2019 Book Year in Review

Well, 2019 was a slower year for me as far as reading goes. Compared to last year’s triple digit stats, I only read about 75 books. Due to some life changes I didn’t have as much time to read as I have in the past. But I’m not complaining.

For the first time ever I was part of a book club in 2019. I was only able to attend three times unfortunately. But because of this I read books I might not have otherwise; The Wedding, The Quiet Game, The Getaway Girls. I also participated in an online book club. The book choice was Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, which I didn’t like nearly as well as Jane Eyre. But I did enjoy discussing it with others online. Continue reading “2019 Book Year in Review”

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Took a Chance On

Today’s Topic: Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

Hmm…it’s not often that I wander outside of my preferred genres or reading comfort zones. So I tweaked this week’s prompt a bit. Instead I’m sharing books that I took a chance on.

Basically, these are books that I didn’t know much about. Books I chose because I fell in love with the cover or maybe the back blurb caught my interest. Generally, they are by authors I’d never read before or I had not read any reviews about them prior to picking them up.

My choices for this Top Ten are recent reads that I really enjoyed. No sense including those that were a bust, right? Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Took a Chance On”

Book Review – In Spite of Lions by Scarlette Pike

SUMMARY

After a lifetime of abuse, Anna leaves home, but not to run away. Rather she runs towards freedom when she heads to Africa. On her journey there she befriends Mary Livingstone, the wife of missionary David Livingstone. Upon her arrival on foreign shores, she follows the Livingston family into the African interior to help with their work.

“It is necessary that you work against the pain of the body to make it stronger so that you may be a strong African woman,” she explained. “It will hurt, Miss Anna. But does that make it bad?”

However, Anna’s previous life has left her unprepared for the challenges of her new life. Though, she is accepted by the tribal chief, the villagers greet her with suspicion. While learning the basic tasks of daily survival, Anna also finds herself in the center of political conflict between the Boers and her new African family. And all the while she is still haunted by a past she hasn’t come to terms with yet.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

Book Review – Fearless by Tamara Leigh

SUMMARY

When the haze of battle settles on the fields of Hastings, Norman warrior Guarin D’Argent does not expect to be the savior of a Saxon woman. But in rescuing her, he risks his own freedom when he is taken captive by her people.

Hawisa Wulfrithsdotter despises the Normans, not only for the atrocities committed against her people but also for the deaths of her husband and son. To her, all Normans are the same, until a certain silver-haired soldier saves her from his own kind.

During his time in captivity, Guarin and Hawisa come to know each other better, learning that a potential ally can hide behind the face of an enemy. However, despite their growing connection, they remain at cross purposes. Hawisa remains part of a rebellion against the Norman King William. She is convinced that the Saxons will once again rule England. Guarin knows better and owes his allegiance to her enemy king. But when betrayal comes from one of her own, will Hawisa be able to trust her enemy savior? Continue reading “Book Review – Fearless by Tamara Leigh”

Book Review – A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Modest Independence follows secondary characters who were introduced in Mimi Matthews The Matrimonial Advertisement. Tom Finchley is legal advisor and friend to Justin Thornhill. It is through his relationship with Justin that he meets the fiery haired, strong-willed lady’s maid Jenny Holloway. After Justin’s wife Helena bequeaths a large financial settlement to Jenny, she is determined to live completely independent.

Jenny’s life has been governed by selfish men, but she yearns for freedom and adventure. She admires and is attracted to the quietly intense Tom. But she refuses to let this influence her plans. Jenny’s curiosity and wanderlust lead her to book a trip to India. If she manages to track down the truth about Helena’s presumably dead brother while there, then her trip will also serve a second purpose.

As the trustee for Jenny’s new inheritance, all Tom knows is that he can’t allow Jenny to make such a perilous journey alone. Not only is she vulnerable traveling as a single woman abroad, but he just can’t allow this fascinating woman to leave his life.

