Bloggeretterized

Bloggerette Extraordinaire. Blogging the stuff in her brain one blog post at a time.

Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn

Things Half in Shadow - Alan Finn
Full review on my blog

Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn (pen name for Tod Ritter, American writer, editor and journalist) is a book whose description and cover powerfully and mysteriously attracted me. The subject of mediums, ghosts, and murder in the post-Civil War era had me at hello. The cover is a great cover for this story. Having read the book (twice now), I can without a doubt say that the cover encompasses what the book is all about.

Things Half in Shadow takes place in the 1860’s in Philadelphia. It is the story of Mr. Edward Clark, a young man who after the war made a life as a journalist, reporting on the city’s crimes in the largest newspaper in town. His life seemed perfect; he had a good job and is in love and engaged, until one day an assignment to uncover the fake mediums in towns alters his until then peaceful and perfect existence.

On his first day of the assignment he is acquainted with Lucy Collins, a fake medium. By twist of fate, Edward and Lucy end up being the main suspects in the murder of Leonora Grimes Pastor, one of the real mediums in town.

Edward and Lucy did not commit the murder, so they decide to team up and take it into their own hands to clean their names and reputation. And so we read about the adventures they go through in order to unveil the real killer and uncovering at the same times secrets from their past.

The writing is good. The author did a good job describing the setting and surroundings. It is impossible not to picture in your mind the places, sounds, smells, fashions, customs and people described in the book. The book is written in such a way that you get immediately transported into Postbellum Philadelphia. The first person narration is very good and the fact that you get a foreword and a postscript rounds the story perfectly and gives the reader a sense of closure.

Things Half in Shadow was a book I couldn’t put down the first time I read it, and when I had to, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I re-read it in one sitting. It is a great blend of mystery, suspense, crime, historical fiction, magic, action, secret societies, friendship and romance all in one. I didn’t give it 5 stars for the sole reason that it lacked the life changing quality I look for in a 5 starred book. And for some reason beyond me, I felt a bit exhausted during the fighting scene both times I read the book. But it is an absolutely entertaining 4.5 starred book to read.

If you are a fan of unpredictable page turning mysteries that unravel slowly and keep you putting the clues together until the end, this is the book for you. If you are a fan of the Clue board game [hello kids of the 80s! ;) ] this is the book for you. October is the month for dark mysterious reads; I highly recommend adding this book in your October or Fall TBR lists. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed to check it out.

I’m looking forward to read the sequel to Things Half in Shadow. I can’t wait to travel back in time to Philadelphia and see what other adventures Edward and Lucy got to live (and I also want to find out more about the future Ms. Clark, when/if you read the book you’ll know what I mean).

Full review on my blog
 
 
 
 
DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links.
Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/read-reviewed-68-things-half-in-shadow-by-alan-finn

Americosis Vol 1 by Haydn Wilks

Americosis Vol. 1 - Haydn Wilks

Full review on my blog.

Have you ever read a book that doesn’t make sense at all but at the same time it makes sense and leaves you wanting more? Americosis by Haydn Wilks was such a book for me. I don’t mean this in a bad way; I mean it in a good way.

Americosis. The title got me at hello. It’s a new word, it’s intriguing…at least it was for me. The cover of this book gave me the exact idea of what this book was going to be about. As soon as I saw it, I thought I was in for one psychedelic wild trip ride. And I got exactly what I thought.

The book is actually a fast paced short story that can be read in one sitting. An introduction to what looks like an epic apocalyptic story. The plot is made of various you could say outrageous, maddening and hilarious-at-some-point stories happening all at once.

Unfortunately the book is so short, that it ends once your mind has made sense of everything you’ve read. But it is written in such a way, that even though the plot is crazy, you end up feeling like you want to check out the next book.

Americosis is an OK book to read. I gave it two and a half stars because it’s just a teaser; it’s not a well-rounded story that gives the reader full closure. Yes, it leaves you wanting and waiting for more, but not begging like the blurb said it would.

Americosis is a book for adults with an open mind. I don’t recommend this for teens nor advanced reading young adults.

