Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown #review #fiction

Overview

She was Emily Dickinson’s maid, her confidante, her betrayer… and the savior of her legacy. 

An evocative new novel about Emily Dickinson’s longtime maid, Irish immigrant Margaret Maher, whose bond with the poet ensured Dickinson’s work would live on, from the USA Today bestselling author of Flight of the Sparrow, Amy Belding Brown.

Massachusetts, 1869. Margaret Maher has never been one to settle down. At twenty-seven, she’s never met a man who has tempted her enough to relinquish her independence to a matrimonial fate, and she hasn’t stayed in one place for long since her family fled the potato famine a decade ago.

When Maggie accepts a temporary position at the illustrious Dickinson family home in Amherst, it’s only to save money for her upcoming trip West to join her brothers in California. Maggie never imagines she will form a life-altering friendship with the eccentric, brilliant Miss Emily or that she’ll stay at the Homestead for the next thirty years.

In this richly drawn novel, Amy Belding Brown explores what it is to be an outsider looking in, and she sheds light on one of Dickinson’s closest confidantes—perhaps the person who knew the mysterious poet best—whose quiet act changed history and continues to influence literature to this very day.

Review

Emily Dickinson is an eccentric young lady. Her father hires a new maid, Maggie, to help around the house. Maggie is determined to move to California to be with her brothers. She is saving money but it will take her quite a while to accrue what she needs. So, when Mr. Dickinson comes in with his lucrative offer, Maggie is still hesitant. However, he is very insistent. Maggie ends up staying her whole life with Emily. Maggie and Emily develop a strange relationship. And it is a relationship which no one can sever.

Maggie is a character I enjoy. She is just a plain, hardworking woman. But she has dreams and the intelligence to achieve them. Then there is Emily. Emily is completely fascinating. She is creative and emotional but she is also sometimes cruel.

This story has a lot of mundane details in it. I enjoyed the history and the story around Emily. Just did not have enough “meat” in the content. Now, this is just my opinion.

If you love real historical people that are eccentric…you will enjoy this one! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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The Last Commandment by Scott Shepherd @mywriterslife #bookreview #murdermystery #thriller

Overview

A Scotland Yard detective tracks a serial killer from London to New York City

Christmastime in London. When three seemingly unconnected victims are murdered with matching sequential Roman numerals carved into their foreheads, Metropolitan Police Commander Austin Grant finds his answer in one of the last places he’d expect: the Holy Bible. Each of the deaths correspond to a transgression of one of the Ten Commandments, and Grant must find the killer before the remaining Commandments are commemorated with homicides.

Unfortunately for Grant, the next victim with a number on their forehead turns up not in London, but across the pond at the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, turning this English murder case into a transatlantic manhunt spanning two global metropolises, each with its own rich history and culture. Commander Grant must team up with a charming NYPD detective named John Frankel, as well as his own estranged daughter Rachel—a cunning investigative reporter with conflicting feelings about her father.

The Last Commandment is the third novel by acclaimed screenwriter and producer Scott Shepherd, whose decades of television writing experience shine through in the swift pace and character-driven storytelling of this devilishly fun, page-turning mystery. Flipping the “buddy cop” story on its head with a touch of Old Testament fatalism, this twisty tale leads from the seedy back-alleys of Piccadilly to the Grande Dame hotels of Midtown Manhattan and back again.

Review

This is a story which has you captivated all the way through. It all begins with the murder of a rock star in England and is quickly followed by two more. But the killer does not stay there. He travels across the pond to continue his agenda with a murder in NYC. His agenda…The Ten Commandments!

Scotland Yard Detective Austin Grant is on his last case. He is retiring at the end of the year. So he fully intends to wrap up this case quickly. But, he must team up with NYC detective John Frankel.

I love the characters in this tale, especially Austin Grant. He is humble and that comes across well. Not every author can create a character like this and maintain him all the way through. But Scott Shepherd did! I cannot wait for his next book! I am anxious to see what kind of twisted story he comes up with next!

Need a good murder mystery…OH BOY! This is it! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel for a honest review.

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Escapes and Escapades for July! #wrapup #julywrapup #escapesandescapades

Escapades

Oh! Fun times were had in July! A friend of mine and I took a trip to south Mississippi for a quick weekend get away! We hit two of the best bookstores in the state…Turnrow Books in Greenwood, MS and Square Books in Oxford.

