Sunday, 28 September 2014

Oh, How I Have Tried Joanne

dear readers,

Last night I caught up The Highland Gazette series and am patiently awaiting book five.

NORTH SEA REQUIEM
(The Highland Gazette: Book 4)
Written by A.D. Scott
genre: historical, fiction, mystery

3 STARS

Once I finished the fourth book in the Highland Gazette mysteries series I knew this was not a "must read as soon as published and will still read if there is a horribly boring/badly written" on my vast to be read list.  If I noticed a book was coming out or was out I would definitely borrow from the library but it is not one I would buy or scour websites to find the release date.  Unfortunately, if there was another book like book one I would probably give up on the series.  While I am now invested in the characters there is no personal tie to them...hence my lower rating for the fourth novel.

I cannot no matter how much I try...and I have tried for three books now...to like Joanne Ross.  She is the main character and the books hinge on the readers feeling some kinship.  Bad news first - I could not relate to her in anyway.  Joanne comes off abrasive and selfish in the wrong ways.  The Good news is that Don and MacAllister will have you routing for them and kee pyou reading.  

In this novel a few months have passed and Joanne is closer to becoming a divorcee but cannot decide if she is really in love with MacAllister.  When a strange woman come to town looking for anyone who knew her deceased husband threatening anonymous letters start arriving at the Highland Gazette.  Local woman Nurse Urquart finds a boot with a severed limb and is later attacked with acid.  She too was sent threatening letters.  What does an American Jazz singer and widow have in common with a local nurse?  And who will be the next victim?

I am currently reading another book in one of my favourite series - JD Robb's Strangers in Death and am also listening to Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (read by Caroline Lee).

love,
kris

Friday, 26 September 2014

Who is Mrs. Smart?

dear readers,

I went straight into the third novel by A.D. Scott and knew this one would be the make or break book for the series.


BENEATH THE ABBEY WALL
(The Highland Gazette: Book Three) 
Written by A.D. Scott
Genre: historical, mystery, fiction

3.5 STARS

In Book one and two Mrs. Smart - the newspaper's office manager - is a background character.  We do not find out much about her but she is reliable and holds the Highland Gazette together.  The lack of detail of her life and her no nonsense attitude intrigued me and I was hoping in this book we would learn more.

It has been a few months since the last novel and in this book the Highland Gazette is thoroughly rocked.  First there is the death of Mrs. Smart and then Don McLeod is charged for her murder.  The members of the Gazette are not sure how Don and Mrs. Smart are connected and why her murder has wrecked him so much.

The reading of Mrs. Smart's will bring up more questions than helping the Gazette figure out who is Mrs. Smart's killer.  As they dig deeper into the case the newspaper is falling apart.  The new Canadian stranger in town working as a subeditor has Joanne in a lovestruck tizzy and MacAllister is too distraught over Don and Mrs. Smart to notice.  Joanne also might have a way to get rid of Bill and save her new life.  Time is of the essence but secrets are hard to shake loose and more than Don has everything to lose.


I am in for book four and have book five on hold at the library. As I said I think I will continue with the series until the books get dense or dull. I am going straight into book four an am about 35% into the novel.

love,
kris



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Fall into Reading (Part II)

dear readers,

The question on everyone's mind from my last blog is...was book two (A Double Death on the Black Isle) worth the time and effort of reading book one (A Small Death in the Great Glen)?



A DOUBLE DEATH ON THE
BLACK ISLE
(The Highland Gazette: Book Two)
Written by A.D. Scott
Genre: mystery, fiction, historical

3.5 STARS

Patricia, an old school friend of Joanne Ross calls her to her estate for her secret wedding to a fisherman.  Unfortunately, that is not the only drama for Black Isle.  On the same day two men from the same estate are found dead.  Accident or murder? Either way the Highland Gazette is on the case.  

