflicting thoughts that rationalize both the healthy thoughts and the not so healthy ones. That gives the person who may be going through this additional thoughts to play out in their own minds. Remember, survival is more important than dead or maiming done in the name of ‘love’.

The most important lesson of this book is in the title: I Have People. The most important thing a person who is being abused needs to know is that they have people. To go find help. Pride be damned. Safety is more important. And though the women’s shelter was an option in the book that was tossed aside, I have known friends that gained a lot by going to the shelter and learning new ways to live their lives.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us who have relative safety around us, BE THE PEOPLE. As those around Holly notice and gracefully befriended her and drew her into safety. We need to be that kind of friends. Don’t hide from this situation. Do what you can to help make the abused person safe.

What I didn’t like was the lack of help for the abuser. I know he chose his own way, but we need as a society to find ways to recognize these people and bring them to re-education in places that keep others safe from them while they get the help they need, nonnegotiable help.

This is a social issue. The book should bring up discussion. Even so, it was a very good book that I couldn’t stop reading. It was well after 5 AM when I was finally able to go to sleep. The other caution. Smile. From about 50% in make sure to give yourself a chance to take care of yourself. It gets heavy!

Oh, I won this book initially in a contest held by the author. I picked it up on Smashwords then promptly forgot I had it. Sorry. Then I saw it as a freebie on Kindle. Picked it up. And to show how mixed up I really am, I read this on my MoonReader Pro because I could use its text-to-speech on my tablet in the dark. Soon I will be able to read these on my new Fire which has that feature. Can’t wait for that to get here! Anyway, the book is $2.99 on Smashwords and $3.99 on Amazon. Well worth the price! Sorry, Ms. Dean, for getting to it so late.

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UnforgottenUnforgotten by E.M. Vail

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Another one that kept me up til the wee hours of the morning.

Before I begin, I need to disclose that I picked this up quite a while ago from BookRooster.com which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I feel it is my fault, in a way, as I can only review so many books a month. But I download many, many per day and had at least 25 of the BookRoosters lined up. I am sorry to all authors who awaited my review. Even so, I will get to all of them, eventually. I only ordered the ones that sounded like my kind of books.

Look, I gave this five stars in spite of the bad editing. I am hoping that the new Kindle version (which, by the way, is free on Kindle Unlimited and only $2.99 for regular Kindle) is well edited. As I understand it, this is a first novel for the author, E.M. Vail. In that case, WOW!

Prologues are usually nonsense. I ordinarily don’t like them. They are a distraction that doesn’t pull the story along. In this case, I can say that when the story bogged down it was the curiosity about that prologue that kept me reading. I wondered all it would all come together.

The best thing about this book is how well developed all the characters are. Okay, I must admit that some of the dialogues felt stilted. And some of the actions or thoughts felt unfitting. But if one can keep moving regardless the story is fantastic. And as you fall in love with the characters and worry for their lives, keep a box of Kleenex handy. Around 90% in you will need them. And the pay-off of the prologue comes in the epilogue. Now you’ve come full circle and know why.

This is more than a coming of age book about three friends. This is a story of neighbors and the web of life for all. It is a full sized novel that I am happy I was given the chance to read. It could honestly be a good movie.

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The Nature of DenialThe Nature of Denial by Madelyn March

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I was given this ebook for an honest review.

Oh. My. Goodness! For me, this was an amazing book! To some, those who have never experienced mental illness in their birth families or within themselves, it might seem extreme. But if you have been blessed not to have depression or bipolar issues in your personal life if you were lucky enough to never have had post-partum depression, please read this book. Madelyn March, the author, climbs in deep and dirty to let the reader experience the confusion of being a child in an unhealthy family, and dives deeper as that grown child now has a child of her own. If Ms. March hasn’t experienced all this herself, she has done an enormous amount of research, speaking with those who have been through it.

This was a longer than the usual ebook, 250 pages. I loved the length as it gave me a chance to get to know all the characters. They were all well developed. The main character, Anna, brings you through her life to the moment of her breakdown and her struggles to come back to life. Other characters get their chance to show their own points of view which helps the reads see how these things happen in real life.

