The Other Typist is a novel set in New York City during the roaring '20s. The main character, Rose, is a stenographer in a p...moreReview from The Book Babe.
The Other Typist is a novel set in New York City during the roaring '20s. The main character, Rose, is a stenographer in a police precinct. She leads a fairly boring and uneventful life until a new typist starts at her job. The new girl, Odalie, is coquettish and fashionable and a total enigma to Rose. How does she afford her expensive clothes? Where did she learn French? Was she really in the movies before she was a stenographer?
Rose is an orphan and desperate for love and attention, so when Odalie takes her under her wing, Rose eagerly accepts her friendship. Soon, Rose is invited to live in Odalie's fancy Park Avenue apartment and is given a glimpse of Odalie's private life. As the details about who Odalie may really be slowly reveal themselves, Rose is both perplexed, shocked, and intrigued. Despite who or what Odalie is, Rose still feels protective of her closest and only friend.
This book confused me a bit. We soon find that Rose is not the most trustworthy narrator. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I feel a bit incomplete now that I've finished the book. What is wrong Rose? Is she really crazy? Is Odalie innocent? We are told the story from Rose's perspective and she of course, is biased in her favor. It became clear while reading the book that the reader can't be sure if Rose is the protagonist or the antagonist. I didn't know if I should root for her or not.
The book was pretty good and the story was different. I especially enjoyed reading about a stenographer, ssince I went to school for stenography. The profession has changed a lot since the '20s, but Rose's descriptions of working on the steno machine brought back memories of my time in school. Stenography is really fun and challenging and court reporters sort of pride themselves on their quirky careers. I think the author expressed the steno attitude pretty well.
I am giving The Other Typist 3 out of 5 stars.(less)
Kirsten has always been one of my favorite American Girls. I've always had a soft-spot for anything Swedish and Kirsten and...moreReview from The Book Babe.
Kirsten has always been one of my favorite American Girls. I've always had a soft-spot for anything Swedish and Kirsten and her family traveled a long journey across the Atlantic Journey from Sweden to America. In this installment, we find Kirsten a bit homesick for Sweden. In Sweden, St. Lucia's Day is celebrated and marks the beginning of the Christmas season.
Kirsten and her cousins, Anna and Lisbeth, decide to throw a St. Lucia's Day surprise for their families. The only problem is that the items Kirsten needs to be the St. Lucia's Day Queen are still in the painted trunk which the family had to leave behind a few towns away. Papa has still not gone to pick them, but decides he should do it quickly before the snow gets any thicker. Kirsten goes along with Papa to pick up the trunk, in the town of Maryville 10 miles away.
Papa and Kirsten are stuck in blizzard conditions on their way back home to Uncle Olav's farm. Their horse is frightened and will no longer walk on his own, so he has to be led by Papa. When Papa twists his knee leading the horse, it is up to Kirsten to save the day and lead them to safety.
Readers often complain that Kirsten is a bit boring and on the dull side, however this book stands out. I find books about bad weather really interesting and so this one was definitely a bit "edge-of-your-seat". Kirsten's story also educates young readers on the Swedish tradition of St. Lucia's Day. I am giving Kirsten's Surprise 4 out of 5 stars.(less)
Samantha's Surprise is the third book in Samantha's American Girl series. Just like the first book, this book also is focuse...moreReview from The Book Babe.
Samantha's Surprise is the third book in Samantha's American Girl series. Just like the first book, this book also is focused on a doll which Samantha wants. Samantha is eager for Christmas. She has made Christmas decorations for Grandmary's house, has a special holiday dress to wear, looks forward to making a gingerbread house, and attending her friend Ida's Christmas party. All of these things are cancelled though when Grandmary learns that Uncle Gard will be bringing Cornelia along for the holidays. Grandmary is very eager to make a good impression with Uncle Gard's fiance and soon everyone in the home is too busy making preparations to help Samantha with her plans.
