Posted in book review

Betrayal of Thieves

Legends of Dimmingwood, #2

C. Greenwood

Self-Pub, Dec 2012

Kindle, 181 Pages

Also available in paperback, audiobook

Genre(s) dystopian fantasy

Source purchased

Other books in this series

Magic of Thieves #1, Circle of Thieves #3, Redemption of Thieves#4, Journey of Thieves #5, Rule of Thieves #6

My Disclaimer:

I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

What it’s about…

Following the Fists’ raid on the band’s hideout, Ilan returns to collect her hidden stash and runs into Terrac. Terrac is there to say goodbye to Ilan. He’s finally going to continue on to become a priest as was intended before he was captured by the band. Their goodbye is interrupted by the Fists and they make a run for it.

Terrac isn’t as quick as Ilan and ends up badly wounded and taken by the Fists. Ilan has to run. She meets up with a thief named Fleet and she gets to see the underside of the Praetor’s city and meet some of its less savory residents.

Ilan and Fleet set off to locate the priest, Hadrian, with the River folk to get his help because Ilan has decided she has to rescue Terrac from the Praetor’s prison. She can’t leave him suffering in the hands of the Fists.

Ilan is a girl with big, natural magic in a man’s world that has banned magic and destroys those who have it. And somehow she is tied to the Praetor himself, something her parents never told her, something hidden.

Technical Tidbits…

The cover is done by Michael Gauss for the whole series. They are magical! Absolutely wonderful! They catch your eye, they hold your attention. They relate to the story. They are beautiful artwork. C. Greenwood has chosen very well with these covers.

The storyline was ambitious but didn’t seem to quite work out. It sort of fell apart at the end.

The characters have been developing since the first book and will continue through the whole series, I’m sure. Fleet was new and developed very quickly. He became a full-blown character in just a couple of chapters. Ms. Greenwood has a magical touch with characters.

The pace was a bit uneven, fast and frantic for awhile and then just sort of stop and totally idle.

The tension was not maintained throughout the book because the pace kept changing and you’d wonder what was going on and the story would seem to wander off a bit.

And this is where you STOP if you don’t want to see any SPOILERS

The good, the bad, and the ugly…and how much it lit up my life… ✰✰✰

I had to put this book down and read something else to clear my mind. This is only 181 pages, but for some reason, it seemed to go on and on. I think this series would have been better done as just a couple of larger books and just tighten some things up. This doesn’t feel like it should have been a book. It feels like a section of a book that’s been stretched to be a book.

The storyline was meant to be a grand quest of rescuing Terrac from the Fists’ prison, but he didn’t need rescuing. He was wearing fine clothes and riding around with the Praetor’s hunting party and training with the Fists themselves. No grand quest. It was a dud.

This whole book is held together by the characters. Ilan, Terrac, Fleet, Hadrian, and the Praeter are the anchors and the story just sort of bounces off them. The overarching story is the real grand quest and deserves to be done as a duology or trilogy so that it can be handled in depth and detail. Stretching it to these six short books has diluted it and distracted from the actual story. I intend to read the whole series of six books because I want to read the whole story, but I would have preferred to do it in fewer, richer books. It is available in a set of the six books, and if you decide to read it I suggest buying it this way and going through the whole thing as one story.

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Posted in Announcement

Limabean Designs

Limabean Designs now has a Premade Cover Group. Beautifully designed premades in all different genres. Seasonal sales are offered. If you are in need of a cover, look no further! All covers made with love! Send a request to be added to the group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Limabeanpremade/

10.13.17

Posted in book review

Aquavit

Aquamarine Sea, #1

Karen Stensgaard

Sandefur Metz Publishing Company, May 2017

Kindle, 285 Pages

Also available in paperback

Genre(s) Women’s Lit, Debut Novel

Source Author

My Disclaimer:

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

What it’s about…

Kat has been widowed for about a year now. She’s just closed down her internal audit business and isn’t quite ready to move into a new field. She gets the idea from a picture on a bottle of Aquavit to take a cruise on a vintage clipper ship. In the process, she seems to be attracting men that she’s not sure are right for her. Which man might be right for her and wait until her cruise is done? The cruise certainly seems to be very authentic. She has to have a wardrobe appropriate to the time of clipper ships and can’t take any technology with her. How intriguing.