The closer Tom and Jenny get to their destination, they closer they get to each other. Tom has never thought to marry and Jenny never wants to marry. But as they traverse thousands of miles, their attraction and intimacy grows. Will these two solitary souls resolve the conflict between love and independence?

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

Book Review – Suffering the Scot by Nichole Van

SUMMARY

Lady Jane Everard cannot abide the new Earl of Hadley. The unmannered Scot is a menace to genteel ladies everywhere, what with his booming laugh and swishing kilt and endless supply of ‘ochs’ and ‘ayes.’ Jane wishes Lord Hadley would behave as an earl should and adhere to English rules of polite conduct.

Andrew Langston, the new Earl of Hadley, knows that the English aristocracy think poorly of his lowly Scottish upbringing. This is hardly new. History is littered with the English assuming the worst about Scotland. By living up to their lowest expectations, he is simply fulfilling his civic duty as a Scotsman.

Jane sees Andrew as an unmannered eejit. Andrew considers Jane to be a haughty English lady. But, as the saying goes, . . . opposites attract.

And what if beneath his boisterous behavior and her chilly reserve, Andrew and Jane are not nearly as different as they suppose? Can Scotland and England reach a harmonious union at last?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve always been a fan of author Nichole Van, reading her books as soon as they are released. But I really think that Suffering the Scot is her best one yet. It is certainly going on my list of favorite reads this year. What an absolute delight this story is which perfectly blends history, romance, mystery and humor. Lest you think this is just some entertaining fluff, it also manages to slip some fairly deep wisdom in as well. Continue reading “Book Review – Suffering the Scot by Nichole Van”

Book Review – Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

Millions of people around the world adore the story of Anne of Green Gables. Thanks to L.M Montgomery’s series and numerous film and television adaptations, Anne, along with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, Diana Barry and Gilbert Blythe are so familiar as to almost be part of people’s lives.

When I learned that a prequel about Marilla’s early life was available, I was thrilled. At the same time, I was also anxious. When a story is beloved as Anne of Green Gables, one hopes that a new author can remain true to the original author’s voice and also to the characters themselves. This is not always guaranteed. But I am happy to say that Sarah McCoy’s Marilla of Green Gables managed to achieve the almost impossible.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Marilla of Green Gables takes us back in time before the arrival of a red-headed orphan. It introduces a thirteen year old Marilla, her twenty-one year old brother Matthew and their parents. Green Gables has just been built and Avonlea is the same small community we all know and love. Some of the family names will be familiar to Anne fans, proving that Avonlea residents run generations deep. We also meet Marilla’s new friend Rachel White, her Aunt Izzy and a young John Barry.

The book follows Marilla through her teenage years as she experiences change, tragedy and responsibility. The last third of the books skips ahead twenty years to show the main characters as adults. Although Marilla is the main character, we also experiences plenty of her brother Matthew and the future Rachel Lynde as well as the future father of Gilbert Blythe.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review -A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

SYNOPSIS

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first. Continue reading “Book Review -A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano”

Book Review – What the Wind Knows

Amy Harmon is a talented author who has penned stories in several different genres. As a fan of historical fiction, of all her stories, my favorite is From Sand and Ash, a WWII tale of love, bravery and an inter-faith romance. So, when I learned Harmon’s latest release was another historical offering, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  As I’ve come to expect from Harmon’s novels, it did not disappoint. What the Wind Knows was a story I could not put down.

WHAT THE WIND KNOWS SYNOPSIS

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

For my full review of this wonderful book, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Book Review – The Girls in the Picture; Bringing Early Female Film Pioneers to Life

SYNOPSIS

It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers”—the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you’ll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all.

In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.” The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution.

But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and their astronomical success could come at a price. As Mary, the world’s highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love, even with the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas will play out, personalities will clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered.

With cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture is, at its heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness. Melanie Benjamin brilliantly captures the dawn of a glittering new era—its myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak. Continue reading “Book Review – The Girls in the Picture; Bringing Early Female Film Pioneers to Life”