I see it now!  This second book is a mystery, period.  While we still move with the characters and hear what they are think they is more "action" and suspense in this novel.  I enjoyed the hesitant banter between Joanne and MacAllister.  Don is just a great character that provides heart.  I applaud the realism of some of the shadier players in the book. The  novel moved at a quicker pace in that I was absorbed in the beginning and found it hard to not read more.   I read this one within a day or so.  I will read book three but if the series gets like book one I think I will stop with the series.   

love, 
kris


Fall into Reading

dear readers,

It is finally my favourite season of the year - Autumn.  It is perfect for reading.  There are still some warmish afternoons to enjoy some reading on the deck with a nice cold drink. Or when it does get a bit chilly, or a rainy day, there is a warm blanket waiting with a steamy tea or coffee.  Let the reading begin.

My recent goal has been catching up on or completing series I have already begun.  I start so many book one of a series but instead of moving forward I seem to start another book. I have been doing pretty good for the past few months.  I have even reread some books to aid in plan.  

I was looking at my local library's website and browsed through the "on order" list and noticed the following cover



I totally judged this book by it's cover and went to see if this was part of a series or a standalone novel.  Of course it is book 5 of a series.  Then began the search of whether I can buy/borrow the other books.  Things worked out as I found all four novels in paperback at my local library :) I have put a hold on The Low Road and started with the first book, A Small Death in the Great Glen.



A SMALL DEATH IN THE 
GREAT GLEN
(The Highland Gazette mysteries: Book One)
Written by A.D. Scott
Genre: mystery, historical, fiction, 

3 STARS
When trying to figure out if Low Road was part of a series (and if yes what number) I found that there were two names for the series.  On A.D. Scott's website she calls the series The Highland Gazette mysteries after the newspaper publication where five of the main characters work.  Most other book sites call this series Joanne Ross after one of the characters in the novel.  While we do get more details on Joanne in the first book, I am with Scott and like to refer to the series as The Highland Gazette mysteries.


Speaking of details....there are a LOT of descriptions, explanations and hearing every though a character has in the first book, A Small Death in the Great Glen.  The novel takes place in the Highlands of Scotland in the 1950s and opens with a young boy's body being found in the canal lock.  The young boy, Jamie was friends with Joanne Ross' daughters, Annie and Wee Jean.  That is where the mystery sort of stops and the descriptions of each character in the novel begins.  While I am nosey and like the back story of characters I found it very tedious and almost got to the point where I stopped reading.  While the mystery runs through the novel it is not the focal point of the book.  The focal point is Joanne Ross - wife, mother and part-time typist at the Highland Gazette - and how she has to overcome her abusive husband, being shunned by her minister father, being a disappointment to her mother-in-law and being though of as thinking above her station by the rest of the town.  Her only real friends are Italian born immigrants, the Corelli family and the people she works with and for.  Then we meet Rob McLean, reporter and son of a barrister.  He is young, wild and ambitious.  Also on the paper is Don McLeod -the gruff editor and team leader- and then their is dependable Mrs. Smart who takes care of advertising and other tasks with Joanne.  Finally, rounding out the team is MacAllister, the boss and sort of love interest of Joanne.  Do not fear you will get every single detail of each of these characters and even some secondary and very minor players.  

So why did I continue to read this book? Well, there are two reasons why I had to keep trying with this dense novel.  One of the reasons was that I had read reviews on this book and many said it was dense but was worth it because the second book is amazing.  That intrigued me and once I got reading I wanted to see if that was true because It was taking me forever to get through the first one.  The second reason I pursued the novel was because of Mrs. Smart - who we don't get much about so I wanted to see what was going on there and if Joanne would smarten up and kick her husband to the curb. 

The end result was yes they do remember they have to solve the murder and with all the information given about people, places and things I will not have to do research ever on 1950s Highlands.  The next book better be amazing or I am giving up!

love,
kris



Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Trouble with Honor...And there is a lot of Trouble: Reviews


dear readers,


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).



THE TROUBLE WITH HONOR
(Cabot Sisters: Book 1)
Written by Julia London
genre: historical romance

3 STARS 

Honor Cabot has never wanted to fall the rules and living under stepfather's roof and money allows the eldest Cabot daughter some freedom.  Now that her stepfather is on his deathbed and her stepbrother is to marry her rival Honor is being forced to marry.