For such a short disturbing book, it got me thinking. The story might not make sense at times, but if you try to find some sense in it, you could see that this can be a critique of sorts of not only America but of today’s society. Therefore, if you’re in the mood for a quick and different read that pokes your mind like only science fiction can do, this is the book for you.

Full review on my blog.

 

 

Buy on Amazon US

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

 

Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/read-reviewed-67-americosis-by-haydn-wilks

Keep the Ends Loose by Molly Campbell

Keep the Ends Loose - Molly D. Campbell

The pretty cover and the blurb give you an idea of a lovely and sentimental coming of age story about a girl helping her aunt. Who can resist a story like that? Not me. I had to check it out.

Keeping the Ends Loose is the story of Mandy, a 15-year-old girl in junior high, a bookworm who would prefer life in another era; a girl with big dreams of leaving her town and moving to New York or Toronto to have a career. She is also a girl who fears sex and has no interest and time for sexting, nude selfies, etc. Yes, this is our main character.

Mandy lives with her parents, her brother. Other important characters in her life are her “statuesque, tall, willowy and graceful” Aunt Iris and her best friend Barley (yes, that’s her name). Mandy’s world was OK until one day her mom talks to her about her Aunt Iris being in love and unable to marry her new love interest because she hasn’t divorced the guy she married back when she was in college, a man who just disappeared into thin air. Her mother tells her, that they have to do something to find Frank, so Iris can divorce him and move on with her life.

And so we read about Mandy and what she does to fulfill this “noble” cause in favor of her beloved Aunt Iris. What Mandy doesn’t know, is that this quest will lead her to uncover hidden secrets in her mother’s life that affect her once happy family and turn her world into a total dysfunctional crazy one.

The premise of the story is a good one. This book had everything to be one of those powerful lesson filled books. But sadly it was not executed in a good way. It had its good moments, it had some humor, but it also lacked power, and felt contradictory and annoying at times. I’m sorry to say this was not irresistible, I didn’t recognize or relate to any of the characters and this was not an unforgettable life-changing story. This was only an OK read, nothing more.

My beef problem with the book is (read the full review on my blog for more about this):

1.- The main character. The target audience for this book will have a hard time relating to the main character, which in turn won’t motivate them to engage in the story.

2.- I signed up for a story about a girl helping her aunt; instead I got a story about an irrational, immature mother, who made huge mistakes in her youth and chose an inappropriate way to reveal them and clean her conscience. This woman was not fit to be a mom.

3.- There's a double standard in terms of the messages the author wants to communicate to teens:
--> Teens should stay away from sex yet they can get wasted when they can't deal with life.
--> It’s not OK for kids to judge their parents (or anyone) for their mistakes but they can think of them as stupid.
--> Even though it's OK to fear sex, you should do it anyway because you can't go to college all virginal and unwordly.

(read the full review on my blog for more about this)

Despite all of this, I kept reading because the conflict had a promising solution. I hoped the book would leave me with an uplifting message. But it only left me feeling like it was too long of a story for a: Shit Crap Life happens, move on lesson.

Come on! We need to give teens some hope. I’m not saying we should sugar coat their lives and minds with lies, but one of the reasons teens read books is to find stories that help them cope with their woes. Why can’t we show them there’s a light at the end of every tunnel? Teens already know they must go on. We need to give them examples of how they can go on.

I can’t see a teen feeling uplifted or inspired by this story. This book will not leave teens with a sense of closure but with their ends loose.

Needless to say, I don’t see a movie coming out of this YA book. I don’t know who I could recommend this book to. I went ahead and read five 5-star reviews of this book on Goodreads to see who could like this book. They were very succinct reviews from what teenagers would call “old people”. It’s ironic that a book whose target audience is the young adult audience is loved by full grown adults. These reviews made me feel like these people read a completely different book from the one I read.

So based on this and on my honest experience reading the book, I don’t recommend this book for young adults. I would recommend it to adults, as a book to learn what crappy parenting is; in hopes that they don’t even dare to imitate the bad parenting done by the “adults” in this book.