But this book doesn’t get bogged down in peoples’ heads. Life continues happening. Beauty still exists. Nature refuses to be upstaged by the minds of humans. I loved that aspect of this book. I got to travel to Michigan, hike in the woods, see the great lake, Superior. Never been there. Not sure I could handle the cold. But traveling by book never makes my fibromyalgia flare up. 🙂

Now that I know all these characters so deeply, I hate to let this group go. Though it was a nice ending with all threads tied up and hope for the future established, I want more. I want to see what happens next. I think that is a sign of a great book. And for those who might want to try it, it is free on Kindle Unlimited, only $2.99 for Kindle (I think it is well worth that) and there is a giveaway going right now on GoodReads. Oh, and the title is perfect! Try it!

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After the Sky Fell DownAfter the Sky Fell Down by Megan Nugen Isbell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, my! That wasn’t a book I would have seen myself reading. But somehow the author drew me in. And even when I wanted to stop reading during some boring or overly angsty part, I just couldn’t leave this poor widow and her life.

BIG WARNING: Get the Kleenex ready from the very start of the book. What I found interesting was how well Megan Nugen Isbell wrote all the feelings of a grieving person. She was able to capture how just the slightest thing could pull the sadness out, even on the most delightful of occurrences. Over and over I found myself wondering about the depth of the author, what she must have been through herself to find the depth she was able to put into words.

As the main character tries to pull her life back, love seems to propel her into other relationships. A baby, the deceased brother, and soon, a chance at life apart from the past. It was so honest and painful to watch what this poor young woman had to go through. I know it happens every day. We forget that even young people can have deep losses. It is hard enough to deal as an older adult but imagine when you are still young and have all those hormones running through you.

I know, I know, this is the very thing I get mad at in the Young Adult books, but somehow, this is different. This is written with pure heart. Motivations for life seem undiluted by appearances and overt sensuality. If there is romance, it seems to come in more gentle forms, holistic in nature. Geez, I am doing a poor job reviewing this. I would have given it five stars, but I have to admit to being bored with the angst on occasion. Not the grief. It felt natural. Just jealousy. I always find the green monster boring. Not that it doesn’t exist, but that too much is made of it when there are other deeper feelings to understand. Insecurity and fear cause jealousy. Anger because he catches her kissing someone else drives me crazy. But the author doesn’t dive into that too much and when she did she pulled out before I had the chance to throw the book aside and find something else to read.

If you feel the need for a good cry, this is the book for you. If you don’t want to cry, find another book for now. I loved the bittersweetness of the whole thing.

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The Twelfth Child (Serendipity #1)The Twelfth Child by Bette Lee Crosby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Twelfth Child (Serendipity #1)The Twelfth Child by Bette Lee Crosby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes, you’re between books. Too close to sleeping to put on a headset and listen to the whispersynched Kindle book or the text-to-speech on the older Kindle while reading on the self-lit Kindle app on the tablet. The main issue is that it is difficult to sleep with the headset on, blaring into your ears. At the same time, having the reading lamp on will make you stay awake for sure. So, you pick out a book by an author you know will be easy enough to follow on Kindle app alone. Bette Lee Crosby holds out that kind of hope for me. I have read other books by her and followed with or without the audio help. She writes plainly yet elegantly. She writes compelling stories that draw you in.

And so it was I started this book a couple nights ago. And yes, it drew me in, without keeping me awake all night. I was able to read a couple chapters and drift off comfortably. Then the next day I pulled in the text-to-speech and read until I was finished. And, as usual, I was not disappointed in her writing.

Ms. Crosby can make you believe you are there, in the past as the story is set up with the mother of twins. The daughter (one-half of the twins) becomes the twelfth child of her misogynistic, chauvinistic father. His only hope of having the wished-for son, is the other twin. This man married and was left by or widowed by so many women (what reasonable woman would stay near that man?) and he had lost his sons to death and their mothers’ flights. But at last, he has a son. But this poor kid wants nothing to do with the rugged farm life. Instead, that annoying girl child could have done anything that boy did and then some.

Anyway… That girl had enough gumption to span a few storylines and her entire life, including the afterlife and the court drama included. Wow! What? No, the court isn’t in the afterlife. It is the contemporary here and now, not choosing where to go at the Pearly Gates. But her spirit sticks around to make sure it all turns out okay.

Quite a few times I was surprised that the story didn’t end. I would look at the percentages and find I had lots more to read. I’d wonder where we could go from there. But Bette Lee Crosby wasn’t about to let it go until the story was finished. I was so happy with how it ended. Nope. You won’t get any spoilers here!

I look forward to reading more by Ms. Crosby!

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