Plus, Hubby and I had a date day…I had to get a mammogram…GO GET YOURS TODAY! IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE! So, we stopped at Jim’s Place for lunch. If you have never had Saganaki…you are missing out!

DELICIOUS!

Now on to the Escapes!

The Forest of Vanishing Stars
The Stranger in the Mirror
Far Gone
The Witness
The Shadow People
The Lost and Found Necklace
Yoga Pant Nation
Radar Girls

What did you read in July? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Audible Reads for July #audible #audiblebooks #audiobooks #wrapup

WOW! I had a fabulous audio book month! I can’t believe I listened to this many.

How many audiobooks did you conquer this month?

Shoulder Season
The Therapist
A Woman of Intelligence
A Good Day for Chardonnay

PLUS

I read this one for Book Club….oh boy! It was creepy and good!

What did you listen to and enjoy for July? Inquiring minds want to know!

Thanks for stopping by!

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A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones @macmillianaudio @darynda #fiction #5starread #bookreview

Overview

From the New York Times best-selling author Darynda Jones comes the second novel in her laugh-out-loud Sunshine Vicram mystery series, A Good Day for Chardonnay.

Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff – and even fuller-time coffee guzzler – Sunshine Vicram didn’t get that memo. 

All Sunshine really wants is one easygoing day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with takeout pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?) 

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally. 

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi that seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy. 

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

Review

Sunshine has a lot on her plate. She is sherriff of a small town, raising a strong willed teenager and trying to keep her parents out of her love life! But, when a bar fight gets out of hand, Sunny knows her day is about to get worse. Will the fight lead her to find out about her past or will it lead her to love…better read this to find out!

I have never read this author….GASP…I KNOW! Where have I been?! I have seen her books in many places, I just have never picked one up. That is about to be remedied! I enjoyed this novel tremendously! I loved the characters, the snarkiness and the twisted story. This definitely took me on a ride I will not soon forget.

This is number two in the Sunshine Vicram series. I have not read the first. I did ok without reading it but, I have some major questions so I am going to get that one soon. I need to know what happened to Sunshine in the first book!

The narrator, Lorelei King, did an excellent job. Perfect inflection…even with the snarky parts…must listen to find out!

Need a great mystery…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

I received this audiobook from the publisher for a honest review.

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The Ghost Marriage by Kirsten Mickelwait BOOK SPOTLIGHT @gosparkpoint

Overview

At thirty-one, Kirsten has just returned to San Francisco from a bohemian year in Rome, ready to pursue a serious career as a writer and eventually, she hopes, marriage and family. When she meets Steve Beckwith, a handsome and successful attorney, she begins to see that future materialize more quickly than she’d dared to expect. 

Twenty-two years later, Steve has turned into someone quite different. Unemployed and addicted to opioids, he uses money and their two children to emotionally blackmail Kirsten. What’s more, he’s been having an affair with their real estate agent, who is also her close friend. So she divorces him—but after their divorce is finalized, Steve is diagnosed with colon cancer and dies within a year, leaving Kirsten with $1.5 million in debts she knew nothing about. It’s then that she finally understands: The man she’d married was a needy, addictive person who came wrapped in a shiny package.

As she fights toward recovery, Kirsten begins to receive communications from Steve in the afterlife—which lead her on an unexpected path to forgiveness. The Ghost Marriageis her story of discovery—that life isn’t limited to the tangible reality we experience on this earth, and that our worst adversaries can become our greatest teachers.

About the Author

About Kirsten Mickelwait

Kirsten Mickelwait is a professional copywriter and editor by day and a writer of fiction/creative nonfiction by night. She’s an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Paris Writers’ Conference, and the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s at work on a new novel. You can learn more about her and her new memoir, The Ghost Marriage, at http://www.kirstenmickelwait.com.

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Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman @harlequinbooks #historicalfiction #review #bookreview

About the book:

WWII historical fiction inspired by the real women of the Women’s Air Raid Defense, RADAR GIRLS follows one unlikely recruit as she trains and serves in secrecy as a radar plotter on Hawaii. A tale of resilience and sisterhood, it sees the battles of the Pacific through the eyes of these pioneering women, and will appeal to fans of Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff.

An extraordinary story inspired by the real Women’s Air Raid Defense, where an unlikely recruit and her sisters-in-arms forge their place in WWII history.

