Sunday, March 28, 2021

It's Monday; What Are You Reading

 Happy Monday to all the book bloggers over at Book Date.   I spent the week grabbing NetGalleys but not doing a lot of reading.  Actually what I've been doing isn't normal for me--I'm reading several books at one time.  I'm enjoying them all but they are very different and none are books I can't put down.  I did finish and review

I need to get reading if I'm going to request so many NetGalleys.  Has anyone else got these? 

I grabbed this because I've been reading road trip books lately and thought I'd add this to the collection

I'm usually a Susan Mallery fan, so I grabbed this when I saw it.

A series romance. The books in the series are tied together by location and by the fact that healing is needed before love can flourish. I've enjoyed others in the series. 

Hope everyone has a good week and if you are celebrating Passover or Holy Week, may God be with you!--and may He be with you even if you aren't.  

Review: Two Week Wait


About the Book:

For the last two decades, Jane has been trying for a baby. She knows all about surviving the agonising two-week wait between ovulation and test. Increasingly desperate, Jane opens her laptop, clicks, ‘TWW Forum: New Thread’, and types. ‘Anyone else starting their two-week wait? Shall we wait it out together?’

Four women respond to Jane’s message online; all strangers, all embarking on the same emotional two-week journey. All wanting just one thing. A baby.

This fast-paced, light-hearted read explores the heartache of infertility through the bittersweet stories of five women;

Mandi is young and eager. She needs all the help she can get.

Becks already has one child and is stuck in the hellish limbo of secondary infertility.

Instagram sensation, Star, is living and selling a false dream, online and off.

Finally, feisty Fern is scheduling a pregnancy in between film shoots
Five women, five stories, waiting to find out if it’s their turn for a baby. Love, heartache, shattered dreams and broken relationships. The two-week wait pushes them all to their limits.

My Comments:

This wasn't the book for me.  I knew I was older and at a different stage in life than these women, and luckily infertility was not the cross I was chosen to carry, when I chose to read this book.  I liked the premise of an online support group as I have (and do) belong to some, but I never really warmed up to any of the women and in the end, well, I hated the ending.

Chapters are dated throughout the 14 days between ovulation and pregnancy test.  Each chapter contains the messages on the forum, which are full of internet forum lingo (DH, TWW, etc) and then the story of what is happening in the characters' lives. 

As I said, I hated the ending.  Toward the end, one of the women tells the others she is pregnant--and we know who she is.  The others have all gotten negative tests and say their goodbyes--maybe they'll get together again in two weeks to start another TWW.    Then one posts to the forum that she too has a positive test--but no one responds and we don't know who it is.  Nope.  Not the way I like a book to end.  If you are going to get me invested in characters, tell me what happened to them.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade: C 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Last Carolina Sister: My Review


About the Book:

Meredith Ventner knows a wounded creature when she sees one. Though her temporary new neighbor may be—on the surface at least—a successful, drop-dead gorgeous doctor, she recognizes the deep hurt Ryan Sorensen is carrying, and it’s catnip to her soul. But even though Meredith is the youngest, scrappiest and single-est of Magnolia’s most famous sisters, she’s committed to expanding the animal shelter on her newly inherited farm. She can’t waste her energy on a man who’s only passing through town.

Ryan is hoping that after a month of small-town living he’ll be healed enough to return to his busy ER. His injured leg isn’t half as painful as his guilt from the tragedy he’s trying to forget. Yet somehow, helping feisty, tenderhearted Meredith care for her menagerie is making him question his career-first priorities. Here in this quirky small town another future is coming into view, but can he change his life, and open his heart, to claim it?

My Comments:

This is the third book in this series and I reviewed the second one here.  

Basically this is a sweet predictable romance set in a charming small town.  It not only features the relationship between him and her but also her relationship with her half sisters, though in this book the sisters have a much reduced role and we are introduced to the characters in Major's next book.  While there is nothing wrong with this book, there is nothing particularly interesting either.  I saw every plot twist coming and like most romance novels, the end was a forgone conclusion.  

I'd like to thank the author for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade: B-

Monday, March 22, 2021

It's Monday, What Are You Reading


New Books

Happy Monday to all the book bloggers over at Book Date. I haven't gotten much reading done this week, but I've been busy requesting NetGalleys, and I've gotten:

A Woman of Words is about Jesus' mother Mary and Matthew the tax collector/evangelist. I haven't started it.

I don't remember requesting this one, much less why.  Guess I'll give it a try.  

Love this cover

This is about an eleven year old African-American girl in a town about an hour from here. I'm enjoying it, including seeing the other side of town as it appears to those who live there

I'm not quite sure about the premise of operating a bookstore while on vacation, but the cover sure is pretty

I'm afraid this didn't do anything for me.

