The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

rain

Pages: 240

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Linden is in Paris to celebrate his father’s birthday with just the family. Unfortunately, Paris is flooding at a rapid rate due to neverending rain and both parents get sick. As Linden tries to care for his father at the hospital he starts realizing he may not have much time left to bond with his father.

My feelings have run from I did not like the book at all (2 stars) to wow, what a powerful message (4 stars). After sitting here a couple of hours after finishing I have decided on a four-star review. I started this book thinking it was mainly about the flood and how it would bring the family together but it is about so much more. The moral I got out of the book is tragedy makes you see things you gloss over in life or refuse to see due to your own shortsightedness. Instead of assuming what others think or see about you, ask them. It is much better than letting the wrong thoughts fester for years. You may lose out on something remarkable being shortsighted.

There are no steamy sex scenes but there is a gay storyline. I don’t remember a lot of obscene language so if there is any it must be minimal and feel right for the story. Of course, tons of Paris landmarks are mentioned so allow yourself time to look them up if you are not familiar with them.

This was my first book by Tatiana de Rosnay and I have already bought Sarah’s Key to read soon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Light Before Day (Nantucket Legacy #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

light

Pages: 368

Publisher: Revell

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Henry and Hitty have inherited their grandmother’s vast fortune with a few hitches. They must live in her monstrosity of a house and marry a Quaker in good standing within six years. If they do not meet these requests conniving Tristam Macy will inherit all with no conditions. How will Henry and Hitty handle their grandmother’s request and what will they learn of themselves in the process?

I have absolutely loved this series. I found my love of Nantucket through a couple of other writers and it is on my bucket list to visit someday. I jumped at the chance to learn about the early days of Nantucket. Suzanne has taken the time to research and include true occurrences in this trilogy. My favorite is the third book. I know some readers felt the author rushed the ending and left a few things unfinished but isn’t that how life is? Not everything is tied up in a neat little bow. I also want to dream that she might have left it open to revisiting someday.

The trilogy is written in old English with “thee” and “thy” used very frequently. Once you get used to that you will find yourself falling into the story and not realizing the language difference. For this alone, I would say it is more appropriate for a mature audience. There is no sex or obscene language in the books.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Revell through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White

glass

Audiobook: 14 hours

Publisher: William Morrow

Published: September 8, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A story of romance, illicit affairs, espionage, and tragedy.

It’s 2013 and Sarah Blake needs to find inspiration for her next best-selling book. At her wit’s end she opens her great-grandfather’s chest and discovers information that could be history changing regarding the sinking of the Lusitania.

Go back 98 years to April 1915 and we meet Caroline, a first-class passenger, who is married to Gilbert. Gilbert is very pre-occupied and Caroline hopes this cruise ignites a spark in their marriage. What she did not expect was to run into her first love, Robert Langford.

Tessa Fairweather, a second-class passenger, is working with her sister to obtain the music composition that is in the hands of Gilbert. Tessa does not understand why she is to get this music but one thing she does understand is that she is falling for Robert.

What does Sarah learn and how does each passenger above affect the outcome?

I opted to listen to the audiobook and let me state it is FOURTEEN hours of listening. I enjoyed the audiobook as the narrator did an excellent job with all the characters. My issue was I did not have a lot of time lumped together to listen to a good chunk at one time.

The story jumps between Sarah (2013), Caroline (1915) and Tessa (1915) so you do need to keep track of who is talking and what year it is. It is pretty easy since the majority of Caroline and Tessa’s time is on the Lusitania.

I knew very little about the sinking of the Lusitania and The Glass Ocean has whetted my appetite for more.

Royally Dead (A Stitch in Time #3) by Greta McKennan

royally dead

Pages: 214

Publisher: Kensington/Lyrical Underground

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Highland Games have come to Laurel Heights, PA and Daria is using it to advance her business of being a historical seamstress. As she works the booth housing her wares her roommate, Aileen, has sent a bandmate to Daria asking for a real kilt to be created for a bagpipe competition. As Daria watches the games and looks at all the different kilts one of the athletes collapses during a competition. Daria finds herself, yet again, in the middle of investigating a murder.