Technical Tidbits…

The cover is certainly colorful enough to catch the eye and has the bottle of Aquavit on it with the picture of the clipper ship. However, the overall look of the cover was just too garish to me. The mosaic background didn’t create the right background for the bottle. The bottle just got lost in all that color and wasn’t the focus. Something a bit quieter would have been better, I think.

The storyline was pretty good, but it’s obviously only part of the story. Those of you who have read me for any time now know how I feel about stories that rely on more than one book to tell a story. For those of you who are new to my blog, I’ll enlighten you. I feel a book should contain a complete story. It may be part of a larger story or a series, but you should not have to buy more than one book to get a story. I don’t like cliffhangers or limp closings in books. I don’t mind having questions when there is a continuing story as long as the book I’m reading has an ending to it. It needs to be the logical stopping point in a larger story if it’s not a story all its own.

The characters needed more developing, but I suppose that will happen over time with the next book.

The pace was good. Kat is one of those characters that things just keep happening around and who doesn’t sit still for long. She moved on from one thing to another and didn’t let the dust settle.

The tension was amazing. I remember when I got to the last page I let out my breath, not realizing I’d been holding it. I had to let the tension go! But a cliffhanger, Ggrrrrhhh…

And this is where you STOP if you don’t want to see any SPOILERS

The good, the bad, and the ugly…and how much it lit up my life… ✰✰✰⭒

I’m sure you can guess what my big beef is with this book. I just can’t stand it when a book ends on an extremely stressful cliffhanger. I don’t know what the author has planned for this book, but this is the type of thing I’m used to seeing from self-published authors. Not from publishing houses. But since the author is the publishing house, I guess that really makes this a self-published work and that changes things. There really does tend to be a different tone to books that are published by publishing houses as compared to those that are self-published. That’s not to take anything away from self-published authors. I really support them and am always happy to read and review their books. And I do love them! I do, however, find a difference in what I read because of editors and such.

Now, back to the book. The three men in Kat’s life were great. I thought they were a really nice assortment. Greg and his snap changes of personality. Charlie and his possible ulterior motives, and Matteo and his possible outside interests. They were all nice enough to be possibilities, but then they all had their faults as well. I really didn’t like Greg from the beginning because of his age. The other two were okay until I found out about Matteo’s little secret. Then when Kat finally manages to get to Denmark to see her brother-in-law and his unwelcoming wife, she gets told her husband had been planning on leaving her when he died. How could that be? And because she didn’t need him anymore? Strange idea. Interesting thoughts to have in your head when you set off on a clipper ship journey all by yourself.

I’m intrigued with this clipper ship business. They have asked all sorts of questions. They have made all sorts of rules about what she can and cannot take. She has to have clothing that is authentic to the clipper ship time. She can’t take anything from modern times with her. They pack it up and take it away! Even underwear! It makes you wonder just what is going to happen on this cruise. And she has just met three men. Is she really going to leave behind three new men while she sails off for months all alone?

I have no idea when the next book is due out, but it should be interesting to see what happens and how many books this story is intended to last for. The author’s profile says she has more books with Kat’s adventures underway, so let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next installment.

Posted in Reblogged

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

This sounds like a really great read!

The Loud Library Lady

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
(Knopf BFYR ~ October 17, 2017)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More than deserving of its National Book Award Finalist status, this novel is a stunning story of heritage, family and growing up.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy of this title.

Book Description

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way…

View original post 283 more words

Posted in Reblogged

Hocus Pocus Book Tag

This is one that is totally seasonal and looks rather fun! Try it and see if you can come up with all the right books!