 

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links

 

 

Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/read-reviewed-66-keep-the-ends-loose-by-molly-campbell

Fifteen Minutes of Summer by Heather Wardell

Fifteen Minutes of Summer (The "Seven Exes" Series Book 3) - Heather Wardell

Fifteen Minutes of Summer is the third book I’ve read by author Heather Wardell. It is Book #3 in her “Seven Exes” Series, and it’s her 17th novel written.

Fifteen Minutes of Summer is a good summer read. I mean the cover, screams summer time. It’s a cover that follows the design and composition of the previous books, giving the series its own personality and trademark-ish look. If I may add, it is a cover that would look great in any beach bag. ;)

As obvious as the title might seem, this book is not about the summer season per se. It is the story of a woman named Summer. She has been an important character in the series, and in this book we get to know more about her, the reasons that justify her actions when she betrayed her friends and former cast members of a dating reality-TV show that took place on an island. The title is so appropriate because when faced to choose between her friends or her career, Summer does get her fifteen minutes “fame”.

Fifteen Minutes of Summer can be read as a standalone; the author gives you some details that help you understand the plot and main conflict. But being that it is part of a series, reading the previous book(s) would give you more background and a better feeling of continuity and understanding of the story.

Having read the previous book in this series (click for review), I admit I was biased against Summer. Her betrayal and actions didn’t make her look like a good person. Her character is very complex. I tried to like her but I couldn't fully like her and at the same time I couldn't hate her. More about this on the full review on my blog.

As with the other books by Heather Wardell, this story is not another women’s fiction story. This is a story of Women’s Fiction with a Plus. Summer’s story isn’t just a story about a girl trying to make it in show business hurting herself and loved ones on her way. It is a story about the meaning of friendship and most of all a story about forgiveness.

Fifteen Minutes of Summer deals with the subject of sexual harassment. Even though the events in this book are fictional, they are eye-opening. We can’t deny that situations like those portrayed in the book regarding sexual harassment may or may not be happening in real life. I would recommend this book for young women who are just joining the working force especially in show business, hoping that they don’t imitate Summer’s actions but learn from her mistakes and be aware and prepare themselves if God forbids they are faced with a situation like this. Book clubs can also find this book as an interesting way to discuss topics like work ethics, codes of conduct and the price of fame.

If you’re looking for a book about a woman who makes mistakes and amends them, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a book that makes you think of what you would do for fame, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a story about the true meaning of friendship and forgiveness, this is the book for you. Summer ends on September 22nd, 2015 in this neck of the woods, if you’re looking for a good fast paced story to read in the last “15 minutes” of the summer season we have left, this is the book for you.

 

 

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/read-reviewed-fifteen-minutes-of-summer-by-heather-wardell

Bookish Bingo Summer 2015 Results!!!!!

Hi!

 

I just posted my Bookish Bingo wrap up post on my blog for the Ready for Spring Edition.

 

It was fun and I'm quite happy about my results.

 

emma watson animated GIF

 

Bloggeretterized-Bookish-Bingo-Summer-2015-Wrap-Up-Card

 

 

Did you guys join this one? How did you do?

Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/bloggeretterized-bookish-bingo-summer-2015-wrap-up

Black-eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Black-Eyed Susans: A Novel of Suspense - Julia Heaberlin

 Black-eyed Susans by American writer Julia Heaberlin is the story of Tessa, the sole survivor of a multiple crime that took place in Texas in 1995. Back then Tessa was 16, went by Tessie, spent her time running (she was in the track team) and with her friend Lydia. She had a normal life until one day she wakes up after someone dumped her in an almost dead state along with bones and corpses of other girls in a field covered with black-eyed susans. A man was convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

Flash forward to the present, the “killer’s” execution date is near. After all the therapy and time Tessa is scared when someone plants black-eyed Susans outside her bedroom window. She is not sure the man convicted is the real criminal and fears the killer is still out there, haunting her. And so we begin reading her flashbacks to her memories from the time after the crime, therapy, the trial, etc. as Tessa finally tries to face the truth about what really happened.

I was attracted by the title of this book and the cover. More about this in the full review on my blog.