Daisy Wilder prefers the company of horses to people, bare feet and saltwater to high heels and society parties. Then, in the dizzying aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daisy enlists in a top-secret program, replacing male soldiers in a war zone for the first time. Under fear of imminent invasion, the WARDs guide pilots into blacked-out air strips and track unidentified planes across Pacific skies.

But not everyone thinks the women are up to the job, and the new recruits must rise above their differences and work side-by-side despite the resistance and heartache they meet along the way. With America’s future on the line, Daisy is determined to prove herself worthy. And with the man she’s falling in love with out on the front lines, she cannot fail. From radar towers on remote mountaintops to flooded bomb shelters, she’ll need her new team when the stakes are highest. Because the most important battles are fought—and won—together.

This inspiring and uplifting tale of pioneering, unsung heroines vividly transports the reader to wartime Hawaii, where one woman’s call to duty leads her to find courage, strength and sisterhood.

Review

Daisy is grieving over the loss of her father and her mother. Her father died in a tragic accident and her mother has slipped into a deep depression. Daisy has had to take over earning a living and keeping them afloat. She is a horse trainer on the Hawaiian islands. When Pearl Harbor is attacked, it sends her life into a spin! Daisy is offered a wonderful opportunity to become a WARD for the army.

Daisy is a character I fell in love with. Her situation pulls at your heartstrings. She is very strong and smart. But, she has no idea she is all of those things, this is what makes her so endearing.

The setting of Hawaii and WWII make this story almost irresistible. Add in all the wonderful women and their interactions and you will not want to stop reading. The only reason I gave this 4 stars….it is just so neat and tidy. As a reader, you know how it is going to turn out.

Need a good WWII thriller with a wonderful setting…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sara Ackerman was born and raised in Hawaii. She studied journalism and earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find her in the mountains or in the ocean. She currently lives on the Big Island with her boyfriend and a houseful of bossy animals. Find out more about Sara and her books at http://www.ackermanbooks.com and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.

Social Links:

Author Website

Facebook: @ackermanbooks

Twitter: @AckermanBooks

Instagram: @saraackermanbooks

Pinterest

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/radar-girls/9780778332046

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Radar-Girls-Sara-Ackerman/dp/0778332047

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/radar-girls-sara-ackerman/1137495104?ean=9780778332046

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=radar+girls

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/radar-girls/id1527864335

Books A Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Radar-Girls/Sara-Ackerman/9780778332046?id=8062375558156

Target: https://www.target.com/p/radar-girls-by-sara-ackerman-paperback/-/A-81262195

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/radar-girls

Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about/Radar_Girls.html?id=Y7v3DwAAQBAJ

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A Woman of Intelligence by Karen Tanabe @macmillanaudio #historicalfiction #audiobook #audiblebook #audio

Overview

From “a master of historical fiction” (NPR), Karin Tanabe’s A Woman of Intelligence is an exhilarating tale of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman’s journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of the FBI.

A Fifth Avenue address, parties at the Plaza, two healthy sons, and the ideal husband: what looks like a perfect life for Katharina Edgeworth is anything but. It’s 1954, and the post-war American dream has become a nightmare.

A born and bred New Yorker, Katharina is the daughter of immigrants, Ivy-League-educated, and speaks four languages. As a single girl in 1940s Manhattan, she is a translator at the newly formed United Nations, devoting her days to her work and the promise of world peace – and her nights to cocktails and the promise of a good time.

Now the wife of a beloved pediatric surgeon and heir to a shipping fortune, Katharina is trapped in a gilded cage, desperate to escape the constraints of domesticity. So when she is approached by the FBI and asked to join their ranks as an informant, Katharina seizes the opportunity. A man from her past has become a high-level Soviet spy, but no one has been able to infiltrate his circle. Enter Katharina, the perfect woman for the job.

Navigating the demands of the FBI and the secrets of the KGB, she becomes a courier, carrying stolen government documents from D.C. to Manhattan. But as those closest to her lose their covers, and their lives, Katharina’s secret soon threatens to ruin her.

With the fast-paced twists of a classic spy thriller, and a nuanced depiction of female experience, A Woman of Intelligence shimmers with intrigue and desire.

Review

Katharina works as a translator for the United Nations. She gives it all up to become a wife and a mother. However, she is just not happy. She loves her family but her life is missing something. Because of her life before, she is on the FBI’s radar. She is approached to become an informant on the movement of communists in the area. She jumps at the chance.

