Monday, December 30, 2013

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos

UNDRESSING MR. DARCY is perfect for Jane Austen fans.

Mr. Darcy is on tour, and he finds his public relations expert, Vanessa, to be quite charming.  They begin to have feelings for each other, but it has to be hush, hush. Vanessa's sweet Aunt Ella is thrilled at what she sees happening with Vanessa and Mr. Darcy.  Aunt Ella has a surprise of her own to reveal as well.

I am really not a Jane Austen fan so I missed some of the inside jokes, but the book was entertaining and lighthearted.  If you are a Jane Austen fan, you will definitely enjoy UNDRESSING MR. DARCY.

There of course is love, a Jane Austen scavenger hunt, and a trip to Bath, England, for a Mr. Darcy festival where Julian is.  Will Vanessa be able to find Julian aka known as Mr. Darcy without any electronic connections among all these Regency-dressed folks?  She still couldn't believe he didn't use social media or

UNDRESSING MR. DARCY will take you on an entertaining journey from Chicago to England?  Will Vanessa and Julian become a couple?  Read UNDRESSING MR. DARCY to find out.  I do have to say that the ending was sweet.

My rating is 3/5 just because I normally don't read Jane Austen or this genre, but for any Jane Austen fan, UNDRESSING MR. DARCY will be a 5/5.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This Dark Road To Mercy by Wiley Cash


No mother, a deadbeat dad, a foster home, and then a kidnapping.

Easter and Ruby were placed in a foster home after their mother died since their father, Wade, had signed them away many years ago. But now he wanted them back. Wade was bad news all around.

Easter followed all the rules and Ruby followed whatever Easter said.  Both girls will steal your heart because of their innocence and sweet ways. Their father will make you worry. 

THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY is told in alternating voices with themes of a mystery to be solved, crimes that were  committed, crimes that were being committed, and family dynamics. The book starts out with the main theme being the girls left in a foster home but it heats up when Wade's deeds surface.

Mr. Cash has a smooth, absorbing, detailed style of writing that pulls you in. The suspense of the book begins when Wade decides to do something stupid...well many stupid things.

All of the characters have a lot of charisma that make THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY a book you don't want to put down. It tells the tale of families, life in a small town, the town's problems, and its police force.

I really enjoyed THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY which was filled with Southern-style emotion and suspense.  Don't miss reading this book.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Unravelled by M. K. Tod

A war, a woman, and memories plagued Edward for years and became more intense after he and his wife went back to France for a dedication ceremony for the company he was in during WWI.

UNRAVELLED goes back and forth from past to present revealing feelings, desires, and regrets. The characters are likable but not lovable. Edward does the unthinkable when he is in France and ruins his life as well as his wife's life.

UNRAVELLED is the perfect title for this book because of the war and the personal situations that cause people to become undone. You will share the pain of losing a family member or a friend to war or to infidelity and coping with the loss along with the characters. 

The author did a marvelous job researching both WWI and WWII and brought the characters' feelings in all situations masterfully to the surface. The war information dragged on a bit despite the themes of marriage and infidelity even though the wars and what they do to the survivors, the wounded, and families left with or without their loved ones was the main emphasis.

If you enjoy love and war which actually can't be separated, you will enjoy UNRAVELLED.  I honestly have to say it was good, but it also lacked some pizzazz - it seemed to run on an even keel without too much suspense.  I skimmed through some sections. 

UNRAVELLED was good, but needed to be a bit shorter and not as detailed with the war information.  If you enjoy detailed war strategies, though, you will definitely enjoy UNRAVELLED.   3.5/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the author and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wake by Anna Hope

Ada, Evelyn, and Hettie...three women all having their lives touched by WWI and all sharing the pain of loss.

Ada lost her son and still believes he is alive since there really wasn't any closure.  She thinks she sees him walking in the town on his way home, but he never does arrive home.

Evelyn works in the Pensions Exchange and must deal with maimed soldiers asking for more money or more help.  Her brother Ed becomes part of her job and an interesting part of another pensioner's life when the pensioner asks Evelyn to look for an Officer Montfort.  She tells him she can't look for him, and her brother denies knowing Rowan Hind, but obviously he does.

Hettie dances for six pence and has to give half of it to her mother and brother since her father has died and Fred can't work.

All three women need a change, but will they get the change they need in their lives? And…all three women have one person in common with their grief but don’t know it.