Thrice Read

I don’t know if you guys know this but fall, specifically October, is my favorite time of year. I love spooky things. I think I’ve driven Eden and Caitlynn crazy by requesting to go to haunted houses every weekend. I’m also on a big horror film kick right now. One of my favorite Halloween movies is Hocus Pocus so I couldn’t just scroll past this post that I saw on Alex’s Blog

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1.) The Sanderson sisters a great trilogy:

The first trilogy that came to mind is the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. This trilogy was the perfect length and I loved the characters. I wish I would have liked her other series as much.

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2.) Winifred Sanderson a book with a truly evil female villain:

Nashira Sargas from The Bone Season. No matter what way you look at her you can’t help but hate her. She is evil…

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Posted in book review

Gone With the Wings

Meera Patel, Book #1

Leena Clover

Self-Pub, Jun 2017

Kindle, 243 Pages

Also available in paperback

Genre(s) Asian-American Cozy Mystery/Food

Source Author’s Rep

Other books in this series

A Pocket Full of Pie #2, For a Few Dumplings More #3, Back to the Fajitas #4

My Disclaimer:

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

What it’s about…

Meera Patel is an Asian-American woman who has dropped out of grad school and now works at the local university library shelving books and telling students where to go. Yeah…

Meera’s father is a highly regarded professor at this university and has an assistant that Meera absolutely can’t get along with. The two young women have been enemies since they were young children. They even have trouble being polite to one another.

So when the assistant is found floating in a pond, Meera is the logical suspect. Even some of her friends and family look at her strangely. Then she is accused of a second crime and has no defense.

Meera’s best friend, Tony, runs the gas station in town. He and Meera start trying to work out who really did it and if the two crimes are related so the police will stop harassing Meera.

Technical Tidbits…

The cover is rather delightful with its folk art painting look. The lovely medium teal blue with the fall colors against it really makes a lovely eye-catching color scheme. And the style of the artwork is charming. High marks for the cover!

The storyline was rather good. It’s one I’m sure we’ve all read in any number of books and seen in movies. But Ms. Clover has added some aspects to distract from that.

The characters, for instance, were highly attractive and diverse given their culture and the fact that they still participated in the many aspects and festivals of their culture. They wore the costumes and used the many props of their culture without embarrassment or stigma. They kept the richness of their cultural activities alive through the celebration of their holidays, clothing, and food. Particularly their food.

The pace was brisk and kept your attention on what was happening or might be coming up next. It seemed that there was always something going on. Usually another meal. The tension wasn’t significantly helped by all the things that went on. Some things simply happened and really didn’t seem to move the story along in any way. It was a side activity.

And this is where you STOP if you don’t want to see any SPOILERS

The good, the bad, and the ugly…and how much it lit up my life… ✰✰✰✰

I obviously don’t like food anywhere near as much as the author does. It seemed like any time Meera stopped to breathe in the book, she had to eat. Whether she cooked the food or someone else provided the food. And we were treated to a full description of every item she ate. If she cooked it, we were given the whole list of ingredients and had to cook with her. They even talked about food a lot. It got to a point that I started skipping those parts. I hope I didn’t miss anything important.

I did like the way Ms. Clover defined the relationship between Meera and Tony. They obviously had been friends since they were children and have remained close. They are just waiting for the right time to take their relationship over the line to make it more than a friendship. It was only mentioned once, but it set the tone for how they interacted with each other and others.

I’m not convinced of the believability of the conclusion. It just didn’t seem feasible to me. Two schools, two states, two countries. Just too disparate for me. Just my opinion.

A question for the future series…

Who was the woman in the rental car who picked up the missing girl and was she the same woman who followed Tony and Meera to Wichita? Could it be she’s finally fallen out of the tornado? I know that’s more than one question, but it’s all tied together as you’ll see once you read the book.