The story for this book was nice enough. Samantha isn't exactly my favorite American Girl and her stories are often centered around material things. I suppose, that's the somewhat spoiled life Samantha leads, though. Samantha still has heart though and seems like a sweet girl. She's often charitable and focused on giving to others, whether it be her family or her poor friend Nellie.
This would be a nice Christmas story for young girls. Samantha's Surprise is a short chapter book with a bit of history woven into its story. I am giving Samantha's Surprise 3 out of 5 stars. (less)
The first thing that drew me to this gem of a novel is the cover. Let's all take a moment to admire it. Ooh ahh. I've had this book on my radar for a...moreThe first thing that drew me to this gem of a novel is the cover. Let's all take a moment to admire it. Ooh ahh. I've had this book on my radar for a while now and I'm so happy to have finally got around to purchasing and reading it. I decided to give the audiobook a go, which is what I usually do when I really want to read a book, but don't want it to get lost in my physical TBR pile. I sort of buy audiobooks as I go, so what I buy will typically get listened to, or "read", right away.
The story was excellent. In the beginning portion of the book, I wasn't quite sure how much I'd end up liking it. Not that it wasn't good, but I wasn't quite sure where the story was going. All I really knew about the book is that the female protagonist is an artist and the town she lives in may soon be under water, thanks to plans to build a reservoir to supply the city of Boston with drinking water. Both of those things piqued my interest. I love books about artists, especially female artists a la Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. Then, the whole town-under-water thing... see, last Christmas one of my dad's friends came over. He was from Springfield, Massachusetts and droned on-and-on about his recent vacation "back home". He wouldn't shut up about the town he grew up in and insisted on Googling images of the town. One -and I do mean one- interesting thing he mentioned was a town somewhere in Massachusetts that was flooded and turned into a reservoir.
I'm sure this is likely the inspiration of the book. I did some quick research via Google that directed me to Wikipedia and found there were two reservoirs built that led to several towns being demolished for use of their lands. One, the Quabbin Reservoir, almost fits the description of the reservoir that threatens the town of Cascade perfectly, including the time it was built (1930-1939). Since I was listening to the audiobook, I can't go back in the book for references or even the name of the fictional reservoir that was built in the book. However, just reading about the real life reservoirs that were built is both pretty haunting and fairly interesting.
I certainly enjoyed this story. My only complaint is that the narrator of the audiobook seemed like she was shouting the entire time and was very theatrical. Still, I enjoyed the story very much. I thought the story was unique and I loved that the main character, Dez, who chooses her own independence and happiness over that of others. She really takes her life into her own hands. I believe that the feminist reader could certainly appreciate this story, as well as the art lover.
I love Ann M. Martin. She is definitely one of my favorite authors. I still look forward to her new books that come out as a...moreReview from The Book Babe.
I love Ann M. Martin. She is definitely one of my favorite authors. I still look forward to her new books that come out as an adult. This is my first Baby-Sitters Club mystery and oh man, it was good!
This book is basically three mysteries in one. First, there's a series of break-ins in Kristy's neighborhood. Second, Mallory finds a woman wandering around Elm Street who can't remember who she is or where she came from. Third, Stacy and Claudia are in New York City for the holidays and it seems like they're being followed and strange things begin happening in Stacy's dad's apartment building.
The mysteries were very well thought out. Even as an adult, I was intrigued by them! Stacy and Claudia's mystery alone was like something out of a Lifetime movie. Are all the BSC mysteries this crazy? I look forward to reading more!
I am giving Baby-sitters' Christmas Chiller 4 out of 5 stars. It was fun holiday reading and the baby-sitters exhibited detective skills that would make Nancy Drew proud.(less)
Candlelight for Rebecca is the third book in Rebecca's American Girl series. Traditionally, the third book is always the ho...moreReview from The Book Babe.