WAKE was a bit confusing to me.  I couldn't keep the characters straight and had to keep looking back as to which character was which because it kept jumping from one story to the next.  The Unknown Soldier part was confusing as well.

The gist of the book is that war changes everyone, but mainly the women left behind.  The characters were a bit unlikeable because of obsessions and not knowing what to do with their lives, but the author did develop them well enough that after a while you felt sorry for them.  

The descriptions of the characters and scenes was quite good and detailed as well. If the book had not been jumping from one scene and from one character to the other, it would have been much more appealing.  I did like WAKE despite all of this, but it took a while to get into the book.  I LOVED the cover...perfect for the era.

The historical fiction aspect was very well done, and the feelings of each character were easy to identify with.  The main feeling was that of despair and boredom with the situations these women were locked into in their daily lives.   

My rating is going to be a 3 1/2 out of 5.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gracianna by Trini Amador

Gracianna is a beautiful person and a beautiful story.  I guess we can't really call it a story, though, because it is the life of a determined, strong, hardworking, and well-loved woman.  The tribute her grandson gave to her in this book is wonderful.

Gracianna is an impressive woman and a woman who wanted to make something of herself and be proud of it for herself and her family.  Halfway was not good enough for Gracianna.  She had to do everything over and above.  I felt her knowingly doing everything correct so she could fulfill her dream of making it to America.

You will fall in love with Gracianna by the end of the first five pages.  You will also wonder what drove her besides her heritage.  If the story doesn't grab you, and I don't see how it won't, the cover definitely will have you intrigued.  The cover is what caught my eye to begin with.

Mr. Amador tells the story of his great grandmother very lovingly and with so much pride.  His pride oozes through his descriptions of her life and all the situations she endured.  I was fascinated at Gracianna's determination in good times and bad.  The bad of course being her living in Paris during the Nazi occupation. The Paris she grew to love and fight for through the horrors of the Nazi occupation.  There are some tense moments throughout the book, but that is expected for this time period in history.  You will definitely fear for Gracianna as she is helping the French resistance.

Everyone should read GRACIANNA for the pure beauty of how her story is told and how her life shows that anything is possible no matter how awful circumstances are. The most wonderful part of GRACIANNA is that Trini sends out his love that fills the pages and gives the reader a cozy feeling.

I thoroughly recommend GRACIANNA for the historical aspect as well as the wonderful descriptions and lessons taught.  Gracianna was a bit harsh on herself, but we all have a personality that was shaped in our childhood and Gracianna took her shaping to the highest point and made herself happy doing it.

You will want to read GRACIANNA so you can feel the power and the beauty of her story as well as feel her strength and determination.       5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tahoe Chase by Todd Borg

Owen McKenna is back again breaking hearts, breaking jaws, breaking rules, and solving murders.

Murders that were made to look like accidents were plaguing this ski town, and all the reasons for the murders were pointing back to one man, Joe, who was opposing the building of another ski resort.  Could this be the real reason or was it a diversion?

Why would someone want to hurt or kill anyone associated with Joe and especially his sweet wife?  Joe had no idea, and Owen was on the trail as one person after another kept being eliminated.  It wasn't an easy trail to follow even in ski country.

The characters are well developed as in Mr. Borg's other books, and most are likable and pleasant, especially Owen. The book also brought up domestic abuse and psychological issues along with the murders.  Every facet was very well researched.

The tension of the investigation isn't one that will have you chewing your fingernails, but I liked it that way.  It is a good mystery that will have you guessing until the end about who the murderer is. TAHOE CHASE has a good twist on who the murderer turns out to be.  I thought I definitely knew, but did not guess correctly.  I actually had two suspects in mind, and neither was correct.  :)

TAHOE CHASE was an easy, smooth read with skiing as a major theme.  If you are a skiing fan, you will be drooling over the details...they were phenomenal, but the skiing detail was a bit too much for me, though.  It actually was overwhelming in the sense that it wasn’t of interest.

I am going to rate this book a 4/5.  It is another good read by Mr. Borg. 

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

A rook was the beginning and the end for William Bellman.

Black was the color of the day for this book along with rooks, who according to the author never forget.

BELLMAN & BLACK was an unusual read with the premise of death, darkness, black birds (rooks), the color black, and black events...namely funerals and mourning goods.

William Bellman inherited a cloth mill and made it very successful, but when a deathly illness plagued and overran his town, he had another business in mind partnering with the mysterious man in a black cloak.