Knowing all the consequences she goes to a well-known rake, George Easton to have him woo Monica, her sister-in-law, so she can break off the engagement.  Instead Honor falls for George but of course he keeps her at an arm's length.

I have to say I could not like Honor Cabot no matter how much I tried.  She was very selfish and a bit of a bully.  I felt bad for her rival, Monica who we were supposed to see as the bully and selfish.  George Easton was also self serving so I guess in the end they made a good pair.  The last half of the novel dragged a bit in trying to get a HEA ending. As much as I like Julia London's writing I will not be continuing with this series.


love,
kris

All I Wanted Was to Stop Reading: Review

dear readers,


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).


ALL I WANT IS YOU
Written by Elizabeth Anthony
genre: erotica, historical erotica

DNF


At age thirteen Sophie loses her father to the Great War and her mother to an illness.  Like her mother before her she is soon a maid at the Great Hall - the country house of a Duke.  There she discovers her mother was a bit too friendly with men and her father may not be her biological dad.  Wanting a better life she declines her childhood friend's proposal and instead is being lead to a world of sex and secrets by the late Duke's widow.

This is an erotic novel set during and post WWI.  The novel is trying to be Downton Abbey but instead of scandalous it falls a bit flat due to the very simplistic writing.  If you are looking for an erotic novel and writing does not matter you may be able to finish this novel.

love,
kris

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Homecoming Ranch - Review

dear readers,


(I received an ARC from the author/publisher/NetGalley/ in exchange for an honest review).


HOMECOMING RANCH
(Book 1)
written by Julia London
genre: contemporary romance, series


4 STARS 


In Homecoming Ranch Leo Kendrick tells us about Pine River, his brother, Luke and the legacy left by Grant Tyler.  When once wealthy Grant Tyler is fatally ill he finds out due to his last divorce the only asset he now has is Homecoming Ranch.  He tells his lawyer, Jackson, to leave the Ranch to his three estranged daughters, Madeline, Emma and Libby.  

The last several years have been hard on Luke Kendrick first with his brother's illness and then his mother's cancer and death.  After six years he has graduated from college and is trying to make a career in Denver.  He is again called back to Pine River when he learns that his father and Leo are no longer living at Homecoming Ranch.

Madeline Pruett has never known her biological father and has been raised by her irresponsible mother.  While her career is going well her personal has never taken off.  When she decides to go to Colorado to see what her father has left her she also runs away from her possible romance with Stephen.

Madeline finds out she has two sisters she never knew about and has been left a ranch she does not want.  Luke wants to get the ranch back for his father - Bob made a desperate and trusting deal with Grant - but finds himself distracted by Madeline.  Madeline finds herself postponing her trip home as she finds Pine River growing on her and Luke breaking down her walls.

I enjoyed Julia London's previous contemporary romance the Lear Family trilogy so was excited when I saw Homecoming Ranch.  Right off the bat I will say that either you will love the heroine, Madeline, or be really annoyed with her.  She is Type A to the extreme and does get on your nerves after awhile.  Leo, Luke's brother, is the one telling us this story and his voiceover is prominent and sarcastic.  I liked Madeline and thought she was a realistic character.  I liked Leo too, but often found him a bit too much.  A good contemporary romantic novel and promising series.

love, 
kris

Friday, 28 March 2014

Please Do Not Come Home to Me - Come Home to Me: Review


dear readers,

This blog post was really hard for me to write.  In fact, it took me a few days after reading the book to even sit down to rate it.

(I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review).  


COME HOME TO ME 
(Book 6: WHISKEY CREEK)
written by Brenda Novak
genre: contemporary romance, fiction 

3 STARS


Presley Christensen has returned to Whiskey Creek with her 18-month old son, Wyatt.  Presley and her sister, Cheyenne, try and keep Wyatt away from Aaron as he might suspect Wyatt is really his son. As she opens a new business and sets up a home for her and her son she is pursued by Riley, a well-respected man wanting a relationship, and Aaron, her ex, who is not sure what he wants in the future but wants Presley right now. But will his feelings change when he discovers the truth about Wyatt? And, how will this secret affect Cheyenne and her husband, Dylan who is Aaron's brother and also in the dark?

