Kit MacMahon, growing up in the lakeside village of Loughshee, seems to lead a charmed life. She is the loved daughter of Martin MacMahon, the kindly local pharmacist, and Helen, his beautiful wife. She has a little brother, Emmett; a best friend, Clio, and a host of other friends.
But Kit worries about her mother. Helen MacMahon does not fit in with the people and the ways of Loughshee. She wanders alone by the lake night after night—until the dark windy night when she disappears and only her overturned rowboat is found near Loughshee’s shore.
Kit grows up in the small village without the mother she has loved and so staunchly defended, determined to carry out her mother’s last wishes that she should make something of her life. Though she moves to the city, Kit is constantly drawn back to Loughshee and the people who live there—Clio Kelly and their love/hate relationship; Clio’s father, Dr. Kelly, whose sister-in-law Maura has her eyes on Kit’s father; Philip O’Brien, who has loved Kit since childhood; and roguish Stevie Sullivan, who runs the garage and rules the affections of every woman for miles around.
In “Yankee Doodle Dixie” Leelee Satterfield returns to Memphis, Tennessee, hoping to start life over after the Vermont debacle of a year ago with ex-husband Baker. After landing a job she thought she’d fit right into and oohing and aahing over a rock star, as well as going to New York to spend a weekend with him, Leelee finally decides to do what made her a success in Vermont. She rejuvenates the Peach Blossom Inn. And, just in time, she finds the ‘perfect’ chef to make her Memphis restaurant a Yankee Doodle Dixie success.
This sequel to “Whistlin’ Dixie in a nor’easter” does not disappoint. The southern dialogue, Leelee’s best girlfriends, and the situations they get into keep up the drama that the first installment of this series delivered with wit and charm. It’s a light and entertaining read with laughs throughout.
Lady Ava Averley, her sister and father are all finally returning to England after living in India for years. While Ava looks forward to seeing her beloved Somerton again, she is worried about reentering society in the aftermath of a rumored scandal involving their father. Ava doesn’t believe the rumors, but is beginning to realize that life in society may not be the right thing for her, in spite of the fact that her season is about to begin. It’s time for her to find a respectable husband. Unfortunately, marriage conflicts with her true wishes. She has dreams of going to Oxford to study and is starting to fall head over heels for a young Indian man who is also on his way to England.
Rose Cliffe has been working for the Averley family for as long as she can remember. Her mother has always been in the employ of the family and Rose was brought up within Somerton’s walls. As a child, she had played with Ava and her sister, but now worries whether societal strictures will prevent them from being friends. Rose is a diligent employee, yet still has to fight the desire to “rise above” her place.
Things are complicated enough with the family returning after such a long absence, but an announcement arrives just days before the family is due to return: Sir Averley is getting remarried to a wealthy widowed socialite. A socialite whose daughter is also set to come out to society and is none too happy to have Ava around.
Here’s a novel for those who couldn’t get enough of Downton Abbey or the Luxe series by Anna Godberson. The setting is very, very similar to that of Downton Abbey and the machinations of some of the characters are reminiscent of those in the Luxe books. Love, politics, manners and wealth collide in this society drama. It’s not nearly as addictive or memorable as either of the afore-mentioned series, but it’s an entertaining, if predictable, romp all the same
This story of two sisters growing up in the harsh environment of a Canadian fishing/farming town started out well. You meet Idella and Avis in 1916 as children surrounded by their close knit fishing community, mom, dad and an older mother. Their older brother is always distant and prefers being out on the boat to helping around the farm and dad’s mood depends on how much he’s been drinking leaving mom to be the center of their world. Shortly into the book she dies in childbirth and now young Idella must step-up and take over the household duties and raising her caring but wild younger sister. After several missteps with hiring girls in their teens to help raise the girls and take care of the household chores dad sends the girls off to live with their aunt and uncle on a farm in Maine. Both girls love going to school and are amazed at how deep dark and rich the earth of their aunt’s farm is compared to the dust brown, dry, rocky dirt of home.
But then their dad is injured in a hunting accident and the girls must return home to take care of him and “the place.” Their brother leaves the house as soon as the girls arrive, not able to stand their father’s moods any longer. Still by this time I was invested in the characters and wanted to see how Idella and Avis managed.
