Recently my book club chose Jeanine Cummins’s novel, American Dirt. I didn’t know anything about the novel, except it was an Oprah’s Book Club book. I listened to the sample on Audible and wasn’t sure what I would think about the novel. As I listened, the opening scene was full of action, and I knew it was probably worth the 1 credit. I wanted to attend the next book club meeting, so I downloaded it. Listening has its perks because a narrator can really give a story life, but it has its disadvantages because you can’t see the grammatical structure. I was a little confused sometimes about who was speaking since one moment we are in Luca’s head and the next in Lydia’s. I’m used to one or two points of view, but this book had many POVs and that was different than the norm. However, this didn’t distract from the amazing story being told. When I went to search about the author and why the POV was different, I saw all the political statements being tossed around and chose to ignore them. Fiction is fiction, and good fiction is sometimes hard to find. I enjoyed this realistic story that brought light to the plights of immigrants, the danger they are fleeing from, and the incredible risks they take making the journey across closed boarders. All politics aside, no matter what side you stand on, this is an amazing novel about a woman who loves her child and will do anything to protect and bring him to safety. I really enjoyed the book and hope others will enjoy it too.Award winning author, Belle Ami, crafts a true story of courage, loss and endurance woven through the devastating strands of time and history. The harrowing tale of her mother’s real past starts from the tender age of ten. The Last Daughter begins just before Hitler’s troops invade Poland. The author describes the young life of her mother, Dinale (Dina) through six years of torture, heartbreak, and courage. Innocence, love, laughter, and curiosity are a great part of the Frydman family before the invasion. The ongoing discussions and concerns about growing anti-Semitism before the war build a sense of impending doom. The thoughts and actions of the characters as they are moved along like cattle portray an accurate depiction of the human psyche and lends credit to the author’s depiction of the travesty. Belle drives home how quickly things can be swept away and rights lost where happiness and freedom were once taken for granted. Young, fragile, suddenly orphaned and living at the factory where she works, Dina makes her way through Nazi Poland and claws her way to a destiny she could never have fathomed. This compelling and poignant story, even in its tragic moments, is remarkable and heart lifting. It is amazing this Nazi survivor could endures so much at such a tender age. Luck, fait, the destiny to survive, Dina beats all odds and lives to tell the history of her ancestors and the atrocities of WWII. Today, she still stands in the face of evil, and her story will hopefully keep the vigilance of freedom alive. Shock, horror and devastation of a true account of one of the youngest holocaust survivors will keep you rapt in the story, but courage, determination and perseverance will encourage you to read until the very end. Belle’s portrayal of her mother’s history is a wonderful acknowledgement and gift to her mother and other survivors so that we can never forget. Don’t miss this captivating story, The Last Daughter.
Teri Barnett’s, Romance is Murder, is a fun, upbeat murder-romance that will have you turning pages with ease. This feel-good story–what, you say? Feel-good? That’s right. Canny Captain Morgan is tired of seedy Detroit and is ready to return to her small-town roots of Bijoux, MI. Thinking it will all be smooth sailing and great coffee cake, Morgan Hart can’t wait to fill her dad’s shoes at the local police department and take a break. But Bijoux’s not the same sleepy lakeside area she remembers. Now it’s cute, campy and filled with tourists. As she arrives, the first murder in a hundred years takes place, and some locals are looking at her as the reason why. Romance author’s bodies are starting to pile up, but the writers retreat at the Fire Fly hotel is still on, and so is the killer. Is it her high school rival, who is determined to make her look like a fool or her late husband’s murderer? Could it be the handsome book store owner, who sets her off right from the start? He did invite the victims. You won’t have any problem reading to find out ‘who done it.’ With the wit and savvy of Ivanovich and DeLeon, Barnett is on the right track with this delicious and murderous series.
You Can’t Fight Fate, the third and final installment of The Locked Hearts Series, wraps up an intricate plot creatively woven by author, Marie Drake. Her mixture of imperfect misfits and seemingly flawless characters go through the motions of everyday life, building dreams, surviving traumas, living after loss, and plotting better futures. The series starts with Kimberly and Jordan, but by book three there are multiple key characters with different life interests and motivations. I like the way the author worked in Kimberley’s love of plants and OCD tendencies. I think she represents someone that a lot of us know. The infatuation she has for Mark is a situation that plays out in everyday life. It made me think of the film/self-help book, He’s Just Not that Into You. Just when the reader sees the threads of the novel wrapping up in a more healthy and stable direction, fate blows a disturbing breeze into the story, making you think Jordan and Kimberly will topple under the weight of it all. After reading the first two books, I couldn’t wait to see what Marie Drake had in store for these mistreated youths, now hardworking adults. The author is honest about the characters’ short comings and even paints a picture that’s hard to embrace with empathy, but she brings you back to the beginning with a reminder that every action starts a reaction even in love. You can’t Fight Fate is a compelling story with decisive characters that make this series a real page turner.
Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno is an eclectic collection of stories about everything from forbidden to ordinary love and pushing past the limits of burning desire. I don’t usually read anthologies, but I wanted to read Carol Cassada’s Not Always Like This. I loved this story of true love found, lived, lost and revitalized. It was a realistic expression about a young couple who marries and finds that gardens untended will wilt. Amanda and Daniel have a great life together, but the drudgery of daily toil has crept in like a weed and tangled itself around their romance. Amanda takes a subtle approach to get back on track, but can their love be rekindled, or will months of neglect burn their marriage until everything they cherished is extinguished? I was taken in by the diversity of this fourth book. Harmony Kent’s, The Fireman, was a brilliant building of an inferno that started with a blaze and flashed back to the tender that ignited the conflict in the beginning. Everything from a three-ring circus, Dante’s inferno, or just the day in the life of a guy enjoying a cup of joe, I really enjoyed these enticing short stories that are philosophical, thought provoking literature that stokes the flame of creativity and what ifs in life. I look forward to reading more of this series. Perfect for reading when crunched for time. Very satisfying and worth downloading.
