#BookReview: “City of Ladies” by Sarah Kennedy

City of Ladies.jpg

Summary:

It’s midwinter in 1539, and former nun, Catherine Havens Overton, has just given birth to her second child, a daughter. The convent in which she was raised is now part of her husband’s lands, lands that once belonged to Catherine’s family. With a son, Robert, and her new daughter, Veronica, her life as the mistress of a great household should be complete. But Henry VIII’s England has not been kind to many of the evicted members of religious houses. And in order to protect her old companions from the hostilities, Catherine has gathered about her a group of former nuns in hopes of providing them a chance to serve in the village of Havenston, her City of Ladies. Catherine’s past haunts her. Her husband begins to suspect that Robert is not his child. Then the women of Overton House begin to disappear and one of them is found brutally murdered nearby. Seizing the moment, under the pretense of ensuring her safety, William forces Catherine to enter service at Hatfield House where the young Elizabeth Tudor lives. Reluctantly, Catherine obeys, only to find herself serving not only the Protestant Elizabeth but also the shamed Catholic Mary Tudor. As the murders in Yorkshire continue to mount and her loyalty to the Tudor sisters grows more complicated, Catherine must uncover the secret of the killer and save her City of Ladies.

Review:

I loved this cover. It looks fabulous on my book shelf.

This was my second book by Sarah Kennedy, and it is book two in the “Cross and The Crown” Series. When I finished I was looking forward to getting to the third book. This is a series that I will never forget and they stand out as originals, as I never read books about this time in history. Sarah Kennedy writes such knowledge of historical facts that you feel like she was right there, walking among the women.

The book “City of Ladies”, is about the women from her first book. It is 1539, and Catherine Havens Overton gathers the women that she lived with in the Convent with her when they were removed by the king’s men. She has them all working at the Overton House, to have them remain together.

But, the women start disappearing. They are being murdered. Catherine is determined to find the killer and save the women in her “City of Ladies”

This book is an amazing tale of mystery and intrigue. You will be spellbound.

5 Stars

 

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#BookReview: “The Altarpiece” by Sarah Kennedy

The AlterpieceSummary:

It is 1535, and in the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, the religious houses of England are being seized by force.

Twenty-year-old Catherine Havens is a foundling and the adopted daughter of the prioress of the Priory of Mount Grace in a small Yorkshire village. Catherine, like her adoptive mother, has a gift for healing, and she is widely sought and admired for her knowledge.

Catherine’s hopes for a place at court have been dashed by the king’s divorce, and she has reluctantly taken the veil. When the priory’s costly altarpiece goes missing, Catherine and her friend Ann Smith find themselves under increased suspicion. King Henry VIII’s soldiers have not had their fill of destruction, and when they return to Mount Grace to destroy the priory, Catherine must choose between the sacred calling of her past and the man who may represent her country’s future.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love historical fictions, and this book delivers!! It is 1535 in Tudor England and King Henry VIII is creating the Church of England and his soldiers are overtaking the Catholic Churches, and Catherine Havens is hiding all of the important papers and other items that she does not want to be taken from Mount Grace (the Convent that she is raised in). This scavenging is how we are introduced to this story…and, it is exciting from the first page!

An altarpiece is missing, but there is much more to this story, than the Madonna and the baby statue…

Not only does Sarah Kennedy know her history, she also creates a story that will stay with you. I was in awe of Catherine and her dignity, and honor. She is a woman that believes in herbal remedies, and does not want to be taken for a witch. In these times, to have those beliefs is very difficult and Catherine tries to hold her secrets in.

Will she be able to?

Will the Altarpiece be found? And, will there be a personal cost?

Sarah Kennedy is a talented writer, and I am excited to read the other two books in this Cross and Crown Series.

4 Stars.

 

 

#BookReview: “The Magic Phone” by Gary Welch

The Magic Phone

Summary:

The Magic Phone is a story of a young girl “Abigail” who lives in a quaint little town on the south shore of Long Island. She’s given a phone with powers that you’ve never imagined from a device that so many of us use everyday. This story will take you on a journey that has many subjects that children, teens, and adults will find very exciting. The novel includes adventure, fantasy, historical events, humor, mystery, science fiction, and suspense. The Magic Phone will take Abigail and you through time, both in the past and the future. The Magic Phone gives you the power to teleport anywhere around the world, defy physics as we know it, allowing her to fly, move, lift, or throw objects that weigh thousands of pounds, manipulate the weather, heal the sick, and so much more. Take an amazing journey with Abigail, the adventures are endless with the magic phone.

Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“The Magic Phone” is the first book that I have reviewed that is recommended for children ages 8-12, and I have to say that it was a truly entertaining and ingenious romp!

I had fun reading about ten-year-old Abby and her family! I trust that any child would enjoy this story. I have asked my niece, Sarah to review it…So, we will be back to post that review once she finishes.