Book Reviews:

In January I wrote about my Bible "reading" plans for the year--I listen to two podcasts, one of which is reading through the Bible in a Year, and the other which is taking the Book of Matthew one passage at a time.  Now that we are almost 1/3 of the way through the year, I want to take a minute to recommend both podcasts.  

Have a great reading week. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Review: Protecting His Pregnant Ex


About the Book

Grieving over the terminal diagnosis for his sister, Navy SEAL Brock Hardy tries to bury his pain in the arms of the only woman he’s ever loved, Monica Ingram. It’s a mistake; the last thing he wants to do is bring his damaged, personal baggage into Monica’s life and hurt her. Things get even more complicated when he returns home for the funeral and a caseworker with a baby shows up at his late sister’s door the same time as Monica. Turns out Brock’s sister was a foster parent, and with a blizzard brewing, the caseworker has nowhere else to leave the baby. Brock has the house, still set up for childcare, and Monica has experience caring for infants, so they team up…just for now. Meanwhile, Monica has her own surprise for him—she’s pregnant.

As Brock and Monica set up house during the storm, an unexplained broken window and snowy footprints outside puts them on edge. Is someone trying to harm the baby?

Monica only wanted to let Brock know she was pregnant, but after volunteering to help the desperate caseworker, she’s now staying in his house, caring for an adorable baby, and feeling things for the sexy SEAL she’d rather not. It’s hard to resist a man as gorgeous and nice as Brock, even if he does try to hide his softer side. Their attraction smolders beneath everything they do, and it doesn’t take much for that spark to turn into a flame. When it’s clear their lives are in danger, Monica’s never been so happy to have a tough Navy SEAL by her side. But after the storm is over and the danger is gone, will Brock be gone too, running away from commitment like he’s always done before? Or will he finally realize love is the best baggage of all?

My Comments

Sometimes you are in the mood for a serious read--and other times you pick up a book like this.  All you have to do is read the blurb above to realize that this book is going to start with an improbable premise and it wasn't hard to imagine that a lot of other things that wouldn't be likely in real life would happen in this book.  No, I can't say there was anything about the book that surprised me or made me think the publisher tried a bait-and-switch with the blurb.  I got exactly what I expected, including a happily ever after and some vivid bedroom scenes.  If excessive realism in a romance novel is not necessary for you to enjoy it, this could be right up your alley.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B-.  This book can be accessed via a Kindle Unlimited subscription.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Children's Book Review: Teensy Weensy Virus


Teensy Weensy Virus

About the Book:

COVID-19 is a big deal—but with all that adults have to worry about, it’s easy to overlook the pandemic’s impact on children. This book provides a great way for parents and caregivers to introduce and reinforce the importance of safety measures to children, while giving kids the opportunity to ask questions and share their feelings. Embracing the latest science, The Teensy Weensy Virus pairs simple, kid-friendly explanations with bright, colorful illustrations, while offering additional resources for adults and an informative song to help lighten the mood as families engage with this serious topic.

My Comments:

If this book was new a year ago, or even as the kids went back to school in the fall, I'd say it would fill a real need to simply explain what "the virus" was and what we need to do to keep each other safe--yep, masks, handwashing and social distance.  It has a nice cadence for reading aloud and the illustrations feature people of various ages, ethnicities and even someone on crutches, making it a very inclusive book.  The only problem I have with the book is that it just repeats (but in a very engaging way) the same message that has been sent out in so many ways for so many months.  On the other hand, repetition is a key item in teachers' toolboxes, so this may be great for some.  

Thanks to the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade: B

Monday, March 15, 2021

Review: Before I Saw You


About the Book:

Alice Gunnersley and Alfie Mack sleep just a few feet apart from one another. They talk for hours every day. And they’ve never seen each other face-to-face.

After being in terrible accidents, the two now share the same ward as long-term residents of St. Francis’s Hospital. Although they don’t get off to the best start, the close quarters (and Alfie’s persistence to befriend everyone he meets) brings them closer together. Pretty soon no one can make Alice laugh as hard as Alfie does, and Alfie feels like he’s finally found a true confidante in Alice. Between their late night talks and inside jokes, something more than friendship begins to slowly blossom between them.

But as their conditions improve and the end of their stay draws closer, Alfie and Alice are forced to decide whether it’s worth continuing a relationship with someone who’s seen all of the worst parts of you, but never seen your actual face.

A tender novel of healing and hope, Before I Saw You reminds us that connections can be found even in the most unexpected of places—and that love is almost always blind.

