Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Reluctant Marquess Written by Maggi Andersen

Please click on the book cover to purchase the book.



Ahhhhhh....Cornwall, England in the 1700's....castles, servants, butlers, sumptuous meals, lords, and ladies. This book had all of my favorite things when it comes to books set in this time period.  
The story begins when Charity is summoned to the castle thinking she is to meet with her Godfather, but finds out he has passed away and that she is to marry the Marquess whom she never met.  Charity is a sweet young lady, but one with a mind of her own much to the dismay of Robert, the Marquess.  Robert is a dashing man with marriage as not part of his plans and one who most likely would not be faithful. 

The reader will follow Robert and Charity through the sweet times and also the tense times, but you will love it either way.  Charity is trying to change Robert into a loving, faithful husband......will she succeed or is she too stubborn to try to make her marriage happy? Read this quick, entertaining read to find out. 

The author does an excellent job of bringing details to life whether it is in describing a scene or a character.  The description of the rooms in the castle was wonderful...I could just envision it all and could imagine what fun it would be to live there even though I know all the rooms had to be quite cold.  I loved the chivalry and the concern with proper etiquette at formal and informal events and how the ladies had to be accompanied when they went out. 
This book caught my attention from the first page.  If you enjoy this time period, appealing characters, and some romance, you will definitely like THE RELUCTANT MARQUESS.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Please click on the book cover to preview or to buy this book.



You will love this book from the very first paragraph.  It is about every woman's concerns from Day One of their worrying years. You will laugh and say to yourself...."oh my, how true." Or...."wow...that happened to me."

Each chapter had a topic that was very poignant and one that will make you reflect as you read through the incidents and facts.  The chapter titled Generations  and the chapter titled To Be Continued definitely brought tears to my eyes.  Another chapter titled Older will make you laugh out loud.
  

Your emotions will be taken on a fun, wild ride with every chapter.  Be prepared for tears and laughter as well as sound advice along with points to ponder...especially in the last chapter.

The book was factual but personal because it brought many private topics to light.   Any woman over 50 should enjoy this book. Younger women may laugh, but may not get the full impact.
 It is a great, light read for the most part.  Some comments especially about our children and the role they play in our lives really hit home and how we as women need each other to make it all happen for us. 

The author also comments that it certainly is a blessing that we were born when we were and not when our mothers had been born and that each generation most probably will look back on some of the strides made and think that event wasn't a big deal because that had been happening for a while.  Take the time to read and enjoy the book and your life....that is what Anna Quindlen taught me.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yesterday's Dead by Pat Bourke

Thirteen-year old Meredith was used to working hard in her own family but wasn't ready to take on the household of Dr. Waterton where she had to put up with cranky help and unkind children. The only pleasant person was the cook, Mrs. Butters.  I absolutely loved Mrs. Butters...she would be the perfect person to have around if you were missing your mother as Meredith was.  Meredith had been yanked out of her household and had to work since her father had died in the war, and her mother needed extra income. 

Dr. Waterton was a kind person even with all the stress he was under with his children to raise since wife had died and the Spanish Flu to contend with.

Since Meredith had to make a good impression on the Watertons, she did her utmost to make everything work out as best as she could, especially when everyone began to fall ill from the Spanish flu.  Meredith is the main character, and you will love her, her strength, her level-headedness, and her sweetness.

Even though I normally do not read YA books, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I always enjoy books set in the early 1900's and am always amazed how people cooked in stoves that were powered by coal.  I also enjoy the setup of the households of the wealthy in terms of how many servants they had and how they were treated and how the servants treated each other.  

This is a book for those who love historical fiction and have a love of the life Americans, Canadians, and Europeans lived before all our conveniences and medicines.  It actually is frightening in terms of illnesses with no antibiotics to cure anyone. Wonder if antibiotics would have had any effect in this strain of the flu?

Enjoy the book....I certainly did and benefited from the history lesson. I definitely enjoyed the interaction among the characters. This would make a great discussion in a classroom in terms of how today's youth would feel about the way the characters reacted to each other and how illnesses are treated differently today.   In fact, there would be many topics for interesting group discussions. 5/5

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart


Beefeaters, London, animals, and eccentric, endearing characters make up this book.  It is somewhat disconnected in its entirety concerning the numerous characters, but the British humor and the silliness kept me reading.

You will meet Balthazar Jones and his wife Hebe who live in the Tower of London and who are in charge of the Tower....Balthazar is a Beefeater who became the keeper of the animals that had been gifts to the Queen.  Hebe works in the London Underground Lost Property Office.  She and her friend, Valerie Jennings, document everything that has been left on the London Underground and hope that people will eventually stop to reclaim their lost item.  There are many strange items retrieved such as an urn with the remains of Clementine Perkins, thousands of pairs of false teeth, and an eyeball.