Who was the cloaked man who took all the light away at Will's mother's funeral?  Why was this man always around when there was a funeral?

Was this cloaked man and all the deaths in Will's family the result of Will's killing a rook when he was ten? Was this man with the black cloak Bellman's inspiration, success, or his downfall? Why were these rooks always hanging around?

BELLMAN & BLACK is a bit dark, but it still held my interest.  Ms. Setterfield has a way with words and dark themes, but despite holding my interest, BELLMAN & BLACK was a bit dragged out hearing about William's life and then his new-found wealth.  

I didn't seem to find the "ghost" in this ghost story until the very end.  The "ghost" was a subtle theme even though it was to be the main theme.  You will enjoy the wrapup in the ending pages....they were very unique.

Ms. Setterfield definitely did her research when it came to rooks.  The different names that a collection of rooks can be called
was quite interesting.

I am going to rate BELLMAN & BLACK a 3.5/5 even though Ms. Setterfield does draw you in with her excellent writing skills, her fantastic descriptions of scenes, her brilliance, and
her amazing creativity because something just seemed to be off the mark a bit in this novel.

If you like dark themes, and you don't mind being told every detail of someone's life, you will enjoy this book.  So please don't let me "frighten" you away from reading BELLMAN & BLACK.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Diane Setterfield became a literary cause célèbre when her first novel, The Thirteenth Tale, soared to the #1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list within its first week of publication. 

A haunting gothic mystery, the Washington Post summed up the novel’s appeal succinctly in the first sentence of its review: 

“If you are a Reader with a capital R, as is the narrator of Diane Setterfield’s debut novel, the pages of The Thirteenth Tale will remind you of what you know and love: the world of books.“   

Released to tremendous acclaim, the novel was called “a page turner in every sense of the word” (The Financial Times); “…eerie and fascinating and should delight lovers of books old and new” (USA Today); “a novel for book lovers” (Reader’s Digest); and People Magazine lauded: “Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the magical power of story.“



Now, seven years after her bold debut, Emily Bestler Books will publish BELLMAN & BLACK the much anticipated second novel by Diane Setterfield.  

“I have heard it said, by those that cannot possibly know, that in the final moments of a man’s existence he sees his whole life pass before his eyes.”  So begins a dark and mesmerizing tale guaranteed to haunt you to your very core… 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson

“We must never allow the world to forget." Page 179

That quote says it all, and Ben Solomon vowed to follow through on this edict, and he definitely was following through.

ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS is a powerful, well-researched first novel that will have you glued to the pages as Ben tells his story of hatred, horror, and the annihilation of his and other Jewish families during WWII.

Telling the story of the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Poland was stressful for the 83-year-old main character, Ben, but he had to tell it all, and Catherine, his attorney, wanted to be the one to help arrest Elliott/Otto.

Ben knew he knew Elliott Rosenzweig was not really Elliott Rosenzweig, but Otto Piatek, his brother turned Nazi during the war, and the person who was not accused of his horrific war crimes but living in the United States as a billionaire philanthropist.

ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS moves from present day to WWII in Poland as Ben Solomon tells how his family had to live and survive under Nazi occupation as a Jewish family.

ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS tells how Otto, a German boy, was left with the Solomon family, a Jewish family, because his mother couldn't take care of him.  Otto became part of the Jewish home and loved the Solomons like his own family until his mother showed up and insisted he join the Germans.

Mr. Balson did a fantastic job researching for his first book and detailing every scene.  ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS is a beautiful way to tell a horrible historical story.

You will feel as though you are inside the pages of the book and connecting with the characters both present and past. This book was amazing.

I am always in awe of the strength of the Europeans during this time period.  How did they survive and deal with all that was going on especially the Jewish population?

This compelling WWII book is one you will want to read.  It is perfectly relayed, phenomenal, and a part of history that again reveals what WWII was about.  I finished this book in ONE day, and that is unusual for me.

Don't miss reading ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS.  I definitely needed tissues a number of times and especially at the end and definitely when they told of the freeing of Buchenwald because my father was one of the Americans that freed this concentration camp. 

This book is given an unequivocal 5/5.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent

It's the Wild West with a prostitute and an inexperienced lawman running loose.

Lucinda Carter and Nate Cannon will take you on a ride through the 1870's as they try to make a new life for themselves.  They both wanted to start over, but they both ended up doing the same thing they always did.

