Book Talk Tuesday: A POPPY IN REMEMBRANCE

Yesterday’s topic was a World War I documentary, Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old. Today’s book review is a novel, A POPPY IN REMEMBRANCE, by Michelle Ule. The title is taken from the fact that poppies flourish in battlefields. The documentary showed more than a few poppies.

I loved both the documentary and the novel, for very different reasons.

poppy

Claire Meacham was born into a newspaper family. She has printing ink in her blood and a nose for news. It’s not her fault she was born at a time when women could be teachers and stenographers, but not reporters. Nellie Bly, excepted.

World War I has broken out in Europe and Claire accompanies her parents to London, Egypt, and Paris, assisting her father in his quest for war news to wire back to the States. While in London, Claire crosses paths with renowned Bible teacher Oswald Chambers, his wife Biddy, and daughter Kathleen. Her life is changed by loss, by love, and by the Chambers family. In many ways.

Michelle Ule has crafted a rare work combining historical detail, emotional and spiritual depth, and compelling story.
I highly recommend it!
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I received an advance copy of the manuscript in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Talk Tuesday: THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE

In 2018 I worked to catch up on several series I’d fallen behind on. It’s odd how authors kept churning out books, even though I wasn’t reading!

9780804169905_handsomemansdeluxecafe-350x540One of the most prolific writers working today is Alexander McCall Smith. He’s perhaps best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books, but he has several other series as well. Isabel Dalhousie and The Sunday Philosophy Club is the other series I enjoy as well. It’s set in Scotland, and having been there once, I love revisiting Edinburgh and its environs.

Anyway, back to Botswana, Precious Ramotswe, and Grace Makutsi in THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE. I felt an earlier book in this series, THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY, which was the story of Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti’s wedding felt rushed and not edited and disjointed.

I’m happy to say that one was an anomaly, and the following books were back to his usual high standard, including THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE.

Grace and Phuti have married, built their new home and have their son. Grace has decided she wants to own her own business, like her husband and her business associate, Mma Ramotswe. Grace opens a restaurant.

Mma Ramotswe takes on a case of a woman who doesn’t know who she is. And Mr. JLB Matekoni is forced to let one of the apprentices go from the garage.

As usual, Grace’s shoes have a bit of wisdom for her, that she ignores. Grace and Charlie disagree about … well, nearly everything. Precious and Mma Potokwane share some fruitcake and discuss a case and human nature.

I love this series and THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE is a worthy addition. I’m continuing in my quest to catch up. There are 4 more and I’ll be current. They are fairly quick reads, so I’m confident 2019 will see me all caught up. I’m still behind on my several of my other favorite series, but I’m working on it.

Stay tuned!

Book Talk on a Wednesday: WAIT FOR ME

I was out of town last weekend and got the chance to catch up on some reading. This one was on top of the stack I took with me.

Loyal readers have been waiting patiently to see if Pete Brooks and Jess Tagg would be able to figure out their lives and that they belong together.

WFMFinally, they’re front and center in the last of the Montana Rescue books.
Pete has spent a year trying to forget Jess and trying to move on. Jess has spent the year trying to please her mother, her family, her former (and current??) fiance Felipe, and generally everyone except herself.

At last, Pete and Jess are in the same place, at the same time. Back in Mercy Falls for Ben and Kacey’s wedding reception. However, their reunion doesn’t go well.

Shae/Esme and Ned Marshall, last seen in Storm Front (Ty and Brette’s story, Montana Rescue Book 5), are driving Jess home when their pickup is run off the road. They don’t know who is after them. The man Shae is prepared to accuse as a murderer after running for five years? Someone angry at Jess or her family? Or a random crazy person?
Jess, Shae, and Ned are on the run in the Montana wilderness, injured and cold, with someone after them.

Pete and the rest of the PEAK Rescue team are also on the hunt.
It’s a race to find the missing trio.

I love the way Warren combines faith, suspense, adventure, and romance in this series. Wait for Me is a fitting conclusion. Pete and Jess both have to work through their pasts and their mistakes before they can embrace God’s forgiveness, grace, and each other.
I highly recommend this one!
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I received an advance copy of Wait For Me, in exchange for an honest review, which I’ve done.

BOOK TALK ON A THURSDAY: Not Quite Over You

We’re back in Happily Inc for another visit! I love Susan Mallery’s small towns, quirky characters, real life emotions, and fun plots.

In NOT QUITE OVER YOU, Silver Tesdal, owner of AlcoHaul (a portable bar that can be towed to wedding and party venues) wants to expand. Her high school boyfriend wants nqoyto invest in her business. And maybe in her life. The only problem is a secret she’s been keeping from him for a few years.

One thing leads to another and pretty soon they’re partners in business and in bed.

Silver knows she has to come clean and when she does, Drew takes the news hard, but comes around pretty quickly.

Drew’s family has been grooming him for a career and there are certain expectations. Those are part of the reasons Silver broke up with him after high school and not much has changed more than a decade later.

NOT QUITE OVER YOU employs some common romance tropes, but in Mallery’s capable hands they don’t feel overused or stale. I enjoyed Silver and Drew’s wrong-side-of-the-tracks story and I recommend it! Especially if you love fun and funny stories!