As you know I am a big fan of Brenda Novak's books and love the Whiskey Creek series so it killed me to rate it only three stars.  I rounded up from 2.5 just because of Novak's writing skills and that I was able to get through the book.  What didn't work was that Cheyenne, a heroine from a earlier book had a personality transplant for the worse.  Without giving away any plot details I found that Cheyenne's decisions in this novel were not only bad but ridiculous.  The baby issues this novel were straight from daytime television and no one seemed to have any common sense.

The ending of a Whiskey Creek novel usually leaves me counting down to the next book and this time I am actually okay with waiting and do not know if I will put it as a priority read.  I feel so bad for Dylan, Cheyenne's husband, that I almost hope there will be a future novel where he will find a woman who deserves that love he has.  I am also not looking forward to Eve finding love as she also seems step on another woman's heart to try and get a man.  And, the storyline with Dylan's father makes me cringe for the Amos boys.

I will still continue with the next book in Whiskey Creek because I do want to see where Novak takes us next.

love,
kris



Monday, 17 March 2014

Review: Dating, Dining and Desperation

dear readers,

I read Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel last month (http://mynoveladdiction.blogspot.ca/2014/02/review-lock-stock-and-over-barrel.html)and just finished the follow-up book...


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).



DATING, DINING AND DESPERATION
(Book 2: Dear Daphne)
written by Melody Carlson
genre: contemporary fiction, christian fiction, romance


3 STARS 

Daphne is still looking for a husband in order to fulfill her Aunt's condition of her inheritance. With less than a year left Daphne has to start dating ASAP.  She has help in her new Southern neighbour, Sabrina who has moved to town to get away from her ex-husband.  While Sabrina pushes Daphne at any and every man, her father and friend, Olivia still want her to date Ricardo, the owner of a local diner.  Daphne has been brooding over her aunt's lawyer, Jake who is on vacation with his ex-wife.

While her love life seems to be taking over everything she comes across a young girl who is being raised by her elder sickly grandmother.  Daphne inserts herself in Mabel and Vera's life and wonders if adopting a child would trump getting married.

Dating, Dining and Desperation is what I would classify as a middle book in that it carries on from the last book and sets up the next novel. Not a bad light contemporary romance but nothing special. I also do not like the heroine's love interest as it seems forced and I am just not feeling the chemistry. 

love,
kris

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Review: Waking the Dead

dear readers,


(I received ARCs from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).


Last March 2013 I read...


LET THE DEAD SLEEP
(Book 1: Cafferty & Quinn)
written by Heather Graham
genre: romantic suspense, paranormal

3.5 STARS 

"It was stolen from a New Orleans grave - the centuries-old bust of an evil man, a demonic man. It's an object desired by collectors - and by those with wickedness in their hearts. One day, its current owner shows up at Danni Cafferty's antiques shop on Royal Street, the shop she inherited from her father. But before Danni can buy the statue, it disappears, the owner is found dead...and Danni discovers that she's inherited much more than she realized. In the store is a book filled with secret writing: instructions for defeating evil entities. She'd dismissed it as a curiosity...until the arrival of this statue, with its long history of evil and even longer trail of death. Michael Quinn, former cop and now private investigator, is a man with an unusual past. He believes that doing the right thing isn't a job - it's a way of life. And the right thing to do is find and destroy this object weighted with malevolent powers. He and Danni are drawn together in their search for the missing statue, following it through sultry New Orleans nights to hidden places in the French Quarter and secret ceremonies on abandoned plantations. Cafferty and Quinn already know that trust in others can be misplaced, that love can be temporary. And yet their connection is primal. Mesmerizing. They also know that their story won't end when this case is closed and the dead rest in peace once again." (From Amazon)

A good supernatural romance set against the backdrop of contemporary New Orleans.  I loved the descriptions of the French Quarters and spooky graveyards.  If you like romance and mystery this is a great book.