Lucinda went from being a prostitute to being a teacher, and Nate is trying his hand at being a lawman to make a better life for his family.

Lucinda isn't an upstanding character, but her profession made her that way.  She stole money from her landlady who is also the owner of the brothel she escaped from.  Lucinda is only interested in herself and finding something that a friend told her was in the town she moved to.  Lucinda was difficult to like simply because you knew she wasn't on the up and up.

Nate is a good man trying to fit in even though he is a greenhorn.  I liked him because of his innocence and loyalty.

The book took a while for me to get interested because I wasn't sure where it was heading and how these two characters and their stories were connected.  Each chapter went back and forth between the two characters.  When you find out the connection between the two main characters, you will be surprised.

THE OUTCASTS became a bit better as you followed Lucinda around the classroom and back to her old ways and as you followed Nate around the countryside, but it still wasn't a wow.  It actually wasn’t a favorite read.

I do have to say, though, that the writing is very descriptive allowing you to clearly see the scenes and activities of both characters.

The cover definitely pulled me in, and I was hoping for a better-connected story, but I wasn't "dying" to get back to the book .

Give it a try, though, if you like the Wild West.  I am rating THE OUTCASTS 3/5.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher at a Hachette Book Event in New York City in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dollface by Renee Rosen


It's the Roaring 20's.

Prohibition, speakeasies, gangsters, the rich and the poor.  DOLLFACE portrays the life of those living in Chicago during this time.  No one was exempt from what was going on.

Vera Abramowitz worked in the typing pool of an insurance firm and also as a telephone operator to make ends meet, and she still made next to nothing.  She didn't want to do this for her entire life and then met Shep Green, a gangster.  She also met Tony Liolli who also was a gangster. She began dating both men, even though she knew she was playing with fire by dating both of them at the same time.

Despite the danger she was putting herself in, she couldn't help herself.  Tony was fun, Shep had power, and she didn't want to turn out like her mother....poor and still working in the slaughterhouse.  Then something happened and she found out who the "real" man was and who the "real" slacker was.

DOLLFACE is written in an easy style that grabs you as you want to learn more about this time period.  The characters are definitely authentic, and the activity at that time appears to be right on.

You will love following Vera from rags to riches and then through a rough time, but Vera was tough. You will be shocked at what she does as a woman in the 1920's as well as bite your fingernails as you see what risky things she gets herself into. Vera carries this fabulous story along even though it is difficult to like her or to agree with what she does.

I really enjoyed DOLLFACE.  The reality of events was terrific.  The author captured the perfect picture of this time period and did excellent research.

You will want to read this book if you are a fan of historical fiction and more specifically the 1920's. It was a great read. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Friday, November 1, 2013

THE LOST DUCHESS by Jenny Barden

Introducing Jenny Barden 
her book:




I am happy to have Jenny Barden on my blog today to tell us about her newest book.

It really sounds good.


Elizabeth, I'm immensely grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to say a few words about my forthcoming release, The Lost Duchess

I hope this novel will be of interest to your followers in the US since it concerns the mystery surrounding the ill-fated 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke and the attempt to found the very first permanent English colony in America. I'm delighted to offer a giveaway to anyone reading this who might like the chance of owning a first edition signed copy of the book in advance of almost everyone else in the States, since the book will be first published by Ebury Press (part of the Random House group) in the UK and elsewhere. To enter, simply leave a comment below, and I'll leave Elizabeth to announce the winner in a week's time. Here's what my publishers have to say about the novel:

An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.
Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan's rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep...

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; 'The Lost Duchess' explores what might have happened to the ill-starred 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke.

The book will be released on 7 November in hardback, as an ebook and trade paperback, with the mass market paperback to follow in the summer of next year.

I hope that this link will be of use to anyone in the US wanting a copy:

In researching this novel I travelled to Roanoke Island in North Carolina, the Outer Banks and all around the Pamlico Sound, to Puerto Rico and the sites of the Elizabethan palaces in London, England. This is where the story begins, in the Palace of Richmond that was razed to the ground after the English Civil War leaving only a few relics such as this Gate House dating back to 1501.

Sir Francis Drake returned in triumph here, following his raid on Santo Domingo in the Caribbean, bearing news of Sir Walter Raleigh's garrison left on Roanoke which Drake evacuated following a hurricane. Imagine passing through this gate to hear what he has to say...

The next expedition to Roanoke would carry ordinary men, women and children. They would be intent on founding an enduring community and remaining in the New World all their lives.