I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for a honest review. I honestly loved it.

 

Book Talk Tuesday: WHY NOT TONIGHT

It’s so much fun to go to my mailbox and find a new book. Whether it’s one I ordered from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or an Advanced Reader Copy from an author I review, or a gift from someone else. I love getting books. I love reading books. I don’t care if they’re hardbound, paperbacks, or electronic versions. I love them all.

It was a sweet day indeed when I found a copy of Susan Mallery’s latest, WHY NOT TONIGHT in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago. It’s the latest addition to Mallery’s new Happily Inc series.

WNT by smRonan Mitchell is the last Mitchell brother to find his one and only. He pulled away from the family–and his brothers, including his twin–after he learned a truth about his father. His brothers are still there for him, but have tired of his continual withdrawal. Ronan and two of the others have inherited their father’s artistic talent. Except Ronan’s having a hard time creating art, and an even harder time enjoying it. He’s been hugely successful and money isn’t an issue.

Natalie Kaleta is also an artist. Part-time. She also works at the gallery that handles Ronan’s art. She’s a glass-half-full-no-heck-it’s-plenty-whether-full-or-empty kind of gal. She’s had her share of heartbreak, but has managed to retain her sunny disposition.

A freak storm and freakier incident with Natalie’s car maroons them at Ronan’s mountain hideaway. Their growing attraction makes the isolation … problematic. At least from Ronan’s point of view.

As the story progresses, the couple become a couple. Ronan responds to Natalie’s optimism. She blossoms under his belief in her talent and her art. They each have issues on their road to happily ever after, but they do make it. Come on, this is a romance, did you have doubts?

I love all of Mallery’s books, and WHY NOT TONIGHT is typical of her romances. Fun and funny and light, but with a deeper message about family and doing what you love and having to pay bills.

I highly recommend it!


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

Book Talk Tuesday: WHEN WE FOUND HOME

Susan Mallery’s segue from romance only author to romance and women’s fiction has been rather seamless and painless for this fan. I’ve loved her romance, especially her Fool’s Gold and Happily, Inc. series. But her women’s fiction is also engaging. It has Mallery’s trademark humor and some eccentric secondary characters, but the issues are real and handled with heart.

cover-when-we-found-home

In When We Found Home, there are three point of view characters: Delaney, Callie, and Malcolm. Callie and Malcolm have discovered they’re half-siblings with another half-sister, Keira, who’s twelve years old. Their grandfather has brought them together to be a family. Each was raised differently and they struggle to put their disparate lives together into a new kind of family.

Delaney has also gone through tremendous upheaval in the last few months. She’s dating Malcolm, but not sure she deserves him and a happy ever after.

 

I loved this one!

Family dynamics can be challenging even for traditional families. I’m not unfamiliar with the issues that arise when you add half- and step-members and create a blended family. Mallery did a great job showing that love and grace and acceptance go a long way, which is a good lesson for all of us.

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I received a free advance copy of When We Found Home from the author, in exchange for a honest review. Which I’ve done.

Book Talk Tuesday: NAKED IN DEATH

I finished J.D. Robb’s NAKED IN DEATH a couple of weeks ago. It’s the first of her In Death series and one I hadn’t read yet.

An AutoChef by Any Other Name 

download (4)It’s a good introduction to the series. I loved seeing Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke’s first meeting and their attraction. Some of the beloved elements in the series were also introduced. We met Mavis, Charles, Nadine, the Auto-Chef (although not called that quite yet), Feeney, and Commander Whitney. Eve hasn’t yet started hiding candy around the office, but she definitely has a predilection for the sweet stuff. And real coffee. And a cat who figures in one of her cases.

The story is about a professional prostitute (in the 2050s, prostitution is legal and regulated and they’re called licensed companions), who is murdered. She’s the granddaughter of a prominent senator. The murder weapon is a gun, something outlawed and no longer manufactured, so the weapon is an “antique,” although it was manufactured in the early twenty-first century, i.e. now. There’s a taunting note left with the body. A week later, another prostitute is killed.

Some of the clues lead Eve to Roarke, already rich and successful and gorgeous. They explore their attraction, with Eve fighting it the whole way. Of course, Eve comes into grave danger. Of course, Roarke rushes to save her. Of course, she saves herself just before he arrives. Some things never change.

Our Protagonist: Before and After

I was interested to see how Eve has changed in some ways during the series, while in other ways she didn’t. She began irritable and broken, and still shows those characteristics. There were a few details that, in my opinion, no longer apply to Eve. She noticed flowers and trees and could name them. The Eve in the later books doesn’t care enough about flowers to name them, much less notice them. The early Eve has a taste for leather and bold colors. Later, she does love a great armored leather coat, but the Eve of 2064 prefers browns and grays and only consents to color when Roarke insists. Those are extremely minor quibbles though.

Overall, I enjoyed NAKED IN DEATH. And when more of the early books join my TBR stack, I’ll gladly read them.

Do you have to start a series at the beginning or do you dive in and just start anywhere?