WAKING THE DEAD
(Book 2: Cafferty & Quinn)
written by Heather Graham
genre: romantic suspense, paranormal

4 STARS 

The novel opens with Quinn returning to New Orleans and Danni and Quinn decide that being apart is not what they want or need.  As soon as Quinn's plane hits the runway he is involved in another murder case... this time it is a painting from 200 years ago that seems to have a history of murder.  

"In the case of Ghosts in the Mind by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that's more than just an expression. This painting is reputed to come to life—and to bring death. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland during 1816, "the year without a summer." That was when they all explored themes of horror and depravity in their art….  Now, almost two hundred years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death seems to follow.   Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are quickly drawn into the case. They begin to make connections between that summer in Switzerland and this spring in Louisiana. Danni, the owner of an eccentric antiques shop, and Quinn, a private detective, have discovered that they have separate but complementary talents when it comes to investigating unusual situations.  Trying to blend their personal relationship with the professional lives they've stumbled into, they learn how much they need each other. Especially as they confront this work of art—and evil. The people in the portrait might be dead, but something seems to wake them and free them to commit bloody crimes. Cafferty and Quinn must discover what that is. And they have to destroy it—before it destroys them." (From Amazon)

I enjoyed the first book in the Cafferty & Quinn series - romantic/paranormal-suspense - so was excited about the second book and was not disappointed. The novel, Waking the Dead has a Nora Roberts feel to it - the connections and chemistry between the characters. I also liked the storyline about a haunting and/or haunted painting.

love,
kris



Raybourn Returns to the British Colonies: Reviews

dear readers,



WHISPER OF JASMINE
(Book 0.5)
written by Deanna Raybourn
genre: historical fiction, romance

4 STARS 

Delilah Drummond, heroine from A Spear of Summer Grass, is throwing a grand New Year's Eve party in 1914.  She will not let a little thing like war stop her from having the party she wants.  Also on the socialite's agenda is matchmaking for four of he friends. But within minutes of them all showing up the dashing archaeologist, Gabriel Stark tries to sweep Evangeline Merriweather, a practical girl wanting adventure and love off of her feet.

The Jasmine books seem like a spin-off from the Ryder books but do not look like they are part of one series.

This a short fun romantic story that introduces readers to Gabriel Stark and Evangeline Merriweather.  As the novella ends you ready for the full-length novel and what their next adventure is. Right away you are charmed by the shy but adventure-seeking heroine, Evie and fall for lovely Gabriel.


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).


CITY OF JASMINE
(Book 1)
written by Deanna Raybourn
genre: historical fiction, romance

3 STARS

The Great War has ended and the now widowed, Evie is trying to support herself and her aunt Dove with her fame as an aviatrix.  Evie and Gabriel were going to divorce before he died on the Lusitania and Evie was left with mix feelings.  While their whirlwind courtship and marriage was ending Evie has always loved her adventurer husband.  Five years since Gabriel's death  Evie is finally moving on with her life when she receives a recent picture of Gabriel.  She suddenly puts her life on hold and sets out to find out the mystery behind the picture.  

Since the novel was set in the 1920s I cannot help but picture Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable as Evie and Gabriel.  I did like the banter between and love story of the Starks but there were times in the novel where the book dragged on longer then it should have.  I enjoyed the novel but I still prefer Lady Julia.

love,
kris



Mine to Read: Reviews

dear readers,

I don't read erotic fiction for the genre alone but I have recently been reading romantic suspense that has more sensual scenes than normal.  One author that I will read anything by is Cynthia Eden...


(I received ARCs from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).



MINE TO TAKE
(Book 1)

3 STARS 

Skye Sullivan is being watched and no one believes her so she is not receiving any protection.  Old flame, Trace is now wealthy and has his own security agency.  When Skye comes to him he drops everything and guards Skye himself.  As the threat continues Trace himself is obsessed with Skye and his lust takes over.  