Their vision is now shared by almost everyone who lives in the USA today.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger

Murders, children coming back home, folks getting run off the road, revenge for a 20-year-old murder, and many unusual things happening in the bitter cold county of Tamarack in Northern Minnesota.

What was happening in this town that usually was a quiet place to be?  No one knew the answer, and the police had no clue either.  Even Cork, a retired deputy sheriff, was called in for the investigation that he was more involved with than he knew.

Cork O’Connor wasn't aware that his family would be involved and that part of his family was changing.  Cork is a character you would personally want as a friend. He is a great father as well as a dedicated law man.

TAMARACK COUNTY is the second book I have read by Mr. Krueger.  It is quite different from ORDINARY GRACE, but still beautifully detailed and written.

Mr. Krueger's characters are always an interesting lot.  I enjoyed learning about the Indian traditions and a few Indian words. The landscape descriptions were amazing, but I wouldn't want to live in that cold climate, though, which seemed to be a major theme.

TAMARACK COUNTY definitely kept my attention with a good storyline but a storyline that wasn't gripping until the last half of the book when things did heat up in those freezing temperatures as the mystery unraveled as well as the history of the characters.

The characters were well developed, authentic, and very plausible.  TAMARACK COUNTY is a book about community and family all working together for the good of each other.

TAMARACK COUNTY has religious and philosophical themes as subplots.

A quote from page 205 is quite meaningful and something I believe needs to be shared:

“Anger, hate, jealousy envy, fear.  Fill your pockets with these heavy stones and you spend your life trying not to drown.  Throw them away, and you float."

I hope you get to read this book.  It was thought provoking, introspective, and will hold your interest.  I enjoyed it. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Interview with Jac Wright


  Jac Wright
Welcome to Jac Wright 
author of 
The Reckless Engineer

Love is a Battlefield.
The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.
Jack Connor's idyllic life in the Portsmouth countryside with billionaire heiress wife Caitlin McAllen is shattered when alluring Michelle, with whom he is having an affair and who is pregnant with his child, is found dead and Jack is arrested for the murder.   Jeremy Stone brings a top London attorney to handle his best friend’s defense.

I haven't read this book, but it sounds very good.  

The excerpt above definitely is a great teaser.

Jac Wright is a published poet, published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England.  

Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Speech & Drama classes taken every Saturday for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years.  

A published poet, Jac's first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts.  You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.

1.  Who are your favorite mystery/suspense/thriller series characters?

The talented Mr. Ripley created by Patricia Highsmith. (What a unique character!)

Cormoran Strike created by J. K. Rowling. (You can’t help but like the big oaf even though he is a very cliché character. )

The Lincoln Lawyer, Micky Haller.  (Very colourful character.)

2.  Complete this sentence: "I am a mystery author/crime novelist/thriller writer and thus I am also..."

I am a mystery author/crime novelist/thriller writer and thus I am also a literary fiction writer, a poet, and an electronic engineer.

This is one aspect of the culture at Stanford when I was a student there, the idea that you need not be pigeonholed into just one area of talent.  You can be a “Renaissance man” who can excel at many things that are considered the opposites of each other.  This idea liberated me from my limited self-image and allowed me to start writing.

3.   What kinds of questions/feedback do you most enjoy (or least enjoy) receiving from readers?
Anything that is not too personal.  I like them to focus on the work than on me personally.

4.  Tell us something about your book that isn't mentioned in the publisher synopsis.

Jeremy Aiden Stone, my series lead in The Reckless Engineer, lives my dream life.  I also live it through him.


5.  Give us a summary of your book in a tweet (140 characters or less).

“Love is a battlefield. The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out into those in the lives of the lovers who will NOT take it lying down.”


6.  What is next for you?

I have two more stories half written: 

The Bank Job (Summerset Tales #2) 

Buy, Sell, Murder (The Reckless Engineer #2)

I have started the fifth, In Plain Sight, with just the plot and the main characters designed and only the first chapter written.  It is a stand-alone full-length book.

I should like to finish and publish all three next year.



It was my pleasure to feature  you on my blog today.

THE RECKLESS ENGINEER sounds terrific.


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Sweetest Hallelujah by Elaine Hussey


They lived on opposite sides of the tracks, Betty Jewel apparently on the wrong side and Cassie on the right side.  Betty Jewel had a secret that she kept for ten years.  A secret unknown to Cassie and that secret being their ultimate connection.