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Posted in book review

Rebound

Fleet Week Romance, #1

Marie Johnston

Self-Pub, Jun 2015

Ebook, 66 Pages

Only in Digital Format

Genre(s) Contemporary Romance, Military Romance

Source Author

Other books in this series

Shooter #2

My Disclaimer:

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

What it’s about…

Olivia has given David one last chance. If he stands her up again, they are finished. He can’t accept that she’s serious.

Kane is a Navy Lieutenant on a ship tied up at a pier in NYC for Fleet Week. He can’t resist the lovely lady steaming over her phone at the table next to him.

With very limited time allowed by the ship, Kane works on convincing Olivia to attempt a long-distance relationship as his ship gets ready to leave on deployment for half a year or so. She agrees but really isn’t sure this is the thing for her or that it will work.

Can e-mail and the occasional phone call hold a relationship together? A fragile, new one? What’s the difference between a workaholic boyfriend who stands her up and a boyfriend who isn’t there and can only send emails? Olivia really has to think this one through.

Technical Tidbits…

The cover has that great blue with a Navy ship facing the Statue of Liberty so we know immediately where we are. In front of those is a very attractive young couple looking hot, but a bit shy, just like Kane and Olivia. And she’s the one pulling back a bit. I think this cover really hits the spot on portraying the story and it’s attractive into the bargain!

The storyline is very interesting and so much like real life. Having been in the Navy and married to a sailor, I’m aware of all sorts of ways sailors get together. When the ship is tied at the pier for a Fleet Week type thing, all sorts of things can happen. The wives who can, all travel to be there with their husbands wherever the ship has pulled in. The single guys go out on the town for the most part.

And the lack of communication while the ship is underway is accurate. You never know when you’ll be able to talk or send email. You write letters a lot since you know those will be delivered fairly regularly. It’s not easy, it takes effort.

The characters are great. They are real people you could get to know.

The pace is good. It’s not terribly fast. The beginning has to move along because you have to feel they don’t have much time. But then you have to feel the time dragging during the cruise while they are apart, so things slow down in the middle. They pick up again as the ship nears the end of the cruise and communication gets easier and Olivia starts to see what Kane was trying to tell her.

The tension is there throughout. I kept feeling like I should sit down and talk with Olivia about what Kane was going through and why it takes effort on both parties parts. And what a low-down dog her ex was!

And this is where you STOP if you don’t want to see any SPOILERS

The good, the bad, and the ugly…and how much it lit up my life… ✰✰✰✰✰

Olivia and Kane were absolutely adorable! They were both young, attractive people who just wanted to be in a solid relationship and be valued for what they were. Kane was the perfect man for Olivia to meet after the neglect she had suffered from David. Kane would almost worship her, and she needed someone who would really value her and bolster her up. It’s not that she needed to be treated like a princess, but after being second best to David’s ambition, she needed some bolstering.

Once she figured out what the difference is between a boyfriend who stands you up and one who just isn’t there for months at a time, she starts to understand Kane more and more. And to value him!

When David pulls his nasty trick, I wanted to cry right along with Olivia. Did he really think that she would take him back if he did something like that? BUT, it bothered me that Kane immediately accepted what David said on the phone. Didn’t he have any faith in Olivia? I know it was a strange situation, but why take David’s word. Why didn’t he ask to speak with Olivia?

This is only 66 pages, but there’s a whole lot packed into it. The second book is about half again as long, so the series is getting larger, at least.

806 wc

Posted in book review

Turbulence & Triumph Books One & Two

 

Ocean’s Justice

Ocean’s Gift

Turbulence and Triumph #1

Demelza Carlton

Lost Plot Press, Sep 2014

Kindle, 172 Pages

Also available in paperback

Genre(s) Fairy Re-tale in 6 Parts

Source Author

Ocean’s Trial

Ocean’s Gift

Turbulence and Triumph #2

Demelza Carlton

Lost Plot Press, Sep 2014

Kindle, 158 Pages

Also available in paperback

Genre(s) Fairy Re-tale

Source Author

Other books in this series:

Ocean’s Triumph #3, Ocean’s Ride #4, Ocean’s Cage #5, Ocean’s Birth #6

My Disclaimer:

I was provided complimentary copies of these books. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

What it’s about…Ocean’s Justice

This is the first part of six, so there is no ending to this book. The story stops at a stopping place and picks up in the next book. To get the whole story, you must read all six books. I’m reviewing only the two that I read. This first one finds our main character, Maria, adrift on a raft at sea. She’s nude, speaks no English (the language of the sailors of this ship that “rescue” her), but understands some Dutch. She has memories of a ship’s fire and men died when the ship sunk. She remembers a man named Giuseppe. And she has been turned out of her home for some reason.