Candlelight for Rebecca is the third book in Rebecca's American Girl series. Traditionally, the third book is always the holiday book, so in this installment we find Rebecca preparing to celebrate Hanukkah with her family. However, every where Rebecca looks there's Christmas decorations. Even at school, the students are creating a Christmas decoration to take home. Rebecca's teacher tells the class that despite one's religion, Christmas is an American holiday celebrated by all.
In her heart, Rebecca feels this isn't right. She follows the class rules and creates the Christmas decoration, but she doesn't feel very good about it. To make matters worse, Rebecca knows her grandmother, Bubbie, and probably her mother will not approve of her bringing home Christmas decorations. Rebecca's twin sisters were already chastised for singing Jingle Bells and wearing red ribbons with bells attached at the ends in their hair. Rebecca is torn between two cultures.
I enjoyed this book and it'd be a great book for a young girl to read to learn more about the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. The author weaves the story of Hanukkah into the story, so like with the other American Girl books, children don't even realize they're learning. In this story, Rebecca also learns that hard work and doing what's right pays off, when she helps crotchety Mr. Rizzo, her buildings janitor when he's in need of a helping hand. Mr. Rizzo comes down with a cold and Rebecca kindly offers to help him take care of his pigeons and cat. By doing these good deeds, she's able to understand and get to know a person whom she may have misjudged.
I am giving Candlelight for Rebecca 4 out of 5 stars. (less)
Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Souls Trilogy. This installment finds Matthew and Diana back in Matthew's old...moreReview from The Book Babe.
Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Souls Trilogy. This installment finds Matthew and Diana back in Matthew's old home of 1590 London. There we meet some of Matthew's famous friends during the time, including his employer, Queen Elizabeth I. Matthew and Diana are still on the search for the elusive manuscript, Ashmole 782. Their search takes them from Elizabethan England to Prague.
I honestly did not enjoy this one as much as the first. I loved the first one, mostly because of the scholarly atmosphere of Oxford that the book was set in. I didn't enjoy the location or the time period this book was set in. I've never been interested in historic London. I enjoy books set in modern London, but not so much historical fiction set in the city. However, even the story line wasn't as interesting as the first one to me. It was good, but compared to the first it falls short a bit.
I found I did enjoy the parts set in Prague a bit more. The change of setting was nice. I also enjoyed the addition of the characters of the children, Jack and Annie. Most of the parts I enjoyed featured them, especially little Jack. I will miss them if they don't somehow make an appearance in the third book.
In this book, I also found I liked Matthew a lot less. He reminded me of Edward Cullen. Just so mercurial and really like an overgrown whiny baby. I guess those are stereotypical vampire love interest traits. But, ugh! There were points where I was wondering what Diana could see him other than he's rich and apparently their fated (or more like doomed) to be together.
Despite a few annoyances (the setting and Matthew) I did enjoy this book and I do look forward to the next, The Book of Life. I pre-ordered it on Amazon and I am interested to see how the story will end and if they will ever find Ashmole 782 and discover its secrets (if any).
I am giving Shadow of Night 3 out of 5 stars.(less)
Holiday Royale is the latest in Harlequin's The Bravo Royales miniseries. Like most Harlequin miniseries, the books in this...moreReview from The Book Babe.
Holiday Royale is the latest in Harlequin's The Bravo Royales miniseries. Like most Harlequin miniseries, the books in this series can be read in any order and work well even as standalone novels. Past characters are referenced or may make appearances, but they aren't super relevant to the current character's stories.
That being said, Holiday Royale is the story of Lucy Cordell who has been very ill most of her life with heart problems. She vacations to the fictional country of Montedoro (located somewhere in Europe) to spend time with her brother, Noah, and his in-laws who are Montedoro royalty. All her life Lucy has been treated like a child and she is still a virgin because most men won't take a chance on her, not wanting to break her heart. Lucy decides Prince Damien would be a great candidate for her first time and sets out to make that happen.