Betty Jewel was the mother of Billie and was dying of cancer.  Cassie was a reporter who found herself a widow and someone who became a part of Betty Jewel, Mama/Miss Queen, and Billie's life.  Billie was a precocious child and the center of the connection between Cassie and Billie's family.

When Billie accidentally found out her mother was dying from cancer because of her constant eavesdropping, she was determined to find her father so he could make her mother well.  Billie took a trip to Memphis alone to find her daddy.  This trip is what brought the secret out and what made Cassie want to help even more.  She wanted to be a friend to Mary Jewel even though it wasn't proper for a white person to be friends with anyone in the black community.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH had the "sweetest" characters.  Mama/Miss Queen was strict, but the sweetest ever.  She was portrayed so well, you could vividly see her as well as see through her. You will feel right at home with Mama/Miss Queen.  She had loving arms for you no matter what. The description of her pies and their aroma will have your mouth watering, but everything about her sent out warmth and love.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is set in the deep south when the Jim Crow Laws were still a major part of everyone's life.  THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is heartwarming as well as heartbreaking.

The author perfectly portrays this time in history along with the characters' feelings and fears. Every character was flawlessly portrayed from their expressions down to their clothing. The descriptions of the landscape, the houses, and even the weather was amazing.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is a story about friendship that breaks all boundaries and a story that you will not easily forget.

I truly enjoyed this book because of the bond between the women and the way the author carried it out so well.  You will be right there with the characters sharing their laughter and their pain.  Be sure to have some tissues on hand.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

The Mississippi River was home to Dixie Clay after she married her husband, Jesse. at the ripe old age of sixteen.  She really didn't know anything about what he did for a living, and she certainly didn't know he was a bootlegger.
THE TILTED WORLD is set in Mississippi during the flooding in the 1920's and has a very eccentric set of characters. There are bootleggers, revenuers trying to catch the bootleggers, women who are supporting their bootlegging husbands, and a baby who along with Dixie Clay are two of the main characters, and the characters that carry the storyline.

Dixie Clay and the baby will warm your heart, and Jesse will make you want to set him straight for how he treats Dixie Clay.  
Ingersoll and Ham are the revenuers who have out-of-the ordinary backgrounds...especially Ingersoll.  Ingersoll’s background tells his story in flashbacks.  His background made him the “sweet” man Dixie Clay became ‘sweet” on. 
Franklin and Fennelly are master storytellers, and their detail is incredible.  You will easily feel the river rising, the steels bubbling, the energy in the speakeasies, and the life that was lead in Mississippi at this time.  The writing is smooth and easy and will pull you in just as the river does as the story unfolds.

The book is definitely character driven and quite easy to become involved with the characters whether they are upstanding or not.  There actually aren't too many upstanding characters, but I really enjoyed THE TILTED WORLD once it got on its way.

I didn't know what to expect at first, but THE TILTED WORLD is quite appealing because of the characters and the amazing writing.  You will also find out the meaning of the title.

The ending will have you on the edge of your seat, but it will also have you smiling.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

A child herself, unwed, a baby, no mother, not attending school, working at a sewing factory, an abusive father, and no place to go.  How much more could Emmalee take?

Emmalee Bullard quit school because her father told her he was tired of taking care of her, and she needed to get a job.  She fortunately was hired at the town's sewing factory and met a wonderful woman, Leona, who treated her like family, but then that didn't work out either for Emmalee.

Emmalee had to make a funeral dress for Leona not long after Leona was going to help her.  Emmalee's heart was broken, and yours will break for her as she suffers yet another loss in her life.

You will fall in love with Emmalee, feel her pain, and want to hug her and take care of her.  You will want to take her away from all of this. 

THE FUNERAL DRESS is about loving someone and wanting to remember them the best way you can.  It is about caring for others even if they aren't family. It is about the bond women have for each other.  Every part of THE FUNERAL DRESS is simply lovely even though it is sad.

Ms. Gilmore's writing style is easy and beautiful.  You will be right there with the characters enjoying their time together as well as being there as they help each other through unhappy times.

This is the first book I have read by this author.  It left me with a deep sentiment about the unspoken bonds women have and also with a better understanding of the plight of many women right in our midst.

THE FUNERAL DRESS will leave you with a lingering warmth and concern for the characters as you close the cover.   Make sure THE FUNERAL DRESS is part of your "must read" list.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.