William McGregor is a handsome Scotsman. He’s a passenger on the Trevessa, looking for a bit of adventure along with his employment. He’s not adverse to a lovely lady either. Mr. McGregor gives Maria his protection as the superstitious sailors are all for tossing the beautiful woman back to the ocean when she can’t tell them her story. Either that or raping her. But William can’t be everywhere to protect her, even though he tries.

In spite of lifeboats and the Captain’s infamous canned milk, the weather, the sea, and sailors’ superstitions have their way. Once more, Maria is adrift at sea and picked up by another ship. This time she’s better prepared.

Technical Tidbits…

The cover is a bit on the plain side to me. Though I liked it. There are two covers, it seems. The one I had is the one with the mermaid on it that I show above. I like the composition and all. I just think it needs more color and embellishment, a bit more drama to make it match the story that’s in the book.

The storyline is good. It’s not totally original as this is a retelling of the fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. I haven’t read the original story. I suppose someday I should do that since there are so many retellings of it these days. I should know what the original is so I can tell what these other authors are changing or embellishing.

The characters were fairly good. It was difficult to really know any particular character. There wasn’t a lot of background on anyone. I think Mr. McGregor got the most detail actually. Maria is still something of a mystery, though you are supposed to “know” her already by knowing what she is. Ms. Carlton added some interesting touches to the crew, like Mr. Kaito, the green-tea drinking cook with the interesting fighting style. And Captain Foster who wanted all lifeboats to be stocked with canned milk. There’s also young Charlie, who thinks Maria should be his because of their age similarities. He keeps interrupting William and Maria to get her to come and do things with him.

The pace was fast. Poor Mr. McGregor was kept really busy trying to keep Maria safe. Between the weather and the other sailors with their ill intent, he really had his hands full right up until the final storm. That’s when Maria took a hand in things, too.

The tension was pretty consistent right up until the end. It was like waiting to see who was going to stick a knife in your back in a dark place. Who’s going to kill William? Or who was going to get their hands on Maria? What will the next rescue lead to?

What it’s about…Ocean’s Trial

This book starts off right where the first one ends. Maria’s been rescued by an English-speaking crew again, but this time there’s no threat to her life. She’s been kept a secret and smuggled to shore in Fremantle to live with Merry D’Angelo, a very nice widow. Her command of English has improved greatly, thanks to Merry, and she’s posing as Merry’s niece, a fisherman’s widow.

She’s working hard alongside the fishermen helping sell their fish and has earned their respect because she really knows her fish. There’s one young fisherman who feels a lot more than respect for her, too. Tony and Maria work closely together and are great friends, and Tony would like to take their friendship further. But her pasts are catching up with her. Yes. Pasts. She needs to find out what happened to William McGregor in that final storm. Is he still alive and does he still love her? But older connections are catching up with her as well. And these may prove deadly.

Technical Tidbits…

The cover wasn’t one that I really cared for. I didn’t feel it said much about the story. There were so many dramatic scenes that could have been depicted on it. What was used was disappointingly drab.

The storyline is again, a continuation of the retelling of The Little Mermaid story. The author has created a wonderful “down under” freedom to the story by placing it in Australia.

The characters continue to develop as the story continues. We learn so much more about Maria’s story when she meets up with a significant person from her past. We learn more about how her species see humans, as well and how different she really is.

The pace continues fast and furious in this second book, especially once Maria decides to take off on her journey.