I really enjoyed Hebe the most.....I loved the strength she portrayed in dealing with the death of her son and her husband's lack of conversation about their son or just about anything.  I also enjoyed the Reverend who pined for Ruby Dore and lived with rats that nibbled at his cassocks and the church kneelers and who secretly wrote erotic novels. 
The most action takes place at the London Underground lost property office....even love. 
There are many unique characters that will make you laugh out loud in this whimsical book.  Oh, and we can't forget Mrs. Cook the 100-year-old tortoise who had a history of her own. 
Be ready for a confusing but delightful ride through the lives of the characters who all have some heartache and/or secret.  Don't give up because of the way the book begins.....I almost did, and it would have been a mistake.  I enjoyed the book because of its history lesson and overall different theme. 4/5



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Michael's Reward by Mario Bernheim


EXCEPTIONAL doesn’t even closely describe MICHAEL’S REWARD. In this
thought-provoking, memorable book we meet Michael Whiley, God, and Lucifer.

Michael has every material possession possible – a beautiful home, a boat, a lucrative job where he makes millions with bonuses every year, and a wonderful family. Can his faith continue if he loses all this opulence?

God thinks so, and He does not doubt Michael’s loss of faith if all his worldly possessions disappear.

Lucifer has a different opinion from God, but God gives him the go ahead to test Michael full force to see what will happen to Michael if his world falls apart. Lucifer causes one horrible incident after another in Michael's life, and he also was lucky to have someone to “work over” to begin his job with Michael. His name was Charles. Charles, Michael’s co-worker, was the target Lucifer used to get one part and the major part of his plan into action. Charles was going to complete a transaction without Michael’s consent or knowledge….perfect for Lucifer….just what he wanted. Charles carries out his devious plan that Lucifer planted in his thoughts, and Charles thinks nothing of the havoc he knows may well transpire, but the more money he can get, the better for him, and he doesn't care.

These three main characters make the book suspenseful, thoughtful, and will make the reader re-think his beliefs and what one's life really should be. As you follow Lucifer through his plan, you will realize that the saying: "Money is the root of all evil" is definitely accurate.

As one catastrophe after another befall Michael, you will live/read in suspense as you wait to see what happens next.

The author addresses faith, anguish, unbelievable nightmares, and questioning of what could someone have done to deserve these happenings. It is a book that will make you question your life's choices. The book also discusses Lucifer and his entry into our lives to make them miserable. It allows you to see that he tests your faith and makes you question.

MICHAEL'S REWARD made me wonder about life after death and why God really does make things happen. Is it because the person this happened to did something wrong or was it because that was just the way it was to be to make something better? It also had me wondering and worrying if something was going to happen to me and why I received this book to review. Did I need this book because something was going to happen or did I receive the book so I would be able to help someone else? It was frightening and difficult to put down because of the pondering.

I do have to say some of the things that occurred were a little "out there," but most could be things that actually do happen and make you re-think your blessings and re-evaluate what is important and what you truly do need. It will also make you think about your friends and how most people only are concerned about their own welfare once you aren't in their league.

This quote definitely sums up the book’s premise: “Life is not about what we have, but who we are. And who we are can be tangibly measured by how we treat others.” Page 197.

You MUST READ this book no matter what your faith is. It will definitely make you contemplate. As you read it, you will question and you will also be more aware of your surroundings and those that are sharing your space no matter where you are. It will definitely change your thinking about how you are living your life. 5/5


Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison



In A WALK ACROSS THE SUN you meet Ahalya and her sister Sita who were saved, if you can call it saved, from the terrors of the tsunami that occurred in India.  Their entire family perished in the tsunami, and these two innocent girls were kidnapped, bought, and forced into a brothel in India. 

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Thomas Clarke, an attorney in Washington D.C., takes on a position in India to try to find and arrest the sex traffic offenders.

You will follow the horrors of a life these two girls and the other underage and legal-aged girls lead in these houses. You will feel their humiliation and helplessness.  The horrors of forced child prostitution are unthinkable, but it happens more than we want to believe…even in the United States. 

You will also see the wealthy side of Bombay, India, and feel the rush of everyday life and the unbelievable multitude of people. Ever-present poverty is never far away from the wealthy sections along with the red-light districts in the poorest towns with children hidden inside with no way out.

This book is not a police report...it is the story of Ahalya and Sita and the plight of these girls and other unfortunate girls around the globe.   Ahalya and Sita are the main characters the story is based upon.  The suspense and the fear you have for Sita, Ahalya, and the other "prisoners" of these traffickers is real.  There is also a love story weaved into the book which takes the reader from the United States to India.

The book is very well written,  as tastefully written as it can be, and will hold your interest in spite of the unpleasant subject matter.  It is eye opening to find out about corrupt police forces and the trafficking that is incredibly rampant.  It is also unbelievable that this trafficking can occur to such a great extent without its being discovered. 
The last few chapters of the book take a different direction in terms of plot.  The tense subject matter melts away and takes the reader on a more redeeming ride.  The book leaves you with a powerful message and with a sense of sorrow for society. 

My rating is an unequivocal 5/5.  Great research and wonderful storyline.