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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cover Crush...Summer by the Sea


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


I love the beach. I miss the ocean desperately. And the Outer Banks of North Carolina are one of my favorite places in the world. So, a book set there? I'm all in. Walking on the beach hand in hand with my husband is sheer heaven. Naturally, a cover like this one completely draws me in. Who are these people? What is their story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

An Extraordinary Union...Review

About the book:
As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past...

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other...

I had so much hope for An Extraordinary Union. I loved the premise: a former slave with an eidetic memory who is a spy for the union. How cool is that? That she falls in love with a white detective who is undercover as a Rebel soldier is even more enticing.

The story is fairly well paced and there is plenty of action and a glimpse into the glamour of the rich who lived well despite blockades and an ongoing war. Politics is always there no matter what.

This novel had so much potential, especially a forbidden interracial romance and we did get some great story bits here and there. Elle undercover as a mute slave in a Confederate household. Elle almost captured by slavers.

However, the story was less about the historical part and more about sex. There wasn't much to call romance. Instead, everything was tinged with sexual tension and the need to act on it that didn't add to the story or make it better.

Elle as a character is terrific. Strong and fearless. Being a free woman and willingly going undercover as a slave and being treated as such? Talk about strength. She had more going for her than Malcolm ever did.

Unfortunately, instead of telling the story of a strong woman helping the Union win the war between the states, sex became the focus. That's always a disappointment.

This is the first in a series and I am undecided on whether or not I will read any future books.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Alyssa Cole here.

Read 5/17

* *
2/5 Stars

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Bookshop on the Corner...Review

About the book:
Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion…and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home…a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending. 

Nina loves being a librarian and collecting books, but losing her job leaves her at loose ends. Needing something new and craving some adventure from her noisy London world, she heads to Scotland, purchases a large van and turns it into a bookmobile. Traveling around her new little village, she meets all sorts of people. People who crave books and knowledge and reading.

Putting her talents as a literary matchmaker to good use, Nina also finds magic in living in a small village with people who look out and care for one another.

Sometimes you just want a fun story and The Bookshop on the Corner was just that. Fun and entertaining. I'm a sucker for stories about books, especially when those stories are also filled with quirky characters and humor. The story is rather predictable, but that doesn't detract from its charm.

The original title was Little Shop of Happily Ever After which really does fit the book better and I wish it hadn't been changed.

Read 6/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekend Reflections 6/17

Looking outside...it's sunny with blue skies. Currently 61 with a projected high of 75. A perfect day.

It has been 70s and 80s all week. We had wicked thunderstorms last weekend. Like, shake-the-whole-house-thunderstorms. The Artist loved it.

Listening...to silence. Silence is nice. The Doctor is helping someone move and The Artist is still asleep.

Loving...that The Doctor is home. I am so enjoying this schedule of him being home on Saturdays and only going into the office if he chooses to.

I am however tired of thoughtless patients who just don't show up. Seriously. When you schedule an appointment with someone, anyone, show up. If you can't, then CALL THEM. If you don't, you're thoughtless and rude. I get that emergencies come up, but it's a rare occurrence that makes it so you can't call or text. And if a doctor schedules an appointment AT YOUR CONVENIENCE, be considerate and grateful and if you can't keep it, call. Don't give me the excuse of forgetting. You have a cell phone and it has a calendar feature. USE IT. 

That way you won't piss off The Doctor's wife when her husband has stayed later or gone in earlier just for you and then it was all for nothing.

To those of you who let your doctor know if you're running late or can't make an appointment. Thank you. It is much appreciated. To the rest of you? Grow up.

Thinking...that I should probably get moving.

In my kitchen...Not sure yet about dinner. At the moment, it's Crio Bru with sugar-free caramel syrup. It's replaced my normal highly sugared, high carbed regular hot chocolate.

Wearing...purple pajamas.

Reading...I wrote reviews this week! The Last Neanderthal went up yesterday and three (THREE!!!) reviews will post next week. Yay me! 

Today...I'm not sure. Mostly just being together and crossing off things on the house maintenance list. Tomorrow we're going for a drive and getting away for the day.

Quoting..."Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt 

Feeling...Curious. I had a Simply Healed Energy session this week and loved it. I have felt more aware of my surroundings and feelings this week. The experience has left me curious about energy and chakras and I've been doing a lot of reading about those and how they work with affirmations and essential oils. It's been enlightening and fascinating. 

If you're interested in learning about energy healing, I highly recommend my healing practitioner, Melanie Newman. She is fantastic.

Planning...this next week and going over our house maintenance "To-Do" list. It seems to be never ending...


Gratitude...for relationships; for friendship and connecting with each other.

From my world... 




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What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?