Gary Welch writes with true inspiration and creativity! I am in awe that this book was inspired by a dream that his daughter had.

I was really into the story as Abby learned how to use the phone, and what she decided to use it for.  Pete, the inventor of the phone was too cool! And, the adventures were wonderful!

I recommend this book to anyone that has a young reader in their life. I have loved reading since I was a child, so I know that I would have liked to have had this book on my book shelf back then.

I look forward to more books by Gary Welch!!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: “Life and Other Near Death Experiences” by Camille Pagan

A Must Read ~ Life and other near death experiences

Summary:

Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist—but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her.

With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah. Despite her new sunny locale, her plans go awry when she finds that she can’t quite outrun the past or bring herself to face an unknowable future. Every day of tropical bliss may be an invitation to disaster, but with her twin brother on her trail and a new relationship on the horizon, Libby is determined to forget about fate. Will she risk it all to live—and love—a little longer?

From critically acclaimed author Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman choosing between a “perfect” life and actually living.

Review:

Camille Pagan delivers another brilliant novel. When faced with death, how would you react? Libby Miller finds out she has cancer, and in the words of her twin brother Paul, “There is healthy denial and then there’s ‘Libbyland’”.

The same day that Dr. Sander’s tells Libby she has a rare form of cancer, she goes home to find out that her husband of about 20 years has a secret all his own, that may mean the death of their marriage. With both of these bits of news, Libby is certainly in “Libbyland”.

What is Libby to do? Quit her job, put her home up for sale, and run off to a town in Puerto Rico that her parents loved?

This adventure begins when she is flying to Viegues, Puerto Rico…and she meets a man name Shiloh. She is going to spend one month in a rental property on the land of a woman named, Milagros. These two people will change her life as she knows it.

Her brother, Paul is going to find her and figure out why she has ran away. He is not one to give up on his twin sister.

While she is ready to “March into the great beyond” and not seek treatment for her cancer, she learns more about life than she had ever realized.

The question is: Will she realize that she wants to live, before it is too late?

I was enamored with this story from the beginning, right through to the end. Camille has a way of drawing you in to her stories, and making you feel like you are reading about someone you know and care for.

This story will make you think about the choices you make each day regarding your life.

5 Stars.

#SPOTLIGHT & #BOOKREVIEW: “The Other Wife” by Kathleen Irene Paterka

This is a MUST-READ Novel…Check back Friday for Kathleen’s interview and Giveaway…The winner will be able to choose ONE Of her books to be sent to them 🙂 GREAT GIVEAWAY…I highly recommend this one:

The Other WifeSUMMARY:

Till death do us part…

Eleanor Anderson has a beautiful home, a loving husband, a tranquil life. After thirty-eight years of marriage and her children now grown, she finally has time for herself. She’s not expecting any surprises; certainly not to wake up one morning and find her husband dead in bed beside her from a massive heart attack. It’s a devastating discovery… but not as much as the shock awaiting Eleanor when she learns the truth about her husband’s secret life. And then there’s the damaging document he signed before his death, which threatens to destroy her life.

Claire Anderson isn’t your average thirtysomething. A professor of psychology at a prestigious university, Claire has a successful career, a handsome husband, and two young children at home. But nothing in her background, including her academic accomplishments, prepares Claire for the horrendous reality of discovering that the life she’d led was all a lie… fostered by a husband who’d promised to love and cherish her forever.

Two women from two generations, bound together by denial, anger, and grief. How far will their misery and fear push them? Does compassion rule the day, or will a husband’s betrayal lead to a woman’s revenge?

What happens when each of these women comes face-to-face with the other wife?

This Women’s Fiction Family Life novel deals with women’s fiction romance, as well as women’s fiction adult issues.

My Review:

Kathleen Irene Paterka is a brilliant writer.  Her use of the English language is brilliant.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, not only because of the storyline, but because Paterka told it so beautifully.
I don’t know which is worse, finding your husband has died of a massive heart attack next to you in bed, finding out that your husband left all of his Life Insurance money to another woman, OR that the woman is also his wife.
Eleanor was married to Richard Anderson for 38 years, they have two adult children together, a home….a life.  Richard let on that his work took him overseas to the Middle East, when in fact he was just going a few towns over to be with his other wife and family.  Four years before his death, he married Claire Anderson, and they had two toddler age children together.
This is the story of them finding out about one another and how they deal with the fall out of this information about the man they both loved.
Brilliant!!!!  You will not be able to choose a side.