This book was okay for me. I am discovering that the few books involving fairy tale-esque stories and women falling in love with princes from fictional European countries, don't really keep my interest so much. I've never been into the whole Prince Charming thing. Also, the writing to me wasn't very engaging. I think it was a little overly cute and sweet for me, even for a Harlequin romance. The story just didn't have a lot of intrigue for me. It really has nothing to do with the author's writing or story development. Someone else would probably love this book, it's just I didn't make a personal connection with these particular characters or their lives.
I am giving Holiday Royale 3 out of 5 stars. (less)
A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple (Mayflower, 1620) is the story of a young pilgrim girl making her way across the At...moreA Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple (Mayflower, 1620) is the story of a young pilgrim girl making her way across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World with her family. I thought this book would be really appropriate for my Thanksgiving edition of Throwback Thursday! I remember this series from when I was in elementary school, this book came out while I was in 4th grade just discovering Backstreet Boys, *NSync, and Spice Girls! I read a few of the books from the Dear America series, but I don't remember which ones, it was so long ago. There's only one I'm entirely sure I read and it's not this one. I'll likely work my way through the series again for various Throwback Thursdays and the books can be found on Amazon used for about $4.00, which is the great thing about older books!
This was actually the first in the Dear America series, but in my opinion not such a good start. I think this was probably one of the books I read when I was 10 to help me feel better about my life. This book was so depressing, ugh! Basically all Remember does is catalog every person who died either on the Mayflower or while settling Plymouth. There's hardly any story outside of "x person died today" or "x person is very ill, hopefully they won't die soon" (they almost always do die). So, that's a lot of death. In case you aren't familiar with the story of the Mayflower, the pilgrims weren't exactly the healthiest or luckiest brood.
As usual, I found myself annoyed with the Puritan's society too. They were so uptight and judgmental no wonder the Church of England didn't like them! I know it goes way beyond just the Puritan's personalities, but seriously, ugh. Perfect example, would be how Remember puts down the ways of Dutch people. The pilgrims fled to Holland and then she wants to bitch about what the Dutch do on the Sabbath? Really? If you don't like Holland then GTFO. I guess that's what the pilgrims did... but it's just the principle of it. I wouldn't flee to a foreign country because my own country wants to execute my people and then stick my nose up at that country's culture and customs.
I'm getting upset about a fictional person, I know.
The story did get a bit better after they found the New World and people for the most part gradually stopped dying, or Remember just had other things to write about. I remember this series being really good so I hope this one is just a fluke. I'm trying to determine if I didn't like it because I'm 27 and not 11 anymore, but that can't be it because there's plenty of books I re-read from my childhood and they're just as good to me now as then.
I'm giving A Journey to the New World 2 out of 5 stars.(less)
This is a novella in diary format of the confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton. When Cecelia "CeeCee" Stanton marries the rakish Lord Stanton she is a v...moreThis is a novella in diary format of the confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton. When Cecelia "CeeCee" Stanton marries the rakish Lord Stanton she is a virgin and knows nothing about sex. Her first time with her husband was a painful experience for her and when her trusted maid, Bess, offers to take her under her tutelage to learn the arts of bedplay she agrees and learns how to make sex a more pleasurable experience for herself. Things get complicated as CeeCee relies more and more on the love and friendship of Bess.
I really enjoyed this novella and would definitely read more from the author. I found the story to actually be a bit sad, yet very sexy at the same time. It wasn't quite as erotic as I'd liked it to have been and I'd love to see a continuation of the book or maybe just a chapter or two more. The ending did seem a bit abrupt to me, but the overall reading experience was quite enjoyable.
I'm giving The Wicked Confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton 3 out of 5 stars.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of NetGalley and Escape Publishing. (less)
When ghostwriter Samantha takes a job in the small town of Forever, Texas the last thing she expects is to find love. She especially doesn't expect to...moreWhen ghostwriter Samantha takes a job in the small town of Forever, Texas the last thing she expects is to find love. She especially doesn't expect to find love with the rude and emotionally handicapped Mike. Samantha is invited to Mike's father's ranch to turn the memoirs of Mike's great-great-great-great-grandmother into a book. Sam completely immerses herself in the memoirs. Everyone in Mike's family welcomes Samantha and begins to see her as one of their own... except Mike.