As sweet and perfect as the title of the book, Crowns, Coffee and Cake, by Carol Cassada is the perfect diversion for an afternoon read. This novella has all the delights of a sugarplum fairytale and delivers happily ever after on a golden platter. When Princess Amelia’s tiara starts to feel like a twenty-pound brick on her head, she takes a trip to her grandparent’s place in the country with her best friend Holly. Away from the paparazzi, she takes a breather to visit family and feel a small amount of normalcy. When they step inside a local coffee shop, Amelia and Holly run into a dreamy hunk that interrupts the princess’s ability to think. Sparks fly and Amelia’s interest is more than piqued. Dylan is just the kind of guy Amelia hopes to be with, but how can someone normal deal with all the hype and responsibility that comes with a crown? Leaving out her title and the details of her life, Amelia skips over the princess story and savors the time she has with Dylan. Her grandparent’s sage wisdom and memories of her parents make her want to hold onto the possibilities of a real relationship with a good guy. But what will she do when it’s time to return to reality and palace? It’s not really a lie if you’re trying to protect the man you love, right? When the sash is pulled and all is revealed in a media frenzy, will Dylan have what it takes to be her knight in shining armor? A quick page turner to lift spirits and fuel fantasies. Don’t miss this sweet treat! Going Home Again, by Carol Cassada, is a feelgood romance wrapped up in the torn paper of Rachel’s loss, heartache and hardship. Things were perfect until her mother died and left Rachel, her sisters and grandmother struggling with grief. When Rachel goes home for the funeral, her current love, Jeremy, goes MIA. Trying to be the strong sister, she muddles through the weekend reconnecting with her siblings and grandmother. Though Jeremy doesn’t answer her calls or text, she makes it through without his support. Rachel’s career as a fashion photographer at Vogue is important to her, and she feels that she made the best decision by refusing her high school sweetheart’s proposal. The chance to have a different life in The Big Apple is worlds apart from the small town she grew up in. Rachel knows leaving Virginia was the right thing to do, but when former sweetheart, Cole, shows up at the funeral, Rachel is transported back to the memories she left behind. As Rachel’s employer nips at her heels and her assistant tells her about Jeremey’s possible infidelities, Rachel’s ties to New York unravel. An email from Cole opens the door to a connection she thought was long severed, but fate seems to draw them together again. Caught up in her own emotions from the past, will she be swept home again? With all the warmth of a Hallmark Original Movie and characters that blend like Little Women, Carol Cassada weaves a feelgood romance that is a balm to the reader’s heart.
You Can’t Fence Time is the second book in the Locked Hearts Series, by Marie Drake. This continuation of Jordan and Kimberly’s story is joined by Sam and Mark’s budding romance. As Kimberly sets out to build her own nest, right on top of Jordan’s apartment, she surprises the reader by spreading her wings and flying all on her own. Meeting Sam is a new turn in Kimberly’s life, or is it? Like Kimberly’s high school BFF, Sam is nice and cares about what happens to her new friend and everyone that encompasses her life. Pure of heart and trying to stay independent of love, Sam weaves an exciting but normal life as a glamorous model. Kimberly fails at an acting career but lands a fun job at an agency where Sam and Mark are employed. When Kimberly sets her sites on Mark, things get complicated in this double love triangle. Jordan loves Kimberly, but it’s unrequited. Kimberly is infatuated with Mark, but her sizzle is too much for the man who wants more than just a flash in the pan. I love that the author of this series writes flawed characters. It almost makes you wonder what the “normal” characters might be hiding behind their perfect facades. This is a fast-paced, seductive and dramatic romance with multi-faceted characters that plays out in the environment surrounding the agency. We don’t see as much of Jordan in this book as expected, but the secretive splashes of scenes that the author teases the reader with paint a tantalizing picture of what’s to come. Filled with steamy flirtation and packed with what if moments, You Can’t Fence Time is a thought-provoking novel that made this reader contemplate savoring the present. Next stop, You Can’t Fight Fate. I predict it will be the best yet
All the obsession of Fifty Shades and Twilight, PF pins a romance that will leave you wanting..,Do you remember your first love, a college crush, that “someone” who made it impossible to think about anything else? In PF Karlin’s Shattered Fate, Belinda Davies has just met the one man she can’t live without. Robert Pennington is everything she’s ever dreamed of and he is Belinda’s first. Strong, handsome, from a family with position, part of a popular fraternity, and in love with her, Robert is the knight in shining armor she’s been dreaming of, but should Belinda heed the warning of others? His family is wealthy and upon meeting them, she feels out of her league. Robert’s ex-girlfriend, Laura, of two years doesn’t go away easy, and a few misunderstandings could lead Belinda astray. Robert says he’s made his decision and is willing to run the gauntlet to have Belinda as his forever. Getting pinned is only the beginning of the commitment he can offer, and before long they are so much more. I would love to tell the twists and turns of this poignant romance, but I don’t want to spoil the depths of the love and loss shared between these soul mates/star crossed lovers. I must say I was surprised and intrigued by the twist at the end. Didn’t see it coming and what a thrill. All the obsession of Fifty Shades and Twilight, PF Karlin pins a romance that will leave you wanting more. Don’t miss this young and in love story that will leave you routing for happily ever after.