5 Stars.

#BOOKREVIEW: “French Twist” by Glynis Astie

French TwistSUMMARY:

Sydney Bennett had spent her life in pursuit of perfection. She planned, weighed her options and made careful choices based on calculated outcomes. Through all of her efforts, she had come pretty close to perfection, if she didn’t say so herself. She had fled the cold winters in New York for sunny California, found a job that she loved and lived in the same town as her sister, and best friend, Kate. The one area of perfection that had always eluded her was her love life. No matter how hard she tried, she always ended up with a broken heart. After a particularly traumatic breakup, Sydney vowed that she was done with love.

Just as Sydney threw herself into her new plan to forget about men, a handsome Frenchman tossed all of her intentions out the window as he swept her off of her feet. Louis Durand had lived a life filled with excitement and adventure. He was impetuous, intelligent and incredibly charming. So naturally, he scared Sydney half to death. From the moment they met, Louis and Sydney’s romance progressed at warp speed. Sydney did her best not to run, but her deep rooted relationship anxiety threatened to provide an easy exit. When Louis mentioned marriage before Sydney even knew his favorite color, she was more than tempted to reach for her running shoes. Will she be able to put her fears aside to follow her heart? The one thing that Sydney will learn is that sometimes perfection comes with a twist…

REVIEW:

This is a definitely a TOP NOTCH CHICK LIT novel! Glynis Astie introduces us to Sydney Bennett. I fell in love with this character. She is 27 years old, working hard, and very close to her sister, Kate. I loved knowing that this story is based on Glynis’ love story with her French husband. Knowing that it really worked out, was super cool!

At the beginning of the book, Sydney is giving up on love because her last boyfriend left with a broken heart. Then she meets, Louis Durand and everything changes. Their romance was coming to life super-fast, and it was so much fun to read about. They are going a little too fast for Sydney’s liking. But, I think their love had a life of its own.

Sydney’s life is going well in all areas but her love life. Will Louis change that?

I cannot wait to read the second book in this series, “French Toast”

5 Stars.

Be Sure to check out my interview with Glynis Astie, posted this past Friday! She is too fun!

#BookReview ~ “Ever After” by Rachel Lacey

Ever AfterSUMMARY:

CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Olivia Bennett is not having a happy birthday. Instead of blowing out her twenty-nine candles, she’s stuck in jail, caught red-handed in a graffiti incident that (perhaps) involved one too many strawberry margaritas. Worst idea ever. The only bright side is that she ended up in the strong arms of the most gorgeous lawman she’s ever seen.

Pete Sampson (aka Deputy Hot Stuff) faces intense pressure from the sheriff to find out who’s behind a string of vandalisms. And after her spray-painting spree, Olivia is suspect number one. Still, Pete can’t stop thinking about her. Wanting her. Now he’s torn between his duty and his overpowering desire for the vivacious waitress. But he may have to bend the rules because true love is more important than the letter of the law . . .

REVIEW:

Endearing Romance! I loved the characters!! I loved the animals!! This story was so much fun!

We meet Olivia Bennett on her 29th Birthday. After her night out celebrating, she is caught red-handed spray-painting the side of the building of a local chicken farm…sending a message about their mistreatment of animals. She is an Animal Activist on a mission! She is arrested, and spends the night in jail. Deputy Pete Sampson was the arresting officer, and he is very handsome. They crush on each other right away…their chemistry was electric.

This is the story of their romance. I cannot tell you more, as you will enjoy the story more with this tid-bit of information.

This is the beginning of a wonderful adventure between Olivia and Pete. Olivia’s passion for animals and their humane treatment is awe-inspiring. She is a force to be reckoned with…and, Pete knows this…yet, he cannot stop thinking about her. Olivia thinks of him often, too.

Olivia was so sassy, with Pete being more reserved. I think this is what made them great for one another.

This story is told so well, with both their love for one another blossoming and their love of animals being front and center. They are both in a place where they are figuring out their next step in life.

Pete rescues a dog….Olivia rescues a cat….Can they rescue one another??

4 Stars.

#BookReview: “Jay Walking” by Tracy Krimmer

Jay WalkingSummary:

Chelsea Wyatt, a single mom trying to build a life for her and her son, is sick of the body she sees in the mirror. A daily diet of Cookie Crisp cereal is not doing wonders for her mood or her figure, and it’s time for a change. Setting out to get fit, she commits herself to a daily walking plan, forcing herself to give up her all-sugar and carb diet, a difficult task at her donut obsessed job.

But her plan goes sideways when a stumble on the ice puts her in the arms of Jay, an attractive young man out on a run. They grab coffee together, and Chelsea finds herself thinking about him long after their short meeting. The thought of dating again hadn’t crossed her mind in years, and she doesn’t even know if Jay is available, or if he would be interested in her despite her unfit body.

Just when she has a handle on her new routine, her past catches up with her, throwing her blossoming relationship with Jay and the rest of her life into chaos. Can Chelsea hold onto the people she loves most, or will a wrong turn set her up for failure?