The premise of this book is intriguing but the way it was executed confused me. My issues with the book were:

- The going back and forth in time.
- I felt like I had been reading for hours but nothing added up. It took too long, almost halfway through the book for me to feel like I was really invested in the story.
- I don’t agree with the blurb because this was not a shocking and intense read for me. It wasn’t that dazzling of a psychological thriller either. Yes it has some suspenseful moments that make you guess and try to figure out who the killer is, but to say it was dazzling is a bit too much. It is a good book in theory; I just think it could have been better.
- At times it felt like I was reading young adult fiction rather than adult fiction, especially when reading Tessa’s flashbacks from her teenage years.
- My main issue with this book is that there were loose ends, and I don’t like loose ends in my books. This book left me not knowing EXACTLY what happened to Tessa, it is never stated clearly. And then there’s Lydia, there’s a lot about her that the reader is left not knowing.

I explain these issues on the full review on my blog.

Black-eyed Susans is a puzzle that the reader has to slowly solve. Each chapter is a puzzle piece, you can’t skip any or you’ll have an incomplete puzzle in the end.

What I really enjoyed was all the forensic science mentioned in the book. I wasn’t aware of how advanced the methods for solving these types of crimes are. I was pleased to learn about mitochondrial DNA and its application to identify murder victims. I didn’t know what geochemistry was. I think it rocks! Like the author I also understand more than ever that we are the earth. All this scientific mambo-jumbo-to-some is what I happily take from this book.

In the end, Black-eyed Susans wasn’t about suspense, mystery or crime solving. In my humble opinion it was more about friendship, and the effects of jealousy, rivalry and deception on it. It is also a book about letting go of the negative things/relationships/problems/memories from your past. Learning to not give them the power over us is a hard process but it can be done. We can’t let our sanity held hostage by them. Only when you stop dragging them around, when you truly let go, you are free.

Black-eyed Susans is an OK read. A book to read in the last weeks of summer that we have left. If you’re into books about unsolved crimes, psyco-killers, dark secrets and mystery this is the book for you. If you like suspense novels this is the book for you. If you like books about dark friendships and unexpected final twists this is the book for you. If you like black-eyed susans, I bet you are going to think of this book every time you see one after reading this book. If you like Snicker’s bars, all the talk about them will probably leave you craving one or two after you read this book. I would recommend you to read it with a stash of Snicker’s bars or snickerdoodle cookies. :P  

 

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon UK

 

 

 

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links
Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/read-reviewed-64-black-eyed-susans-by-julia-heaberlin

Question about Sarah J Maas Series

Fans of Sarah J Maas:

 

For one of my reading challenges, I need to read a book by an author under 30.

 

I chose Sarah J Maas.

 

The thing is, I'm undecided which of her series to read.

 

Should I read Throne of Glass or Court of Thorns and Roses?

 

Is one series better than the other?

 

Which do you recommend?

 

I don't know what to do.

 

indie animated GIF

 

#bookishwoes

 

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster - Scott Wilbanks

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a book that had me at hello. The title intrigued me and I liked the sound of it. The word “lemoncholy” was my favorite part. I had never heard that word but I enjoyed saying it over and over. And then once you open the book, the first thing you read is the definition of lemoncholy which made me love the word even more. I can absolutely relate to its meaning, as my life has been in a permanent state of lemoncholy. Anyway, this is a great book title.

Then there’s that bright lemony yellow cover with the turquoise flower flourishes that is impossible to miss. I saw this cover and I knew I had to read this book. The antique mailbox with the 2 birdies is another lovely detail which compliments the cover beautifully. The composition is great and I see how it relates to our 2 main characters. Although having read the book, I think instead of a mailbox, the red door would’ve been better element of choice for the cover, as it is such an important object for the story than the mailbox. But that’s just me being picky. The cover is gorgeous, whimsical and charming.

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster takes place in Kansas and San Francisco in two different periods of time. It is the story of Annabelle Aster, “Annie”, a peculiar twentysomething woman who loves to dress in vintage Victorian clothes and lives in a purple house in San Francisco in 1995; and Elsbeth Grundy, a widowed retired teacher who lives in a cabin in the plains of central Kansas in 1895.