Mike isn't open to some big city author mooching off of his father. He could go through the memoirs himself... one day when he has the time. Samantha is welcome on the ranch as far as he's concerned and he's not her chauffeur or host. But... as annoyed as he is with his father's decision and Samantha's intrusion into his life why does he find himself falling in love with her?
I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book I've read in Harlequin's American Romance line and I look forward to reading more. This book was short and sweet. If I didn't have children or things to do I could probably have read it in about two hours. The story is a cozy romance set in rural Texas. The family in the story is charming, as well as the entire town.
I really like this cute story, however there were two things that annoyed me:
1. The overuse of the word "deadpanned".
2. What seemed like an incomplete story line. Samantha made a somewhat big deal over helping the Native Americans who live on the reservation, however nothing ever came to fruition and that part of the story seemed to be totally forgotten about.
Overall A Small Town Thanksgiving was a warm and toasty fall romance and I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. If I get the time I'd like to go back and read more in the Forever, Texas series and if there's more I'll gladly read them.(less)
Oh my God... okay so, this book is like grown-up Twilight. It has everything vampires, witches, time-travel, scholarly-things, France, England, upstat...moreOh my God... okay so, this book is like grown-up Twilight. It has everything vampires, witches, time-travel, scholarly-things, France, England, upstate New York, demons, magical realism...
I know it sounds like it could be a mess, but everything is so well done and nicely written. First, I love books about scholars. A Discovery of Witches follows Diana Bishop who is an Oxford historian who specializes in alchemistry. Diana is also a witch. In the book's world vampires, witches, and demons all are real and co-exist together pretty well for the most part.
When Diana accidentally comes across an ancient manuscript that went missing centuries ago, she becomes the interest of all the world's creatures. The problem is Diana didn't realize the manuscript's importance so she returned it to Oxford's Bodleian Library, where no one can seem to find it again. It's then that she meets vampire Matthew Clairmont. Matthew and Diana fall in love, despite Diana's mistrust of vampires. Things get complicated because vampires and witches falling in love is forbidden by an ancient contract between the creatures. They leave Oxford for Matthew's family estate in Saint Lucien, France. After Matthew being threatened by an enemy vampire and Diana kidnapped by a fellow witch, they then leave for Diana's home in Madison, New York where it is eventually decided that they should hide back in time (though this book ends as they are leaving for the 16th century).
This book was just so good and I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to reading the next one as this is the first in the trilogy. It really had something for everybody and I remained interested all the way through.(less)
I feel sort of misled. Why did I think Nancy Drew solved murders? I thought she was like Scooby-Doo... but a person. Oh well. Now that I think of it S...moreI feel sort of misled. Why did I think Nancy Drew solved murders? I thought she was like Scooby-Doo... but a person. Oh well. Now that I think of it Scooby-Doo doesn't really solve murders either. So I guess he and Nancy do have some things in common.
This is obviously the first Nancy Drew book I've read. Even though she didn't solve a murder like I expected, she did help find a missing will. If you haven't guessed by the name of the book, the will was hidden in the old clock. But, Nancy goes on quite an adventure to find the clock.
Even though the book was predictable it was still charming. Nancy has her stuff together. This girl right here can change a flat tire and fix a boat motor while stranded in the middle of the lake. Now I know why so many women look up to Nancy as a feminist heroine. She's super smart and always polite and tactful to boot. Not to mention she's fashionable.
I enjoyed this book and was able to read it one sitting, while trying to put a baby to sleep. The book was cozy and probably paved the way for the cozy mystery genre that is so popular today. I say probably just because I really don't know anything about the history of cozy mysteries.