This novel is more erotic romance than a romantic suspense.  I do not read many erotic novels unless it is the side effect of a romantic suspense.  This one is the opposite where "suspense" is the side story.  Eden is a good writer so there is suspense but at times it does get forgotten.


MINE TO KEEP
(Book 2)

4 STARS 

Mine to Keep continues Skye and Trace's story...after surviving her ordeal Skye wants to have a normal safe life with Trace.  Unfortunately, Trace's past has come to the present day to tear them apart.  Trace's past, after he left her, has been a secret to Skye and Trace still wants to keep her in the dark.  However, his past has come to take his life...which is Skye and he must trust his past friends to survive.

This novel has more action and suspense than the first novel.  I really like Trace's friends from the past - Noah and Drake. I loved the ending as I did not see it coming but also disliked it (cannot say more without revealing spoilers). More please!





MINE TO HOLD
(Book 3)

4 STARS 

Now that Skye and Trace are safe and rebuilding their life, Claire has left town to ask for Noah York's help.  She needs a job and at this point he may be the only one who can help her.  Her parents were murdered by her teenage lover when they would not tell him where Claire was hidden.  After the murder Ethan is sent to prison but his obsession has not ceased nor has his father's anger with Claire.  When she tries to rebuild her life and get a job Senator Harrison is there to make sure it crumbles.

From the moment Noah York met Claire his life has begun to change...he wants to protect the proud fragile woman.  He will do anything he can to make sure she is safe including murder.  When Ethan is attends his father's funeral his car is blown up and Ethan is the first to be suspected...

The novel continues from Mine to Keep and has the same suspense and romance to engage the reader.  I liked the relationship between Noah and Claire and we got to see more the couple's past.  A great book.


MINE TO CRAVE
(Book 4)

3 STARS 

The fourth book in the series features Trace and Noah's tortured friend, Drake Archer and a mysterious thief, Jasmine Bennett.  Jasmine seems to be connected with his past and bringing him down.  Jasmine hold more secrets than Drake. WIll their pasts and secrets get in the way of them being together?

With the last two novels being steeped in suspense this novel fell a bit flat.  The secrets and twists kept coming at you that you soon did not care anymore as it seemed to be the same every time.  I also did not like Jasmine for Drake.


There will be another book in the series...

love,
kris




Lincoln, the Civil War and Chiaverini: Reviews

dear readers,

I have taken some courses in American History but many were beginner courses that briefly touched on Civil War and Lincoln.  Jennifer Chiaverini seems to have done a great deal of research pre to post Cival War and the key players...she has written three standalone historical fiction focused on that time...


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).



MRS. LINCOLN'S RIVAL


4 STARS 

Kate Chase Sprague is the eldest daughter of an ambitious lawyer, Salmon P. Chase who had his eye on the Presidential seat.  With the death of his second wife, Kate becomes Salmon's hostess.  She was at his side to attend parties and threw parties on his behalf.  Kate saw herself as the First Lady as her father rose in politics.  Unfortunately for Kate and Salmon, Abraham Lincoln would become President and thus putting Kate and Mary Todd Lincoln's at odds.

While Kate liked Mr. Lincoln she felt snubbed by his dull wife.  Mary  on the other hand thought Kate was snubbing her because Kate felt she was the rightful First Lady.  The two would try to outdo the other through proper social circles.  

Kate then focuses on her own life and falls for an ambitious Rhode Island politician William Sprague.  The two political minds seem perfect for one another or do they?

I enjoyed this novel but it is a bit overly descriptive in the day to day activities I appreciated most of the acts as I did not know too much about Lincoln's presidency or the key players.  At the time I found the main character, Kate Chase, to be arrogant but she did not turn me off reading the book. Other than Lincoln and Kate's younger sister most of the characters seemed unlikeable - very flawed but realistic characters.

After reading this novel I was hooked and decided to read Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker which seemed to detail more of Mary Todd Lincoln's life through her personal dressmaker...


