Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review -- In Such Good Company

This behind-the-scenes look at the eleven seasons of the Emmy Award-winning Carol Burnett Show is just a delight. It recalls so many fun characters, guests, skits and general hilarity, but it also shares some of what was going on in the background. Do you know how the show found its way on-air? That’s an interesting tale. Do you know how the main stars Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and Tim Conway ended up on the show? Read some lovely anecdotes about guest stars and friendships that lasted decades.

Part of the beauty of this book is you feel like you’re sitting chatting with Carol Burnett. Her voice is so authentic and you’re suddenly transported back to the fun of the show with all its laughter, music and even some characters who tugged at our heartstrings.

You’ll be glad you spent some time together with one of comedy’s most iconic stars and you’ll be In Such Good Company.

5 Stars

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review -- The Widower's Wife

The Widower's Wife
by Cate Holahan
Crooked Lane Books

When insurance investigator Ryan Monahan opens an investigation into the death of Ana Bacon, who fell overboard, disappearing into the ocean during a cruise in the Bahamas, he has no idea where it will lead. It’s his job to see if there is a way for his company to deny the ten-million-dollar claim, but his investigation takes him in a direction he never expected.

Ana and her husband Tom have had some problems in their marriage, as well as in their personal and professional lives. What secret is the widower Tom hiding? What secrets did Ana take over the side of the ship?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this thriller told from the alternating points of view of Ryan and Ana – investigator and victim. What I got was an addictive page-turner that I thoroughly enjoyed. Ms. Holahan tells a compelling story and writes so you feel like you’re right there with the characters. I’m looking forward to her next novel!

Five stars.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review -- Mata Hari's Last Dance

As she awaits her execution as a spy in Paris in 1917, Mata Hari tells a reporter the story of her life. She endured a tough existence, but the dancer known as Mata Hari is not the kind of person to give up. She finds her niche and makes her way in pre-WWI Europe. From humble beginnings to a challenging marriage to the pinnacle of notoriety in Paris, Berlin and Madrid, Mata Hari is never one to shrink from a challenge. While she is scandalous and the subject of much talk, while she sleeps with men across the Continent, she is also a vulnerable woman with many secrets.

Once again, talented author Michelle Moran takes a woman whose name is well known from history and brings her readers that woman’s story, mixing fiction and real life seamlessly. You will feel Mata Hari’s desperation and longing, her need to succeed and why, the pain of her final betrayal.

Don’t miss reading Mata Hari’s Last Dance, but don’t pick it up if you have to go to work tomorrow. You won’t want to stop reading.

5 Stars

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Review -- Live and Let Growl

Live and Let Growl
by Laurien Berenson

When Melanie Travis and her aunt Peg Turnbull set out for the Kentuckiana Cluster dog show, loyal fans know the trip will be adventure-filled. And author Laurien Berenson does not disappoint in this newest addition to the series.

It’s spring break, and Peg has been invited to judge Poodles at the show, so off to Kentucky they go, meeting some of the series regulars there – Bertie, Terry and Crawford, top handlers and friends, who are showing. While in Kentucky, Peg reconnects with Ellie Gates Wanamaker, with whom she’d showed thirty years earlier and who had retired from the breed ring after a mysterious event a decade ago. Melanie, enlisted to squire Miss Ellie around the show, is surprised by the varying reactions to the legend in the Poodle world – from warm welcome to dislike.

Ellie comes from a wealthy family deeply involved in the Thoroughbred industry as well, which comes in handy since Peg has just inherited a pregnant Thoroughbred broodmare. Peg and Melanie visit the mare and discover how much there is to learn about becoming a horse owner.

In typical Melanie fashion, she’s drawn into solving an unexpected murder…this one with lots of twists, turns, Thoroughbreds and terriers.

Don’t miss this new Melanie Travis adventure…horses are the icing on the dog-filled tale this time.

Five stars

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review -- Deception Island

Deception Island
Brynn Kelly
HQN Books

 When Holly Ryan is mistaken for American heiress, Laura, by kidnapper, Rafe Angelito, her life takes a turn for the worse. Well rewarded for body doubling for Laura, who is supposed to be sailing the world solo, Holly thinks she has a solid re-set for her life. But first she has to survive her kidnapping and encounter with some real-life pirates, out to collect a big payday. Little do they know Laura’s father isn’t about to lay out any money to save Holly.

When Rafe’s son is taken and used as a pawn to control this sexy legionnaire, he kidnaps former con artist, Holly. Then he realizes the real socialite isn’t who he is sharing a deserted island with, and he is devastated by what may happen to his son.

Two desperate people with secret pasts and current secrets come face to face with danger and neither may make it out alive.  Tossed together by circumstances and attracted to one another, can they beat the odds? Can they defeat ruthless pirates who want to take everything from them? Can they trust the love growing between them? Can they find a future or will they pay the ultimate price on Deception Island?

4 Stars

Monday, August 8, 2016

Review -- A Haven on Orchard Lane

A Haven on Orchard Lane
Lawana Blackwell
Bethany House Publishers 

When Charlotte Ward attempts a comeback on the London stage of the 1880s, she has more than one challenge to overcome. And not everything goes well, but her daughter Rosalind steps up and relocates her mother to a quiet coastal Port Stilwell. It means Rosalind must leave the teaching job she loves, but there are compensations, including getting to know the mother she believes abandoned her as a child.

As Charlotte and Rosalind heal their relationship and then begin reach out to others in need, their lives expand in joy, love and friendship.

The cast of characters is interesting, and you want to get to know them, cheering for them to find their way and to find love and build futures, although some choose not to take the steps needed to improve their lives.

This sweet novel of love, forgiveness and growth is a wonderful read.

5 stars

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Review -- The Semester of Our Discontent

The Semester of Our Discontent
A Lila Maclean Mystery
 Cynthia Kuhn
Henery Press

When newly minted English professor Lila Maclean keeps showing up at the scenes of crimes at Stonedale University, suspicion is cast her way…until her cousin and fellow professor is arrested for murder. Lila decides she has to find out what is going on, now that the police believe the case is solved. A second murder keeps Lila in the crosshairs of the detective looking for the second killer, until another professor is arrested.

Her investigation puts her in the path of danger and when she comes face-to-face with the killer, Lila may not live long enough to clear her colleagues, let alone work towards tenure at Stonedale.

Ms. Kuhn has written an impressive debut cozy mystery. Her descriptions of academia and the stress of aiming for tenure hit the mark. And her writing style draws in the reader to see, hear and experience life on a campus. I, for one, am eagerly anticipating the second installment of the Lila Maclean mystery series.

Five stars!