My Comments:

In the acknowledgements section, the author, Emily Houghton, thanked some medical consultants and then said that she took some literary license with the information they gave her, for the sake of the story.  While I loved the story, and am by no means a medical expert, I found some of the details to be wrong enough (or different enough from my experience) to be distracting.  However, I have to admit that I can't come up with a quick different way to accomplish the story.

Alfie and Alice are both long-term patients on a rehabilitation ward in a London Hospital.  They share a room with at least two other people (I never quite figured out if there were other people there other than the cast or if it was just the four of them). Alfie was in a car accident that killed his two best friends, and which cost him a leg.  Alice was caught in a fire in her office building and sustained burns over 40% of her body, including half of her face.  When Alice is moved to the rehab ward, it is noted that she did not speak the whole time she was in ICU.  Alfie is the class clown.  Their beds are next to each other, separated by curtains.  Alice refuses to let anyone inside her curtain and when she is taken weekly to PT down the hall, all the other patients in the ward are required to be in their beds with the curtains closed so they don't see her (her request).  

Alfie takes on the challenge of getting her to speak, but what causes her to do so is reaching out to him when he is having flashback dreams.  Nevertheless, she remains hidden behind those curtains all day every day.  Did she have a bedside commode in there or was she using a bedpan for weeks on end?  Her bed is close enough to Alfies that they can hold hands through the curtain, but there is enough room within the curtain for her to walk back and forth?  And the nurses let her just lie there for weeks on end?  PT once a week on a rehab floor?  

As I said, the medical details didn't work, but I loved Alfie and Alice.  Alfie was a teacher who always took a special interest in the kids who had problems.  On the ward, he used his humor to encourage his fellow patients, including Alice, and to hide his own pain.  Alice has spent her adult life building walls between herself and others so that they can't hurt her, will she let Alfie in?  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

It's Monday What Are You Reading


Happy Monday to all the book bloggers over at Book Date.  What I spent five hours reading on Saturday was the Louisiana Notarial Exam and I have no idea if I passed or not.  The overall pass rate is about 25% so if I didn't pass, I have lots of company.  I'm not taking it again.  A co-worker talked me into doing it this time because she wanted a study buddy but with Covid that never worked out.  If I take it again I'll have to devote plenty of time to study, again, and there just isn't enough upside for me, especially at this stage of my life.  

No books finished this week.  I did get two new NetGalleys

I published some reviews:

Now that it is daylight savings time my husband and I will be walking at night, but hopefully I'll get a book or two read next week.   I definitely have upcoming book reviews so stop by.  

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

To Catch a Dream


About the Book:

When their mother passed away, Evie Ross and her sister were each given a stack of letters, one to be opened every year on their birthday; letters their free-spirited mother hoped would inspire and guide them through adulthood. But although Evie has made a successful career, her desire for the stability and security she never had from her parents has meant she’s never experienced the best life has to offer. But the discovery of more letters hidden in a safe-deposit box points to secrets her mother held close, and possibly a new way for Evie to think about her family, her heart and her dreams.

My Comments:

I read the first book in this series, What the Heart Wants, and really enjoyed it so I grabbed this one too.  While Suda Kaye, the heroine of What the Heart Wants inherited her parents' wanderlust, Evie has always been the steady reliable one who could be counted on, who has built a steady reliable life, and who is (but doesn't realize it) afraid to take risks.  

Evie and Suda Kaye were pretty much raised on a Native American reservation by their maternal grandfather.  Their father was hardly ever home, and Mom frequently left them with their grandfather while she headed off to experience new things.  Unfortunately, she didn't seem to get that her choices hurt her girls.  In this book we learn more about the girl's dad, their parents' relationships and a secret they left behind. 

The major catalyst for Evie's healing is the boy next door--a man who was raised on the reservation with her, who has always carried a flame for her and who is now ready to make his move.  I loved Milo.  He knew Evie, he loved her, warts and all, and was willing to wait for her to work through her issues.  He was there for her and ready to help her with her pain.  

If it is important to you, there are a few rather graphic bedroom scenes.  If the book otherwise appeals to you and those types of scenes don't, they are easily skimmed and don't add anything to the plot.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for provided a review copy via NetGalley.  Grade: B+

Short Review: The Girl Who Escaped from Auchwitz

About the Book:

Nobody leaves Auschwitz alive.

Mala, inmate 19880, understood that the moment she stepped off the cattle train into the depths of hell. As an interpreter for the SS, she uses her position to save as many lives as she can, smuggling scraps of bread to those desperate with hunger.

Edward, inmate 531, is a camp veteran and a political prisoner. Though he looks like everyone else, with a shaved head and striped uniform, he’s a fighter in the underground Resistance. And he has an escape plan.