We meet Elsbeth first, when one morning she finds that a purple house has appeared out of nothing in the wheat fields. A house whose door she can’t knock because every time she tries to do it she finds herself back at the gate of a picket fence. Elsbeth is not thrilled with whoever is invading her property and decides to send a letter with her objections via a brass mailbox on the fence.

Annie is the recipient of said letter. She is also surprised to suddenly have found a wheat field in her garden, a cabin in the horizon and a brass mailbox on a fence. And so begins a correspondence between these two women whose lives are more intertwined than they would know. Two women in you could say “different time zones” that bond via hand written letters and who with the help of loyal friends solve the mystery behind a murder and discover how and why they are able to communicate despite the passing of time.

I couldn’t put this book down. It was fast paced and I had no problem in going back and forth in time as I read. The premise of the story was great. But as much as I liked the premise, in the end I couldn’t quite adore the book. I liked it but not that much, because of the cast of characters, the love stories, the time travel deal, and how a character gets cured. I explain this thoroughly in the full review on my blog.

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a good book. 3.5 / 5 is a good rating in my book. This is a good story that has time travel, murder, mystery, action, friendship, love and family reunions. It makes you think what you would do if you could time travel. I personally think if I could time travel, I would do it just to be a tourist back in time. I would do it just to observe how it all was back then, but wouldn’t dare interfere with events that could possibly change history.

In the end, for me this was not a book about time travel. It is a book about 5 loners who become a family, because a family is not made only of people with whom you share DNA, but of people with whom you share bonds of respect and joy in each other’s lives.

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is a good summer read. It is a book that will keep you guessing what will happen next until the end. It is a good choice for book clubs who could discuss on subjects such as homosexuality, drug abuse, homelessness, child neglect and family.

 

 

buy on amazon US

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links
Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/read-reviewed-63-the-lemoncholy-life-of-annie-aster-by-scott-wilbanks

Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves

Winter at the Door: A Novel (Lizzie Snow) - Sarah Graves

Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves is the first book I’ve read by this American author. It is also the first book in her Lizzie Snow series featuring a big city female cop. I was attracted to read this book because of the title, the cover and the blurb. More about this on the full review on my blog.

The premise sounded good. Lizzie Snow, a homicide detective, moves to Bearkill, Maine where she will be given the mission of solving a series of suspicious suicides of local cops, that may or may not be murders. What the people of Bearkill don’t know is that she has ulterior motives for moving there: she’s on a personal mission to find her long lost niece.

Sadly as much as I had high hopes for this female fronted story, it ended up not measuring to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a bad book, but it lacked that oomph to make it one of those unputdownable and unforgettable stories. It was an OK read, nothing else.

It started OK. The first few chapters are a good intro so you can get to know the weird people of Bearkill. I kept reading and after the first quarter of the story there were still no thrills, only a bunch of weird characters whose relationship to the murders was still a mystery to me.

Half-way through, just when I thought the story couldn’t lack more spice it twisted into things that didn’t make sense. I kept hoping to be thrilled but at that point I wasn’t thrilled at all, just confused. And as the story progressed, I wasn’t fond of the sudden story-line changes. Once I was getting the hang of a story-line it changed into another one.

I kept waiting for the thrills, suspense and mystery of and I quote: “a showdown that could leave the deep, driven snow stained blood red”, but that never happened. It turned out to be a predictable story in the end. And that last chapter felt like a terribly long afterword.

I was glad when I finally ended reading this book. Like I said in the beginning, Winter at the Door is not a bad book. In fact there are some rave reviews about it out there. It just didn’t do it for me. But feel free to check it out as well as the second installment in the Lizzie Snow series which will come out in 2016.

 

Buy on Amazon US

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links
Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/read-reviewed-62-winter-at-the-door-by-sarah-graves

Downton Abbey Rules for Household Staff by Justyn Barnes and Julian Fellowes

The Downton Abbey Rules for Household Staff - Carnival Productions

If you, like me, are a Downton Abbey fan and you’re waiting for the first episode of the show’s last season like a kid awaits Santa on Christmas, this book is a must read for you.

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff is a short and little in appearance house manual, but for fans of the show it is a wonderful voyage to the downstairs Downtonian world. Being that is was written by Mr. Carson himself, it is impossible not to feel like you can hear him reading the book to you as you read.