I happened upon this series by accident one day reviewing NetGalley and am so glad I did. All three books have been enjoyable. I love how the author, Greta McKennan, weaves in history without making it dry and boring. The history in this book is probably one of my least favorite time periods but I was totally enthralled in learning about Scotland and the history of kilts and what haggis is and how it is made (I’m pretty sure I will never try it!).

You have the most unlikely group of characters with straight-laced Daria, hard rocker roommate Aileen, and ex-con brother Pete but it works beautifully. All the characters meld together to make a great team when it comes time to solve the crime.

This series has a light touch of romance but nothing over bearing and is a clean read. The most gruesome might be the initial death scenes but nothing too harsh. I would recommend this series to any cozy mystery read, new or experienced.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington/Lyrical Underground through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

The Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter

christmas prayer.jpg

Pages: 176 (eBook)

Publisher: Barbour Publishing Inc. (Shiloh Run Press)

Published: September 1, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In the wake of the Donner party, three wagons of strangers meet in Independence, MO to head to the land of gold, California. Eight months later December arrives and they have just reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains and have encountered a blizzard that could mean the end of the trip and themselves.

Cynthia is traveling with her fiancé and mother. As the trip has progressed she finds herself questioning if he is the man she thought he was, especially as she finds herself spending more time with the children on the trip. Christmas is approaching and the travelers are finding themselves getting bleaker and bleaker but will Santa come save them and show Cynthia the way to love?

I know whenever I pick up a Wanda Brunstetter book or novella whether Amish or not I am in for the perfect feel good read. Although I know the ending will be a happy one and love will always win the story to get to the ending is always beautiful. This is the perfect story to get you ready for the colder months and Christmas. Pick this book up for the romance reader in your life or yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

I received a copy of this story from Barbour Publishing Inc. through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

 

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

monday

Pages: 325 (eBook)

Publisher: Sourcebooks/Landmark

Published: August 28, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A powerful, raw, heartbreaking read. One of the best books I have read this year. Get your tissues ready as you read this based on a real picture story from Kristina McMorris.

In 1931, two years after the stock market crash, Ellis Reed, a local newspaper reporter, finds himself in the Pennsylvania countryside taking pictures of things that he finds interesting. He comes upon two young boys playing in the dirt on the porch of a rundown farmhouse. As Ellis takes their picture he notices a sign: 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE. Ellis begins to question the why behind the sign. He never intended the photo to go public but once his editor sees the photo he demands a story.

Lillian, the editor’s secretary, is the reason the editor saw the photo. The mother within her is heartbroken for the children and the mother who felt this was her last resort to survive these hard economic times.

Once the photo and story hit the news waves it leads Ellis and Lillian on a journey that neither expected. Can all parties involved find their way home again?

I finished this book several days ago and found I needed time to reflect on the emotions it stirred within me. My dad was born in 1931 in Maryland and I know from the stories he has shared with me how rough it was to grow up in the Depression. I could not imagine if his parents had had to resort to putting him on the porch with a sign that said, Child for Sale. The thought of any child experiencing that brings tears to my eyes. Take a look at your child/children and reflect on how you would feel if you had to “sell” them to survive. Unfortunately most children during the Depression that were separated from their family for whatever reason did not experience a loving childhood. As told my Ms. McMorris they were put to work on a farms at a very, very young age and treated worse than some farm animals.

Sold On A Monday is a perfect historical fiction read on a subject matter from the Depression that is not very wide known to our generation. This novel will make you think about how good of a life you truly have.

Every book I have read by Ms. McMorris has been an emotional and educational read. I find she is one of the best historical fiction writers. She writes with knowledge and feeling. You will do yourself a great favor in picking up any one of her novels.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Sourcebooks/Landmark through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Murder on Bank Street (A Gaslight Mystery # 10) by Victoria Thompson

bank

Pages: 324 (paperback)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: June 3, 2008

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Four years ago Sarah lost her husband, Dr. Brandt, to a unnamed father who thought the doctor had taken advantage of his mentally sick daughter. Sarah’s friend, Dectective Malloy has decided to solve the unsolved murder for the woman he has come to love. Will the discovery cause more harm than good?