I am giving The Secret of The Old Clock 4 out of 5 stars.(less)
"Hatsukoi." (meaning 'First Love' in Japanese) is the second book in the Ren'Ai Rensai series. The series is the story of the relationship of two Japa...more"Hatsukoi." (meaning 'First Love' in Japanese) is the second book in the Ren'Ai Rensai series. The series is the story of the relationship of two Japanese women, Aiko and Reina. The series spans the time of about 20 years, from their first meeting to their marriage and beyond. Even though this is a series, the books can be read out of order and they themselves aren't in chronological order. For example, in the first book "Daisuki." (I Love You) we meet Aiko and Reina twenty years into their relationship. This second book, we are taken back to the winter of 1992 when they first meet and become a couple.
Reina is spending her time sleeping her way through the Tokyo lesbian scene (nothing new there) and performing in an idol group at a scummy theater. Aiko we find studying English at a women's university and trying to ward off her creepy ex-boyfriend, Daisuke. Michiko also appears throughout this book as she hasn't yet moved back to America (in the first book she resides in California).
Aiko is unsure of her sexuality during this time period. She's only dated men, but has never felt anything towards them. Even though she hasn't ever felt particularly amorous towards a man, she's never considered that she might not be straight. Meeting Reina, a member of the same musical group as her cousin, she's introduced to the first (two!) lesbians she's ever met. For some reason, she finds herself drawn to Reina. She can't get her off her mind. After some innocent flirting she accepts a date with Reina, but keeps their budding relationship secret from family and friends. Instead she tells them she's dating a mysterious fake man named Ren Itou.
Reina (aka Ren Itou, lol!) is unsure if she's ready to be someone's girlfriend. Many women have tried to get her to settle down, but she loves her life of promiscuity. The only woman she has feelings for is her best friend and lover, Michiko. Anyone else (Aiko included) will just have to accept that Reina will never be monogamous. Michiko also has her own issues, which I won't reveal due to spoilers. But, I was shocked. I didn't expect these particular issues from her.
Like the last book, I have a hard time even considering this book erotica. Sure, the sex in the book is explicit and maybe every other chapter or every few chapters. But this series just seems to be so much more. As a heterosexual, I can relate to the characters and their stories. It's all just typical relationship stuff that people in any relationship might deal with (for example, Reina's lack of emotional and verbal affection towards Aiko). This series is also fun and romantic and I'd recommend it to anyone straight or gay who is looking for a slightly sexier, unique read.
Also, anyone who is interested in Japan would love this series. I always learn so much and I love that the author focuses on modern Japanese culture. So much of the Japan we see in the media is the stereotypical ninjas, samurais, or geisha. These books are just focused on regular contemporary Japanese people which I enjoy so much more. It seems like in each chapter I learn something about Japanese society and traditions. Not to mention, some Japanese vocabulary to boot! I do wish that the author would include a dictionary of the Japanese words used throughout the book. Usually, I can guess by context clues, but having the reference point would really come in handy ;)
I'm giving "Hatsukoi." 4 out of 5 stars and I can't wait to read the next one.(less)
"Maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it."
This book was soooo good. I've been ve...more"Maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it."
This book was soooo good. I've been very reluctant to read Jodi Picoult books. Just the descriptions alone make them seem a bit depressing. I don't really like to feel sad on behalf of books or movies and I certainly don't like tearjerkers. I am so glad I gave this book a try though. I picked it up while it was Audible's Deal of The Day. I decided this was my opportunity to take a chance on something new.
This book was sad, yes. Well, it's more like the circumstances and trials of the family in the book are sad. But, for some reason I didn't find the book itself to be sad. It wasn't a tearjerker for me. It was just so well-written that it ended up being beautiful rather melancholy.