The manual contains a series of instructions, directions and guidelines for those who aspire to perform correctly their duties as servants of the estate, with dignity and efficiency.It gives you an insight on how Downton Abbey runs thanks to the downstairs team. The infinite set of tasks and the detail of how they have to be performed. The book also comes with illustrations that are impeccably and very detailed hand drawn, adding more enjoyment to the readers’ experience with this book.

Even though this manual is for running a fictional household in the 1920’s, some of these instructions and procedures can be adopted in our modern times.

What I liked about the way Mr. Carson wrote this book was that it reminds the reader of the meaning of the word servant. “Improvers of Life” is what Mr. Carson calls them. More about this on the full review on my blog.



As a fan of the show, I must confess that I’m more a team upstairs (Lady Mary is my alter ego), but reading this book gave me a wider and more clear idea of what the downstairs team does and how valuable and irreplaceable they are for Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff is a must read for Downton Abbey fans. It is the perfect book to read while we wait for the final season premiere. It is definitely a remedy for the Downton withdrawal symptoms every fan is suffering from. Season 6, it will be bittersweet but I can’t wait. Julian Fellowes, if you ever read this: thank you

 

Buy on Amazon US

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links

 

 

Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/read-reviewed-61-downton-abbey-rules-for-household-staff-by-justyn-barnes-and-julian-fellowes

Jane Austen with a Twist

Reblogged from It's a Mad Mad World:

The Bracelet by Dorothy Love

The Bracelet - Dorothy Love

The Bracelet is the first book by Dorothy Love that I’ve ever read. The title, the beautiful cover and the description of the book made me want to read it. It also has a good and classic cast of characters. A line up you would expect in historical fiction stories like this one.

The story is set in Savannah and loosely based on true events, a fact that for me made it appealing to read. It takes place in 1858, so the conflicts between North and South regarding slavery, secession and war are still palpable. It is not a book about slavery per se, the family portrayed isn’t a slave owning family, but being that it takes place during the Pre-Civil War time period, the situation is addressed.

The plot was good. After receiving a mysterious bracelet with what seems an omen of death, Celia decides to take matters on her hand by discovering on her own the mystery behind the bracelet and the true series of events of her family’s past in order to stop the despicable reporter, who is trying to ruin her family.

I was intrigued about the secrets behind the deaths. I kept trying to guess what would happen next and who did what. I questioned Celia’s actions and I kept suspecting on Ivy. I had a love and hate relationship with Ivy.

As I kept reading, the plot kept getting tangled, but tangled in a good way. Gladly in the end, it all made sense and they lived happily ever after. I liked this story, it kept me entertained.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5 out of 5 for 2 reasons:

1. Even though it was an enjoyable and interesting read, overall I felt like it didn’t fully meet my expectations of a “romance, rich historical detail, and breathtaking suspense”.

2. Despite the classic cast of characters, there was an important non -human character that I felt got a bit robbed: The Bracelet.

More about this on the full review on my blog.

Other than that it was a good read and I liked it. 3.5/5 is a good rating in my scorebook.

The Bracelet is a story of mystery, secrets, death, murder, rivalry, and love that readers of historical fiction will enjoy. If you’re into love stories about wealthy southern belles this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a book about slavery, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book about a wealthy southern family in the 1850’s that didn’t own slaves, this is the book for you.

This was the first book by Dorothy Love that I’ve ever read. I wasn’t aware that she is a Christian writer. If you’re expecting this to be a Christian fiction book, this is not the book for you. Having read the book I would say the Christian message was so subtle that I didn’t find it. There are no crude offensive language or events, which makes it a safe book for readers who worry about that.

The Bracelet is a good book for young adults, adults and book clubs too. I can see discussions about dealing with sibling rivalry, family secrets, and/or women’s societal roles coming from reading this book.

I enjoyed Celia’s story and I will definitely check out Dorothy Love’s next historical romantic suspense novel that will be released in October 2015.

 

 

Buy on Amazon US

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

Source: http://wp.me/p28tqo-1dY

The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Job - Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg

The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg is the book #3 in the Fox and O’Hare series. It is the second book from this series that I've read, and it didn’t disappoint me. I was greatly pleased that I enjoyed reading this book as I expected.