This was my first visit into the world of Sarah Brandt and I want to stop time and read all the books in the series back to back. I had never read a medical cozy either and was very surprised how much I enjoyed it. Add the fact the book takes place in the late 1800s and it was a recipe for greatness. Even though this is tenth in the series I had no problems just jumping in and understanding all the characters and their importance. I hope when I go back and read the ones before I get the story of Maeve. She is a feisty, strong young woman who compliments Sarah perfectly.

Minding the Light (Nantucket Legacy #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

minding

Pages: 336 (eBook)

Publisher: Revell

Published: July 10, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Once again we visit the Quaker Island of Nantucket and the world of whaling. Captain “Ren” Macy has been away whaling for six years when he returns to Nantucket to an ailing wife and six year old twins. He is extremely grateful for his wife’s sister, Daphne, when it comes to acclimating back in to the world of family. It is an unspoken agreement that Daphne will marry Tristam, Ren’s cousin and business partner but as she spends time with Ren she finds her feelings changing.

I have been anticipating my return to early Nantucket since reading the first book in the series, Phoebe’s Light. One of my favorite aspects of both novels is the 17 century diary each generation reads and learns from. Mary’s story is one of compassion and love. Daphne finds comfort and understanding in reading the diary.

Minding the Light is a book for all historical fiction lovers and clean Christian romance readers. It is written in the language of “thee” and “thy” but it does not take long to get into the rhythm of the book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Murder at the Mansion (Victorian Village Mystery #1) by Sheila Connolly

murder at the mansion

Pages: 328 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: June 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kate left her hometown of Asheford, MD after high school graduation and never really looked back until she received a call from her high school best friend asking her to help save the town. The only thing the town has going for it is the Victorian mansion owed by Henry Barton. One town council member, Cordelia “Cordy” Walker wants to rip everything out and turn it into an upscale hotel and run it herself. As Kate tours the mansion and starts putting together a plan, she finds Cordy dead on the mansion’s front steps. Who would want Cordy dead or maybe the question should be who doesn’t want Cordy dead? Can Kate solve the murder and save the town?

An excellent first book in a new series by Shelia Connolly. I am very excited to see how the series progesses. The premise of building the town into a Victorian Village is very interesting. Normally I am not a huge fan of American Victorian literature, classic or modern, but this series may just change my mind. The history that is woven in throughout the book is given to the reader in a knowledgeable way but so filled with boring facts that you get lost. I learned a lot about Clara Barton and her work outside of the Red Cross that I had no clue about. I want to read more about it but at the same time I don’t want to ruin any future plot lines of the series.

There is a little bit of a romance but it plays very lightly in the background. It in no way distracts from the murder mystery. I hope it stays that way for a couple more books in the series so we can continue to build up the characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

jack

Pages: 544 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A historical fiction account of a love affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark which may have resulted in a love child.

Alicia is a Polish refugee who arrives in Hyannisport via Oklahoma to work as a maid for the Kennedys. Jack (a young JFK) becomes dazzled by her beauty and starts a romance that leads to an engagement. Jack’s father, Joe, has other ideas of who Jack should marry and it is not a maid from Poland. Over the years Alicia and Jack continue to see each other on the side but they each marry other people.

Alicia tries to become someone important but winds up rich in money but poor in family and friends as her life comes to a close.

I found this book fascinating as I have always enjoyed reading about JFK. This book sure has me rethinking what a great guy he was as he is portrayed as a playboy, slob and rude person his entire life. I believe I had my head buried in the sand as to his true character.

I felt sorry for Alicia as I cannot imagine being separated from my parents to go into hiding and then learning my father was killed in a concentration camp and my mother was only a shell of herself. I thought she was a strong person to leave her mother to try and get them a better life. She did the best she could. Money to her was important and that is how she saw a way to get her mom what she needed and later in life she used the money to make herself happy in the moment. She did one of the most selfless acts in letting someone else raise her baby as their own. She thought she was protecting the baby.

Does Alicia’s story have truth? I believe it does.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel through NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press. Any opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own.