Then it felt like the author didn’t know how to continue the story and decides to jump ahead to when the girls are adults and living in America. Idella and Avis continue to make one poor decision after another especially with men. Then the book switches into each character telling their memories of life as an adult and Idella’s children and husband sharing memories of what it was like to live with her.
I discovered after reading the book that it is a compilation of short stories about the same family written by the author who died unpublished at the age of 49. This explains so much! The first part of the book was published as “Gone” and the chapters dealing with Idella and Avis returning home to bury their father was published as “Wake.” The beginning was the best part of the book I thought and I wonder what the author could have accomplished if she’d live to weave all her stories into one cohesive novel.
Nalia has spent the better part of her 16 years preparing to become the Queen of her country. Shortly after her 16th birthday, she is informed that, due to an ominous prophecy, she was switched at birth and is, in fact, a false princess. The real princess has been living in a convent and is equally clueless as to her own identity. The prophecy only indicated death for the princess prior to her turning sixteen, so now that the deadline has passed, the real princess can be crowned. Nalia, now called Sinda, is sent to her aunt’s cottage in a country village. After failing at the wool dyeing trade and accidentally discovering that she possesses magic, Sinda decided to head back to the capitol. An attempt to join the Wizardry school fails on account of her “common” ancestry and Sinda finds herself being taken under the wing of an eccentric witch who offers to teach her control in exchange for scribe work. In the capitol, Sinda uncovers evidence that may suggest there is more to the official royal story than anyone suspects, even the royal family. In order to figure out her place in the world, Sinda feels compelled to set everything straight in spite of the danger it may cause her.
This is a lovely stand-alone fantasy. The plot moves exceedingly fast and covers a lot of ground, something that seems rare in a publishing world focused on series. Sinda feels like a genuine person; she is flawed, she second-guesses herself, she works hard to figure out who she is and how she fits into things. The concept of a character being forced to completely redefine themselves is fascinating. The use of magic in the book adds to the overall flavor without being the centerpiece of the action. Elements of faith, trust, corruption, love and friendship round out this story that is largely appropriate for all ages.
Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing in the distant future. The man who paid for her surgeries and brought her back to China is long-dead and Cinder has been living with his wife, Adri, and his daughters, Pearl and Peony. Cinder, being a cyborg, has no rights as a human being and is considered (and treated as) property by Adri. Cinder’s only friends are an android named Iko and the youngest of her “stepsisters”, Peony. One day, Cinder is surprised to find Prince Kai visiting her little mechanic shop to repair one of the royal androids. Cinder does have, after all, the reputation for being one of the best mechanics in the country. Nonetheless, she is completely stupefied that the Prince would even deign talk to her. In the meantime, the city is being faced with an outbreak of a deadly plague. Even the king cannot escape its clutches. After Peony falls ill with the dreaded disease, Adri sells Cinder off to the royal lab for plague research (which no “volunteer” has yet been able to survive). When Cinder fails to contract the disease, it is realized that she may be more valuable than anyone, especially Cinder, thought possible. There are, however, a few more surprises in store for Cinder when the Lunar Queen comes down to earth to attempt a marriage treaty with Prince Kai.
Overall, I enjoyed this adaptation of Cinderella. It was not as direct an adaptation as many I’ve read, but the main characters and plot points all seem to be in place. I did find parts of the world-building either lacking or problematic, which I can only hope will be addressed in the rest of this series. It’s fast-paced and engaging, with some unusual twists. The main reveal, however, is very predictable – I had it figured out within a few chapters and spent the rest of the book testing my theories. Sometimes it’s fun to be correct; sometimes it’s a bit disappointing. In this case, it fell more on the disappointing side since it was simply too easy to guess at the biggest plot point. Still, an entertaining read with plenty to discuss thematically.
This is a delightful tale of a small town police force solving the death of an old woman. Her regular walking stick was not near the body, but a different one was against the wall – odd placement that provided good clues as the case progressed. The person telling the story is a female police officer who grew up in the town. As the three membered police force know everyone in town and their past history, many stories and personalities work together to solve the crime.