As usual, I start my reviews with the book cover analysis. But you'll have to check it out on the full review on my blog.

The Job starts great. I liked how it started with a bang. We get right into reading about Kate O’Hare being a kickass FBI agent and how she brilliantly captures bad guys, “the Businessman Bandits”. I liked how we immediately read that she has a relationship is in close contact with Nick Fox, one of the worlds most wanted thieves. And I also liked how we’re immediately presented with the conflict that Nick and Kate must solve. We know what the Job is right from the get go:

Nick and Kate must catch up Violante, a dangerous drug lord who has been framing Nick for several grand thefts. For this mission they go on an international, wild, and dramatic adventure, that involves expensive chocolate and treasure hunting, and they team up again with memorable characters from the series.

Although, it is more enjoyable if you have read the first books in the series, you don’t need to read the first books to get the story. This book can be a stand-alone. You can start the series from here and get the hang of Kate and Nick’s relationship. If you start the series from this book, I’m sure you’ll want to check the first books just for fun.

Once again the attraction and sexual tension between the two main characters is enjoyably off the charts. In the previous book, Nick was playfully open about his attraction to Kate, while Kate was struggling to admit she was into Nick. In this book, Nick is as wittingly charming and open as usual, and Kate is not struggling anymore. More about this on the full review on my blog.

The Job was a fast paced entertaining read. It had the same combination of witty dialogues, action-packed thrilling scenes, mystery, humor, romance, drama, and likeable characters from the previous books in the series. It was nice to see characters from the past reappear, especially Jake, Kate’s father. There can’t be a Nick and Kate mission without Jake helping them get the job done. His relationship with Kate is endearing, special and unique. Jake is a wonderful character that adds so much to the story.

The Fox and O’Hare Series is one of my favorites of this genre. It is definitely a good summer read for men or women. I will definitely read the next installment of this series, which is now on pre-order and comes out September 15th, 2015! You can read an excerpt of book #4 here.

p.s. Just a note to editors: there are some French dialogues in a part of the story. For those of us, who speak French it’s no problem, but it would be nice for non-francophone readers to have the translation or the clues as to what the phrases mean.

 

 

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links

 

 

Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/read-reviewed-59-the-job-by-janet-evanovich-lee-goldberg

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

The Butterfly and the Violin (Hidden Masterpiece, #1) - Kristy Cambron

Full review on my blog.

 

I am a big fan of historical fiction. I utterly enjoy reading stories that take you back in time to real places and historical events. There’s something magical about romancing past lives. It feels like all the suffering and horrors of the past can be rectified or somehow honored with historical fiction stories. Sadly as a reader of this genre, I am often deceived by publishers who in an effort of trying to get religious messages out there, abuse historical fiction readers by not mentioning the fact that the stories are religious fiction.

When I saw the title and cover of this book I knew I had to read it. But you know what they say, never judge a book by its cover.

The Butterfly and the Violin is the story of Sera James and Adele Von Bron. Sera’s story takes place in our present time. Adele’s story takes us back in time to Austria in the 1940s.

I was very pleased as I started reading this book. The first 7 chapters were entertaining. I liked the parallel stories. Sera and Adele were two characters with whom I could easily relate to. They felt real and their stories felt credible. When I reached the Auschwitz part I knew I was in for an emotional ride.

Forty percent into the book was when my first red flag appeared. I was misled by not knowing this was Christian fiction. But the religious statements at this point were small and subtle so I let them pass.

But sadly as charming as William was with Sera and as compelling as Adele’s time in Auschwitz was, the love stories ended up being too PREDICTABLE for my taste. Yes, the capital letters are intended. The historical facts around them were promising and captivating. Anything you read about the Holocaust has emotional power. The author had a story that had romantic tear-jerking potential but it lacked that dramatic effect and left me waiting for it to come. And the final turn off for me was that from approximately page 230 until the end, it got really religious which was something I hadn’t signed up for; nothing in the blurb of this book said religious fiction.