This is book 2 of the Pastime Pursuits series, and can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Review:

I recently read/reviewed Tracy Krimmer’s novel, “Caching In”. So, I was very excited to be able to move on quickly to the next story in her “Pastime Pursuits” Series. I am sure you will feel the same way.

In “Caching In”, we are introduced to Chelsea Wyatt. She is not the most likable character, as she was dating a man in another relationship…and, she was the other woman. But, I LOVED HER! She was very real. In “Caching In”, we find out that Chelsea is pregnant.  Although, “Jay Walking” could definitely be a standalone novel.

This story is all about Chelsea. She is raising her son James on her own. When the story begins, Chelsea decides that she is not happy with her body, and she is going to walk off the pounds.

While out for a walk, she literally falls in to the arms of Jay. Hence the wonderfully appropriate name for this novel. (I love Tracy’s covers and titles)

Jay is a doctor and has a ton of awesome qualities, so it was hard for Chelsea not to fall for him. But, is there even the possibility of a relationship there?

Tracy Krimmer can certainly deliver great chick lit stories. I highly recommend her books.

(Tracy also inspires you to want to get up an exercise…great “side effect” LOL)

4 Stars.

#BookReview: “Caching In” by Tracy Krimmer

Caching InSummary:

Can a compass lead you to love?

Broken-hearted Ally Couper has had enough with her ridiculous life. Her job at the bank is going nowhere, and her love life might as well be non-existent.

Determined to try something new, Ally becomes absorbed in the world of geocaching. The high-tech driven scavenger hunt introduces her to Seth, and she realizes the game isn’t the only thrilling part.

Ally’s bad luck may finally be changing, until the past threatens to halt her future with Seth. Can they find happiness together, or is love the one cache Ally can’t find?

Review:

You gotta love a book that makes you investigate a new hobby! Geocaching is something I knew my brother had enjoyed. After finishing this book, I had to ask my brother about his Geocaching experience and he said, “Yes it was fun, was a great reason to go walk around state parks and not just walk but have an adventure while walking.” Geocaching is like a treasure hunt…People leave “caches” in various locations (like parks) , and you are to go and “hunt” for it.

Tracy Krimmer writes a truly delightful story. It was a fun read, the kind you look forward to getting back to when you have to step away.

We meet Ally Couper (not to be confused with Ally McBeal..lol). She and her fiancé had broken up 8 months ago due to his philandering ways. She had what seemed like a dead end job as a Bank Teller, and was just going through the motions of life. Until she goes on her first Geocaching hunt, and meets Seth.  She is immediately attracted to him….they go out on a first date…which may be their last.

I fell in love with her best friend, Chelsea.  I am sure a lot of people don’t care much for her, as she is dating a man that already has a girlfriend..so, she is the “other woman”. She was in this relationship for about two years.  Ally hated that she was dating him. It had to be hard on her, being that her fiancé was found cheating on her.

I did have a hard time wrapping my head around their friendship, as it seemed to be fueled with a lot of resentment..but I realized by the end of the book, that most friendships go through these stages.

This story had a lot of intriguing story lines, and I was immersed in it from page one.

If you want a fun, quick witted, chick lit read… This is a Must!!

I am already reading book two in this series, “Jay Walking”…and loving it!

I am so happy I met Tracy Krimmer along the way….Her books are a delight!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: “Faithfully Yours” by Peggy Frezon

Faithfully YoursWith inspiring stories of devotion, protection, healing, compassion, and faith, Faithfully Yours explores why we love animals so much. You will meet:

• A schnauzer that rescued his owner after a devastating lighting strike.
• A 40-foot whale that shocked her rescuers when she helped to save a baby whale trapped in a fishing net.
• A miniature horse that guides a blind teacher.
• A cat that comforts stressed-out college students. As well as people who love animals in extraordinary ways:
• The dog trainer who transformed an unwanted shelter dog into a Broadway star.
• The man who became a voice for the humane treatment of farm animals.
• The woman who gave up everything to help street dogs and, in turn, learned lessons of trust and love.
Faithfully Yours will warm your heart and enhance your appreciation of God’s wonderful creation. For anyone who’s ever loved, and known the love of, a special animal.

Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was original in that I have never read a book about the relationships between animals and humans. Or, between the animal kingdom.  And, this book was simply beautiful. The prose was very engaging.

I really enjoyed every single story.  It was nice, because you could choose to read a small chapter each night…but, I read it fast because I did not want to put it down. I loved reading about all of the bonds, it was very captivating.

When I finished reading it, I put the book down and went to spend time with my beloved dog and cats.  Our bond is amazing, and this story was a beautiful reminder!

And, started a list of who to buy this book for! I loved the poetry, and the prayers and bible verses woven in to this book. If anyone has a pet, or has ever had one…READ THIS! This book is also a great gift for any of the animal lovers in your life.

5 Stars.