The tension remained consistent throughout this second book. While some questions were answered from the first book, there were more questions piled on that now need answers and make you want to pick up the third book to get them.

And this is where you STOP reading if you don’t want any SPOILERS

The good, the bad, and the ugly…and how much it lit up my life… ✰✰✰✰

I kept trying to remind myself that voyages such as these would take months to complete and that there would be plenty of time for Maria to learn the language. However, there was nothing in the story to make me slow down and keep that thought in my head. Everything was happening fast and furious, so it seemed like she was something of a “Super Woman” learning the language very quickly with William. Then when she was with Merry, she learned to speak and act like a lady in a very short time. That was another leap forward.

It wasn’t just the language, either. She understood the value of those pearls when she found the moaning oysters. She understood the beauty of them for jewelry and had a necklace made, as well the financial aspect of them and how to get the best price for them. All this for a simple girl from the sea? Hhmmmm…

When Maria has her confrontation with her mother, her mother says Maria should just seduce the human male and get pregnant, then kill him and come home to become the head of the Council. Since Maria’s older sister is dead, it is Maria’s duty. There is a comment made about the older sister’s death, but no explanation about how she died. Is Maria responsible for her sister’s death somehow? Is that why she is banned from her home? Is getting pregnant by a human the only way she will be allowed to come home? I’m still confused about that. I still want an answer to that part. But Maria doesn’t see humans as disposable. She’s in love with William. She loves Merry almost as a mother. She loves Tony sort of like a brother, but maybe as more. That’s why she needs to find out if William is still alive and loves her.

BTW, this being adrift thing is getting a bit old. She starts out adrift on a raft and the Trevessa picks her up. Then the Trevessa sinks in a storm and she’s adrift in a lifeboat for Merry’s friends to find her. Then at the end where she stows away on the way to Christmas Island. That’s almost as bad as adrift. One of these days, she’s going to have to buy a ticket and get her own cabin. She probably doesn’t have that kind of luck. Seems to me the story of The Little Mermaid is a sad one all the way to the end.

You need to understand that I really do judge covers! Not with stars, but I love a great cover on a good book. There were so many good things that could have been on this second cover. Maria could have been in a lifeboat. They could have used the pearls somehow and brought that part out. Or Maria perched on the ship as she stowed away to Christmas Island. Maria at the fish market with that huge fish that only she could identify would have been a great cover.

These are the four covers for the other books in this series. I haven’t read these books (just the synopses), but I feel they probably could be better, too. The one I like the best is the last one on Ocean’s Birth. It shows the drama of what Maria is up against and the main cause of the drama without giving away any part of the story. It is too dark, though.

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Posted in book review

The Stationmaster’s Cottage

A River End’s Love Story, Book 1

Phillipa Nefri Clark

Feb 14, 2017, 340 pages

Also available in paperback

Genre(s) Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance

Source NetGalley

Other books in this series:

Jasmine Sea Book 2

My Disclaimer:

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

What it’s about…

Christie is a professional make-up artist just back from a big photo shoot. She lives with Derek.

Derek is a real estate developer with tickets to go on holiday to Lizard Island before Christie’s even unpacked. No problem, he’s packed for her. Let’s go!

But just as they are going out the door, Christie receives a telegram from Angus, a long-time family retainer, telling her that Gran has died and Christie is needed for the estate and the funeral. Well, of course, she is. Gran was her only relative. Gran saw to her after her parents died. And now she’s dead.

Christie arrives in River’s End grieving for Gran, confused about Derek and their relationship, and exhausted beyond belief desperately trying to understand what’s going on or more accurately, what’s happened.

She needs sleep, answers, and support. None of which is going to happen anytime soon, it seems. Why has Gran left her the cottage? What is the story behind the damaged painting in the tube? Why were the love letters never opened? Who was the older woman in the cemetery? What does the handsome surfer have to do with all of this? Why is his dog so sweet and he’s so surly? And why has Derek left her to deal with all of this on her own?