By now, most bookworms have probably read this book. It's one of those books that even people who don't usually read have read. This is the story of Anna Fitzgerald (short for Andromeda) who is conceived to be a donor for her sister Kate who is fighting a rare and often fatal version of Leukemia. At the age of 13, Anna is expected to donate a kidney to her sister, who is in dire need of a transplant. Anna then decides to see a lawyer, Campbell Alexander, and file a lawsuit against her parents for medical emancipation.
This book was definitely heavy. There was a lot going on even with the sub-characters. Campbell, the lawyer, who mysteriously has a service dog, but no obvious disability. Julia, a former prep-school outcast who is assigned to be Anna's guardian ad litum during the trial. Jesse, the overlooked, forgotten, and troubled older brother of Anna and Kate who lives in an apartment over the Fitzgerald's garage. Sara Fitzgerald, Anna's mom, always on the edge waiting for a medical catastrophe. Brian, Anna' father, the fire station where he works is his refuge.
Kate's leukemia has cataclysmic affects on her whole family.
I loved that the book had multiple narrators. I enjoyed every single one. I liked every character, with the exception of Sara Fitzgerald (Anna's mom). I can't imagine what her life must be like, to have to make the decisions she's made and live through what she has. However, for some reason I just never connected with her character. I think from the get-go she's kinda set out to be the antagonist, even though she only does the best with what she has to work with. I just never really embraced her though.
I loved this book. I also loved all the astronomy facts that were woven throughout the story. The twist at the end just sealed the deal for me. It was so unexpected, but it was the perfect ending. I am giving My Sister's Keeper 5 out of 5 stars.(less)
Twice Loved is a short Christmas novella set right after the end of World War II. I really loved this book and I almost wish...moreReview from The Book Babe.
Twice Loved is a short Christmas novella set right after the end of World War II. I really loved this book and I almost wish it were longer or a full-length novel. I've never read anything from the author before, since she predominately writes Amish novels and I'm not such a fan of those.
The main character, Audrey, is a struggling single mom widowed when her husband was killed in Pearl Harbor. She receives her two weeks notice from her job and begins to seek a new one. That's when she sees an ad in the newspaper for a position available at a used toy store called Twice Loved. The owner, Dan, is also a widower who runs a photography studio in the back of Twice Loved. Twice Loved was his late wife's business.
Audrey eagerly accepts the position and everything begins to work out wonderfully. She gets along great with her handsome new boss and together they restore each other's lost Christmas cheer. There's a little bit of drama when another woman attempts to pursue Dan, but that is quickly resolved. This novel was really cute, sometimes overly sentimental, but still a romantic (and short!) Christmas read. I am giving Twice Loved 4 out of 5 stars.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.(less)
I just re-read the first book in The Baby-sitter's Club series, Kristy's Great Idea. This series was hugely popular when I was in elementary school. I...moreI just re-read the first book in The Baby-sitter's Club series, Kristy's Great Idea. This series was hugely popular when I was in elementary school. I had so many of these books. I know I read some of them, but I can't even remember which ones. I'm going to try to re-read the series gradually over time as an adult. The great thing about nostalgic books from the '80s and '90s is that they can be found used online, for usually a little under $4.00.
Kristy's Great Idea definitely did not disappoint me. It was just as good as an adult as it was when I was a child. I love how all four of the girls had their own personalities and styles, but every one of them was likable. I also loved that they had rules. That's something rare to come across in a young adult book nowadays. Claudia, Kristy, Stacey, and Mary Anne's parents had expectations of their daughters and rules for them to abide by. The girls weren't rebellious or troublemakers, but I feel that Ann M. Martin still gave them a way to express themselves. Kristy doesn't like her mom's fiance, Claudia doesn't do as well in school as her sister, Mary Anne's dad is super strict, and Stacey feels the need to lie to her need about a health problem she has.