Katharina is a unique character for this time period. Not many women worked in the 1950s. I love strong women characters but Katharina fell a bit short. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why. She is a bit whiny…aren’t we all at some time. And for her to be so strong…she sure did not have much of a backbone with her husband. I wanted to pinch his ear off.

All of that being said, I did enjoy this novel. I loved the intrigue and the spy game. And when Katharina finally found her voice…stand back!

Jennifer Jill Araya does a fabulous job as narrator. She has the perfect inflection and emotion. I will definitely be on the look out for her in the future!

Need an all around good book! THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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Yoga Pant Nation by Laura Gelman @henryholt #review #fiction

Overview

Good Morning America Buzz Pick

From the author of Class Mom and You’ve Been Volunteered comes Yoga Pant Nation–a novel about one mom’s challenges through parenting and life, keeping her on her toes and perpetually in yoga pants. 

Jen Dixon of Overland Park, Kansas—fearless mother of a fifth-grade boy and two thirty-something daughters—is used to juggling a lot, from her mission to become a spin instructor, to stepping in as the most acerbic class mom ever (again), to taking care of her two-year-old granddaughter. But when the PTA president throws her a mandate to raise $10,000 for the fifth-grade class, even unflappable Jen is going to need more than her regular spin class to get her through this final year at William Taft Elementary School.

In the midst of new complications—organizing the class overnight to Topeka, an unexpected spin class fan in the form of her husband’s crazy ex-wife, and trying to navigate her parents’ sudden descent into apparent delusions—Jen hardly has the patience to listen to yet another half-baked idea (come on, ladies, another wrapping paper sale?) from WeFUKCT (We Fundraise Until Kingdom Come Team), her fundraising committee. But if anyone can get elementary parents to pull off the impossible, it’s Jen Dixon. 

With her always irreverent and laugh-out-loud humor—boldly holding forth on those things you’re thinking, but would never dare say out loud—Laurie Gelman shines a light on the indignities and hilarities of modern parenting.

Review

Jen is a class mom struggling to keep everything together and flowing. However, as many things complicate her life, she still manages to keep her sense of humor and her self esteem in tact!

This book is totally cheeky, flippant and a tad bit rude! Jen’s letters to the class moms had me rolling on the floor. I could just see what some of the “stick in the mud” parents would say about it around here.

Jen is such a great character. She is truly the mom most of us do not want the world to see. She makes mistakes and she struggles to make all her points come together, as most moms do!

Need a hilarious, snarky book…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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The Lost and Found Necklace by Louisa Leaman @sourbookscasa @louisaleaman #romcom #fiction #review

Overview

A charming story of a wayward family heirloom, second chances, and true love. A perfect, feel-good summer read!

Jess has always loved taking chances, but after a terrible accident, she’s ready for a quieter life. No more unsuitable boyfriends or unsafe adventures. More time with Tim, her dependable boyfriend who seldom surprises her.

More time with family, like her ailing grandmother, Nancy, who wants Jess to bring home the lost vintage necklace that has been in their family for generations. The delicate moonstone pendant features a flutttering butterfly, and some say it has a history of leading its wearer to her soul mate. Jess isn’t sure about that, but the necklace belongs to the Taylor women, and she’s determined to bring it home.

All Jess has to do is bid on it at a local auction. But when a rival bidder outplays her and sweeps the necklace off the table, Jess finds herself face-to-face with a charming straanger who has his own reasons for wanting the necklace. He might be willing to part with it, if Jess will have dinner with him…

Desperate to bring back the necklace before her grandmother’s health gets worse, Jess has no choice, even if her boyfriend objects. She has to bring the necklace home, no matter what it does to her own happily ever after…

Review

Jess is determined to get back a family heirloom necklace for her grandmother. Her grandmother has been pining for this beautiful butterfly necklace since it disappeared. Jess has discovered it up for auction. Being outbid does not stop Jess! She hounds the owner, Guy, until there are fireworks!

The only issue I had with this book is Jess. Jess really never yearned to be adventurous after her accident. To me, you don’t change that part of you. I just felt like she didn’t fit the mold the author put her in. But that did not really affect my outlook on this tale. I adored the history and the mystery surrounding the necklace.

Then there is Guy! Oh boy Guy! He is magnetic from the get go! Basically because of his interactions with Jess. Their connection is irresistible!

Need a cute, romance with a side of old Hollywood…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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