Technical Tidbits…

I loved the cover with the parchment as a reference to the old letters. The picture of the old cottage with the key to the cottage or the box were nice touches as well. And the red ribbon to tie the letters up was another nice reference to the story. Together they all created a charming cover for a wonderful story!

The storyline was great. The author took us back and forth between the two main relationships and time to tell the whole story, which created nice depth to both stories. It added nice depth to the characters as well as you learned things that happened before and during their youth and current times.

The pace was good throughout. Each time I thought it might start to lag, it would pick right up. It was just time to take a breath before moving in another direction.

The tension never lets up from page one until the end. It holds your attention in a way that doesn’t let you relax enough to put it down until you know all the answers to Christie’s questions. The quality of the writing is such that you are able to work things out right along with her and sometimes a bit before her. No magical surprises at the very end that you couldn’t have foreseen

And this is where you STOP reading if you don’t want to see any SPOILERS…

The good, the bad, and the ugly…and how much it lit up my life… ✰✰✰✰✰

Here sits Christie with the funeral of her last relative, so she thinks, and a complete mystery on her hands; and her boyfriend has gone off on holiday and is scheming with another woman against Christie. Me? I would have had a bit more to say before my flight and I would have blocked all Derek’s calls. I never would have taken a single one of them. Instead, she’s justifying what’s going on and planning to straighten their relationship out when she gets home. How they have to support each other. Be more aware of each other’s needs. Hmmm. No.

All this time, Derek is partying and planning to do a real estate deal along with his friend Ingrid. They want to develop the land the cottage is on. And everyone seems to know this but Christie! I thought they did her a favor when they interfered with her next job. It gave her the excuse she wanted to change the focus of how she worked. She can be angry about their meddling, but she really can’t be upset about the outcome.

Martin Blake, a local artist building a wider renown with his colorful paintings. So different from his grandfather’s work.

He’s drawn to Christie but doesn’t like the trouble that comes with her. His dog, Randall, adores her and he trusts Randall’s judgment about people.

Now, if Martin would only stop shutting down and sit and talk with Christie about things. And if Christie would share her part of the story with him, they would have the story all put together probably by lunch on the third day with just a few gaps. Gaps that Angus can help them fill in by reading Gran’s letter to Christie so she can find the last puzzle piece. But, no, neither one can share what they know. Of course, if they did this would be a short story instead of a novel.

Frannie claimed to love Thomas and to be the best friend of Martha, Gran’s younger sister. The three of them were always together, friends. Thomas and Martha had just had their engagement party when Frannie played the first part of her nasty trick that split them up. What kind of best friend would do that? That’s not loving. That’s possession, control, jealousy. Then to follow through with the second act, that was just evil. For a sister to stand by and knowingly allow it to happen is unforgivable. And to keep that secret from the two involved for 50 years is inexcusable. To pass it off to an unknowing young woman is cowardly.

I loved the times that Christie got to be alone in the cottage and to explore and discover its treasures. She had learned to care for plants from Gran. To find that the cottage had orchards and gardens made her very happy. It was something she had been missing in her city life. She even enjoyed cleaning it and making it her own. Making it a home. These were the breathing moments among the mad tension of the mystery about the letters, the painting, the lovers, and the handsome surfer.

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Posted in book review

Invisible Women

Sarah Long

Bonnier Zaffre,

Oct 5, 2017

Kindle, 273 Pages

Also available in paperback and audiobook

Genre(s) Women’s Lit, Women’s Passages

Source NetGalley

My Disclaimer:

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.

~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

What it’s about:

Sarah Long has put herself into the ranks of Jill Mansell, Patricia Sands, Connie Chappell, and Anita Hughes with her book Invisible Women. She takes Tessa, Harriet, and Sandra, who have been friends forever and are now all passed their 50th birthday, and challenges them to find something worthwhile within themselves. Each of them sees something a bit different. Sandra is still slim and active and has the youngest child among the women. She still sees herself as young and sexy. She also has a young builder working around her house. Her husband is depressed and is in counseling with a life counselor who seems to be helping him a lot.