MRS. LINCOLN'S DRESSMAKER

3 STARS 

Mrs. Lincoln dressmaker is Elizabeth "Lizzie" Keckley a freed slave with her own dress shop frequented by all the women in Washington high society.  When Abraham Lincoln becomes President his wife Mary looks to Lizzie to dress her for every event.  Mary is a nervous woman afraid that everyone is looking down on her and is easily agitated.  Lizzie soon discovers more about the First Lady and become her confident.  In fact, Mary greatly relies on LIzzie.

First half of the novel is LIzzie getting to know Mary and is living a good life.  When the President is assassinated Mary is left alone and becomes more unstable.  Mary now has less pull and even less wealth but has not come to terms with it.  Once her debts get out of control she asks Lizzie to help sell the dresses Lizzie made for her.

Mary's debts and instability brings Lizzie down as well.  She leaves her shop to help Mary and loses revenue and clients.  Her association with the former First Lady also brings her down socially.  Lizzie seems to be Mary's maid more than a friend that she says she is.  When Lizzie is pushed into writing a memoir she thinks this may restore Mary and her's reputation instead this breaks their friendship and Mary spirals down mentally.  

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Keckley does in fact write a memoir and this seems to be the basis of this novel.  Again Chiaverini gives a lot of information and some of it is not useful to the story.  Rather it seems like a random trivia bit.  I did not like this novel as much as Mrs. Lincoln's Rival.  Mary and Lizzie were not overly likeable but also seemed to lack the engaging characteristics.

The Spymistress is also a story involving a real-life historical figure but is told from the South...


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).



THE SPYMISTRESS


4 STARS 

In Spymistress Chiaverini tells the story of a wealthy Southern spinster who aligned herself with the Union side.  Elizabeth Van Lew's finacee died before they could marry and has remained true to his memory.  She lived with her widowed mother, married brother (with his wife and two daughters) and houseful of "freed" slaves.  Her slave-holding father made a stipulation in the will that the slaves could never be freed but the Van Lew women have told the slaves in their eyes they are.  

When the Civil war begins the Van Lew family, minus her sister-in-law, align themselves with the Union but have to do so quietly.  It becomes dangerous to help or side with the Union side so Elizabeth decides to go undercover like other "Unionists".  She and her household risk everything to save innocent lives - black and white.  

"Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini's riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due." (From Amazon).

I knew that the Confederates were unkind to the Union side but I did not know that civilians in the South were treated so unkind.  The atmosphere reminded me of Germany Nazi or the Salem Witch trials and made me shudder.  I liked Elizabeth Van Lew a lot as well as her mother.  I think this is a novel I would read again.



Chiaverini has my interest so I will definitely read more books by her and I will try her Elm Creek series in the near future.

love,
kris

Review: Shoreline Drive


dear readers, 


I was iffy about the first novel in the Sanctuary Island series (http://mynoveladdiction.blogspot.ca/2014/02/review-sanctuary-island.html)but had already said yes to reviewing book 2 so I went ahead and read it...


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).



SHORELINE DRIVE
(Sanctuary Island: Book Two)
genre: contemporary romance


4 STARS

Merry and Ella have decided to stay in Sanctuary Island - Ella with her new love Grady and Merry with their mother and new baby, Alex.  While she loves getting to know her mother she is not sure living together is the best situation.  Ben, the vet, who helped deliver Alex decides to strike a deal with Merry...is he marries him he will provide for her and the baby and give Alex all he needs.  Ben tells Merry he cannot have kids and Alex is his and his family;s last chance at a heir.  Merry accepts his proposal but can the two keep from loving one another?

After being disappointed with the first novel I was not expecting anything.  I just wanted to read the book to complete my obligations...but WOW, a complete turn around.  While the story is cliched and predictable you wanted to see how the characters evolved.  With the second novel the author focused on fewer characters - Merry and Ben's story and Taylor's story.  This allows the reader to connect with the characters in my opinion.

Yes, I will be continuing the series...Heartbreak Cove (expected date 2015).

love,
kris