In the end I felt like the author focused too much on Sera and used Adele as a historical filler. It should’ve been the other way around. Adele’s story was much more interesting and would’ve liked this book better if it had been only about Adele. I wanted to know more about Adele in the end, but the author focused so much on pouring the religious messages that Adele’s ending felt rushed and wasted.

With that said, this book is an OK read, 2 stars it gets, nothing more. If you’re into holocaust fiction this is not the book for you. There are better options out there. If you are looking for religious fiction, then this might be the book for you. Can’t say if it’s good religious fiction or bad though, that would be for fans of this genre to say.

 

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links
Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/read-reviewed-58-the-butterfly-and-the-violin-by-kristy-cambron

Growing up social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World - Gary D Chapman

Let me start this review by saying that I was attracted to read this book by its cover and title. The cover is very intriguing and thought provoking. For me it’s a perfect depiction of what is happening to kids who are “growing up” social. As a private tutor I had been questioning the effects of growing up social on my students. As soon as I saw the title of this book I picked it up thankfully it gave me all the answers I needed. And what’s best of all, it gave me reassurance that my beliefs regarding screen time for children aren’t wrong.

The writing is straight to the point. The concepts are clearly explained. There are many practical and doable examples on how to apply the suggestions the authors make. More about the writing on the the full review on my blog.

Growing up social does not emphasize only on the negative effects screen time has on our kids: slow language development, aggressive behavior, frustration, negative thoughts, weak interpersonal relationships, lack of virtues, feeling of entitlement, short attention span, lack of emotional connections, rebellion toward authority, etc. It is not a book to attack technology. The authors recognize that with a purpose and a plan, screen time can be a wonderful way to bring families closer.

The important lesson to learn is that there has to be balance, limits, and boundaries for screen time enforced by parents in order to raise healthy and productive human beings. These parameters don’t have to be imposed or forced on children. They are set in a way that children learn to make decisions and learn to live within these boundaries.

Growing up social is an empowering book for parents, an eye opener for those who are feeling lost or despaired in their mission. It fills you with hope and reminds you that it is never too late to make positive changes that will influence your children for the rest of their lives. It positively recharges you and makes you remember that “you are the parent at the wheel who decides the direction of your family.”

Growing up social is not only for parents or single parents, but also a great resource for grandparents, families, teachers, nannies, tutors, counselors, and anyone who is in constant contact with children and has some responsibility in their upbringing can greatly benefit from reading this book. I am very selective as to which books get 5 stars in my book shelf. I highly recommend reading this book.

 

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links
Source: http://wp.me/p28tqo-1d5

Hope at Dawn by Stacy Henrie

Hope at Dawn - Stacy Henrie

Note to publishers: Had I known this was Religious fiction, I wouldn’t have read it, as religious books are tricky to review. I was misled to think it was a purely historical fiction book. I have nothing against religion but this book lost a star in my rating because the blurb didn’t disclose the story as containing religious content/message.

Hope at Dawn is the first book in the Of Love and War series by Stacy Henrie. It tells the love story of Livy and Friedrick, set during World War I, in Hilden, a fictional town in the Midwest. Having read other stories set during this time period, I was gladly surprised to discover new historical facts about events I hadn’t read before.

When I started reading the book, I felt like it all happened in the first 2 chapters. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they like each other but discover differences that awaken mutual hate. But love is too powerful to keep them apart. I thought it was too early for the love story to happen but I was gladly surprised by the series of events that happened next, which made this book about so much more than love and romance.

As the story unfolds, you read about the historical facts of what German-Americans suffered in America during WWI. I wasn’t aware of them. More about this on the full review on my blog.

Hope at Dawn is a fast paced weekend read. It is a perfect companion for a rainy afternoon and a cup of chocolate. If you are of German-American decent, you might enjoy reading this book and learn a bit more about your heritage. If you like historical love stories set during WWI, this is the book for you.

If you like religious fiction you will enjoy this book. If you like to read love stories that can stand the test of prejudice and discrimination this is the book for you. This can be also an enjoyable book club read; many interesting discussions about racism and love can arise from this.

 

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DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links.
Source: http://bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/read-reviewed-56-hope-at-dawn-by-stacy-henrie

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