Tessa feels a bit frumpy and has just sent her “baby” off to university. She’s been stalking her daughter on Facebook and runs into an old boyfriend of her own on there. He seems to be interested in getting together when he’s in town on business to talk over old times. Her husband goes off to his high-paying job each day with some snipe at her. Lately, he’s been doing it more and more. She prepares gourmet meals and he has always enjoyed them. Now he’s making remarks about how she’s overdoing it.

Harriet’s mother-in-law has always been healthy and independent, until this latest diagnosis. Now, she’s living downstairs and Harriet is her caretaker. She takes her to all her doctor appointments and waits on her hand and foot. Her husband gets up and goes to work each day and leaves it all to her to handle. Then one of their dogs dies and her husband wants to have a talk with her.

Each woman seems to be at something of a decision time or change of passage in their life. One where what they’ve been doing is no longer going to work and it may hurt or it may feel really good, depending on how you look at it or how the other person in the relationship feels about it.

The technical bits and pieces:

The characters were done quite well, especially Tessa, who I think really got the most coverage in the book. I liked her the best, too. Sandra’s story got the second most coverage it seemed, but it also seemed to be slipped into some cracks and into shadows. That may have been a perception, though, because I saw Sandra as sneaky. And then there was Harriet, who had small blocks of time to tell her story. Poor boring Harriet. She wasn’t, but she was made to seem to be.

The storyline was excellent. This isn’t an unusual storyline for Women’s Lit, in fact, it’s fairly common. It’s what the author does with it that makes the story. And Sarah Long had a wonderful time with it. She treated it like a new Christmas tree and decorated it in her own special way, made it her very own with excellent pacing and a tension that hung on to you right up until the very end.

So, if you don’t want any SPOILERS, this is where you STOP reading…

My Review: ✰✰✰✰✰

I usually enjoy this type of book about a group of women, but this one by Sarah Long was particularly good. I think the tension and pace of it really made it good. There was no dragging, no lag to it. It just kept moving along and telling its story and holding my attention right up until the end.

I found myself reacting to the characters, not the writing, which tells me the author did her job well. For instance, it wasn’t that I didn’t like the way Sandra was written, I didn’t like Sandra. She was sly and always had to have a man to play off of, even if it was her best friend’s husband or her daughter’s boyfriend. As long as it wasn’t her own husband. I was glad everything ended up falling apart at the end in all her relationships, even though it meant she got her man.

I really like Tessa. She was usually upbeat and fixing something that sounded delicious to feed someone she loved. She worried about her son and daughter and hadn’t quite totally settled into being an empty nester yet. She put up with her husband’s snide remarks with more patience than I would. Then, when John finds her on Facebook and wants to get together for lunch while he’s in London, she figures, why not? Now, that “why not” has a lot of guilt tucked into it because married women aren’t supposed to get together with old boyfriends. When John’s trip gets canceled and lunch turns into dinner at a fancy resort, it becomes an even guiltier secret. Now there are real lies involved. But she gets caught up in the whole thing and one thing leads to another until she has to stop and think about it. She makes her decision about what is important to her, her family or John. She asked herself the real questions. The practical questions about what her life would be like. How would she see her children? How would they view what she was doing? And she asked herself what was really important to her. And who she really loved.

It was no surprise when Tessa made her decision. You knew her values already. She wasn’t Sandra. Tessa’s family was her center. It’s what she valued most. Her husband, Matt, was who she loved. And she needed to be close to her children. It was the way she faced her husband and dealt with the situation that was so amazing. He had a few surprises of his own, too. It was a really eye-opening conversation.

And don’t forget Harriet. Yes, even she has her moment and her reward. Totally out of nowhere, but her husband, Sam, is a quiet one. But apparently he, too, appreciates what a good wife is worth over the years. So in the end, they all got what would make them the happiest. And you know how much I love a happy ending!

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