Having just eloped with a man who offered her anything she would ever want and been sailing back to America to meet his mother, Grace suddenly found herself on a crowded lifeboat watching their elegant oceanliner sink beneath the sea. This is the heart-rending story of people suffering the effects of weather, the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, shortage of food, water, and even sitting space. The boat is so heavy and over-crowded that it is constantly taking on water, making the situation even more frightening. As things got worse, some felt they had to lighten the boat and some were “helped” into the sea. Most of them survived over two weeks in this terrible condition. After they were rescued those who “helped” others into the water were brought to trial for murder. This trial discusses the final days and what happened. One feels the heartache (and pain and hunger) throughout the story.
When a downtown bar erupts in sudden violence that leaves eighty people dead, Lieutenant Eve Dallas discovers that the bar’s patrons were exposed to a lethal cocktail of chemicals and illegal drugs that a sinister killer administered through an airborne method.
While I am not a big fan of Nora Roberts’ romance books, I do enjoy reading her Death series with Eve Dallas and Roarke. Just the right amount of romance, intertwined with mystery and the illusion that a rich man is out there for all of us. I hope they never make this into a movie because I think it would never come close to the world I have imagined in my head. A fast, good read, I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a book with a twist at the end.
Tracking down a con man who has disappeared from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy, Stephanie Plum calls on Joe Morelli for help when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital.
Another hilarious Stephanie Plum adventure in which she blows up more cars, comes close to being a pink bridesmaid, and too close to fire for her comfort. Still unsure of being with either Morelli or Ranger but I don’t know if it would change the mood of the books if she actually chose one. A fun, quick book, I recommend the series to anyone who hasn’t read them.
Dazzling her patrons with scrumptious cupcakes at her Salem, Massachusetts, bakery, Elizabeth Tucker continues to fall for the irresistible Diesel, who protects her from a villain who is seeking mystical stones tied to the seven deadly sins.
Another fun series from Janet Evanovich, with Diesel, a sometime character in her Stephanie Plum series. I love to lose myself in these fun reads. I always try to picture her characters in my head since she puts so much into them, they can seem quite real. And another, yet different, take on paranormal things!
Before Hudson Avery’s dad left, she thought her life was all about figure skating. She had her future all planned out. Win regionals, go on to the Olympics, become a pro skater. Then she finds out her happy family isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now, Avery’s a girl who’s had her hopes dashed and her heart broken, no longer skating or following her dreams. Baking cupcakes and dreaming about what could have been, Avery works at her mother’s diner to help make ends meet, and avoids facing her past.
When she receives a second chance to fulfill her dreams of becoming a professional skater, she must discover what she wants and decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to get there. A quick read, this book is all about sacrifices, understanding what is truly important in life, and realizing that your decisions do affect more people than just yourself.
After reading the dustcover, I thought this book would have a lot more about Louise Brooks, who really was a rebellious woman of Hollywood in the 1920′s and her early days before becoming famous in New York attending Denishawn School of Dancing not all about her fictional chaperone, Cora. This book centered upon the themes of life lessons and 1920′s history. Cora is Louise’s chaperone in New York right as the socially acceptable ways of life are beginning to change. Although both women are from Wichita, their personalities are like day and night. While Cora is a socially upright woman with very high moral standards, Louise is a young girl with free, liberal views on life.
As Cora’s time in New York progresses, she learns more about herself than she ever thought possible. Louise, although differing in beliefs and ideals, teaches Cora about accepting modern thought. From contraceptive methods for women to lifting prohibition, everything that Cora once denounced doesn’t seem so socially unacceptable in her eyes any longer. Despite the pressure to conform to the popular thoughts of her friends once she returns to Wichita, Cora is able to accept others and herself. This was a good book that balanced the real life of Louise Brooks with a little fiction and what life was really like for people with unconventional thought in the 1920s.
This book was Disney’s Cinderella and Anastasia combined with a futuristic twist. Cinder, a cyborg (part human, part robot), has been an outcast ever since she can remember. Her stepmother considers her to be a filthy burden. Living in a futuristic Beijing she spends her days a lowly, second class citizen working at her mechanic booth in the city market as payment to her stepmother for living in her home. She has no one who cares about her aside from another robot and one of her stepsisters who treats her as a true friend. Ironically, her status says nothing of her talent as a mechanic for she is considered to be the best in New Beijing’s Eastern Commonwealth. This talent leads her to Kai, the heir to the emperor’s throne, who needs mechanical advice and ultimately leads her to understand who she really is. I thought this book was a fun twist on the two Disney fairy tales with a tougher main woman. Looking forward to Book #2.