They are locked up for no other sin than simply existing. But when they meet, the dark shadow of Auschwitz is lit by a glimmer of hope. Edward makes Mala believe in the impossible. That despite being surrounded by electric wire, machine guns topping endless watchtowers and searchlights roaming the ground, they will leave this death camp.

A promise is made––they will escape together or they will die together. What follows is one of the greatest love stories in history…

My Comments:

Spoiler Alert

I read the Prologue and then the last chapter.  The title made me think there was a happily ever after.  There wasn't, and I didn't want to read the rest.  Yes, I know, few people made it out of Auschwitz, that's reality.  Yes, it was millions of individual people who were killed there, not a bunch of statistics.  Still, reading about and learning to care for people who are going to die a horrible death is not how I choose to spend my spare time.  Your mileage may vary.  

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of the book via NetGalley.  DNF.  

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Monday Memes

 This post links to "It's Monday What Are You Reading and to Mailbox Monday. 

I'm so happy to see the Covid-19 numbers headed downward.  We have fewer people hospitalized with it now than we have since it started--and it really started here about this time last year.  I got my shot a week ago and from what I've read it (the Moderna vaccine) is about 90% effective two weeks after the first shot, so I don't have to worry too much next weekend when I'm sitting  a classroom taking the Louisiana Notary Exam--except about the exam which is a real bear--about a 25% pass rate.  

This weekend was about studying, blogging, getting ready for a Girl Scout meeting and doing my taxes.  I did get to have a nice long chat with a friend--and she and her husband have both been vaccinated so it won't be long and we can have a social life again!

New Books

I got some new NetGalleys:

I finished this one--a light enjoyable read but nothing exceptional.  It shares a setting with the Carolina Sisters books, and the sisters make guest appearances.

On the Blog

I have several need posts:

My Plans:

I may or may not get much reading done this week as I've got a pretty full schedule; however several posts will publish, which I can tell you about next week.  Have a great week, stay healthy and if you are eligible for a vaccine, get one please.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Blog Repair?

 If you look on my sidebar you'll see that I've been blogging for over 15 years.  If you click through to some of those old posts you'll find photos/Amazon widgets that have disappeared, formatting issues caused by lack of knowledge/experience, typos (wouldn't be surprised if there was one in this post but automatic spellchecking catches a lot of them these days) and other problems.  You'll find link-up widgets that no longer work, giveaways that have long since passed and other posts that have definitely outlived their usefulness and whose formatting needs work.  

To what extent should I worry about "housekeeping" old posts?  Is it worth the hassle to replace non-functioning Amazon widgets with new links/photos?  It's not like I'm getting tons of hits on those old posts, but on the other hand, I cringe at the appearance of some of them.

Especially if you are a long-time blogger, do you review, revise or delete old posts, or do you just leave them as you wrote them years ago? 

This post is my second entry in the Book Blog Discussion Challenge for 2021.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Float Plan: Book Review


About the Book:

After a reminder goes off for the Caribbean sailing trip Anna was supposed to take with her fiancé, she impulsively goes to sea in the sailboat he left her, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

In Trish Doller’s unforgettable Float Plan, starting over doesn't mean letting go of your past, it means making room for your future.

My Comments:

As noted about Anna and her fiancée had been planning an island-hopping sailing trip through the Caribbean but he committed suicide before they took the trip.  Anna has been mourning for  him ever since and has been existing, not really living. When the alarm on her phone reminds her that they were going to take the trip, she decides to do it herself, but quickly learns she is in over her head.  

Keane is a professional sailor but recently lost a leg and for some reason no one wants to  hire a one-legged crew member.  They find each other and cruise from island to island from Florida to the Bahamas and beyond.  

I loved watching them get to know each other.  I also enjoyed to the stories of the ports they visited and it got me googling the islands and thinking of what we could do this summer, since my husband and I are  now both eligible for Covid vaccines in our state.  As Anna told her mother, during the trip she moved from running away to moving toward something new and that was great to watch.  

A few weeks ago, I wrote about religion in fiction and said that I liked seeing religion and/or religious practices presented as a normal part of life in fiction, even if the content of the book wasn't specifically religious.  In Float Plan Keane is an Irish Catholic.  He goes to Mass regularly.  When they hiked to a garden that contained Stations of the Cross, he prayed them. He doesn't preach, he doesn't try to convert Anna, and when he and Anna decide to be intimate, it is long before marriage is discussed---in other words, while Keane's prayer life is Catholic, his sex life doesn't follow Catholic rules.  

All in all, I enjoyed the book and give it a B.  Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.  

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