I look forward to continuing the series and reminiscing about my childhood. Ann M. Martin has an amazing talent for writing. 4 out of 5 stars.(less)
Audrey is sinking financially. She's trying to figure out how to send her younger brother to MIT with her small pay. Enzu is a billionaire with a prob...moreAudrey is sinking financially. She's trying to figure out how to send her younger brother to MIT with her small pay. Enzu is a billionaire with a problem. He needs a mother for his orphaned niece and nephew. He is prepared to offer the future "mother" to these children a high salary and a marriage proposal.
You see where this is going...
This is my first book from the Harlequin Presents line. I've only read their Love Inspired books before, which are Christian. Like Love Inspired books, this book was pretty predictable, unrealistic, and just a dash cheesy. However, there's something so charming about these books. They're like mindless entertainment. Nothing heavy. Nothing that one has to really think about. And I like that. They're just light, fun reads.
Million Dollar Christmas Proposal was just that. It was short and sweet. I enjoyed both of the characters and the romance they shared. Audrey was down-to-earth and likable. She gave up her fortune to raise her younger brother who is gay. Their wealthy parents disowned him for being gay and then disowned her when she chose to take care of him.
Enzu was also a likable character. He was a great love interest. Smart, caring, handsome, and rich. The only thing that wasn't believable was the story line. A billionaire paying a woman to marry him and raise his niece and nephew? But, that's what makes books like this romantic.
I'm giving Million Dollar Christmas Proposal 4 out of 5 stars.(less)
This is the tenth installment in the Magic Tree House series. In this one, Jack and Annie find themselves sent back to the Wild Wild West trying to so...moreThis is the tenth installment in the Magic Tree House series. In this one, Jack and Annie find themselves sent back to the Wild Wild West trying to solve the next riddle in a ghost town... that may really be haunted! I really enjoyed this one! I'm a sucker for Westerns, so I really liked reading about Jack and Annie's adventures. For some reason, this one seemed a bit longer so Zachery did lose a bit of interest towards the end.
I highly recommend this series to both young girl and boys. The first ten in the series were great and Zachery and I look forward to the next ten. I'm giving Ghost Town at Sundown 4 out of 5 stars.(less)
Oh my God, Amy Tan is one of my favorite authors. That being said, it took me about three weeks to read this book, maybe longer. Not even because it's...moreOh my God, Amy Tan is one of my favorite authors. That being said, it took me about three weeks to read this book, maybe longer. Not even because it's pretty lengthy, just because it's really heavy stuff. I had to take it in small doses, but once I became accustomed to the depression and anxiety this book caused me I devoured the last half in just a few days.
A book making one feel depressed and anxious may seem like a bad thing, but I think that's a testament to Amy Tan's superb writing. I felt as if I were Violet. I felt like every bad thing that happened to her, happened to me. I think that's why I had to take this book slow. It was just too much emotionally.
During the past year I read a lot of Christian books, so I've became fairly unaccustomed to tragic stories. In the Christian fiction genre, bad things happen, often told without a lot of depth or emotion. In the end though, you know everything will always be hunky-dory. No matter what happens, the ending will always be happy. This book was so tragic that I honestly wasn't sure if there would be a happy ending or any light at the end of the tunnel, ever. There sort of was.
The story itself was so intricate that I can hardly begin to explain the story line. The book is based in Victorian Shanghai and a little bit in San Francisco and New York. Lucretia Minturn follows her baby daddy to China when she becomes pregnant while he's staying in her family's San Francisco home. Since Lucretia (also known as Lucia or LuLu) is white and her lover Lu Shing is Chinese, they can't marry. Neither American nor Chinese society will allow them legally to do so and Lu Shing is promised by his family to a girl back in China. Lucia's daughter, Violet, is raised in the courtesan house that Lucia later opens when she moves to Shanghai. Through a series of events mother and daughter are separated and Violet becomes a popular Shanghainese courtesan.
There's so much more to the story, but I can't really say because it would spoil the book.
There were times while reading when I wasn't sure how much I was going to like it. But the book, especially the last half was just so good that I ended up loving it and I'm giving The Valley of Amazement 4 out of 5 stars.(less)