Fiction Review: Lawana Blackwell’s “A Haven on Orchard Lane”

Of all the styles of books I love, stories of redemption are the ones I love the most. And “A Haven on Orchard Lane” definitely fits that bill!

I grew up reading Mrs. Blackwell’s books, and have always enjoyed her style. The vivid settings, the rich plots, and deep characters stay with you. These books are carefully crafted, honed by great talent. New authors should definitely take notes from Mrs. Blackwell on the creation of a story.

This work has a lot going on! There are several plot-lines crisscrossing each other, keeping the reader glued to each page, so as not to miss a minute.  Mrs. Blackwell also tackles many deep subjects through the characters, talking with the reader about the danger of assumptions, those dealing with abuses, and as stated before, redemption, among others.

I really enjoyed this work, and highly recommend it!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Non-Fiction Review: Brandi Haas’ “More Tales From Suburbia”

This review is a stop on the Great Escapes blog tour for “More Tales from Suburbia”.

moretalesfromsuburbia  brandi-haas-author-photo

This book is a GREAT way to start the day. Those few quiet minutes before the kids wake up, a hot drink of your choice, and another Tale From Suburbia – a recipe that can’t be beat! 

I highly recommend this book for all moms (and dads) out there! The Tales within the story retain the style of a blog post, but here, it works – as the reader can take in one or two for a pick-me-up on those hectic, rushed mornings – or settle in during a quiet moment to enjoy a laugh fest. 

And believe me, your sides will ache, and the tears will roll. All the parents out there will find so much truth in the roughly 200 pages of hard-hitting hilarity in Mrs. Haas’ second book. It is definitely one to read, and then read again!

In short, I loved this book, and can’t wait to get a copy for all my fellow mom friends.

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Fiction Review: Marty Wingate’s “The Bluebonnet Betrayal”


We’re back to adventure with Pru and Christopher!

I love Ms. Wingate’s characters and her ability to give them so much depth. Each character has a past, and a distinct personality that feeds the story – gives it life – without any clunky expose. Additionally, getting to see the characters in a setting outside of their comfort zone allows us to get to know them deeper – and I enjoyed the story all the more for it!

There are many misdirects throughout the work, making it an engaging and fun read. You will think you’ve got a handle on the culprits, and then the author pulls the rug from beneath all your assumptions. This is no easy “who-dun-it”!

A neat facet was the “newsletter blurbs” at the beginning of each chapter. I have worked on newsletters before, so I chuckled all the harder at the notes and announcements from those snippets, as I know how closely they resemble real life!

A great, fun read!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Dorothy Cannell’s “Goodbye, Ms. Chips”

There is a lot going on in this title. Many different characters, already established relationships from previous books in the series, several different settings to navigate. It would be easy for the story to waver under the weight of everything it is carrying – but there was no faltering to be found!

As to the different settings – there are many literary takes on a boarding school backdrop, but this one stands alone for me in comparison to the others. No rosy glasses-d romanticism, nor ‘underdog against the odds’ conflict – the school space and the students and teachers who inhabit it come alive in a very real, natural way.

The author’s language style and vocabulary choices are what make her book come alive. The characters are brought out in dazzling detail, with each nuance and personality quirk deftly defined. By the middle chapters, you know how a certain character is going to react, and you await expectantly for events to unfold. This was not a predictable work, far from it, but it felt natural, as if the next twist was the most logical thing to occur. Rather than the sharp turns, and edge of your seat danger of other mysteries, this one makes you pay attention, think, and with Ellie, try to outwit the culprit.

Are you up to the challenge?

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Heron Carvic’s “Picture Miss Seeton”

This is my first Miss Seeton mystery – and I am completely hooked. I will definitely be getting into this series! 

This book was wonderful. The amazingly unique characters stay with you, as the author’s unique flavor lingers long after you’ve consumed the last page. My two favorite, besides Miss Seeton, of course, are the Oracle and Sir George. The gentlemen take over the narrative at certain points, but they are so drastically different in their thinking and speaking style, that the reader knows exactly where they are and what is going on. The author’s skill here in character creation is something younger authors can learn a lot from!

Also, I like mysteries that the reader can’t figure out from the first page. In this one, we had different pieces to what was going on – but Miss Seeton figures things out about the same time as the reader, which kept me engaged in the work.

In all, a very fun read that I will be highly recommending!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Tainted Tokay”

This is a book about getting to know the “Cooker’s Guide” clan a little better. We get to know Alexandrine, of whom we’ve heard so much, but met very little. Benjamin has voiced very high opinions of her throughout the series, so putting a character to the name, so to speak, was a nice rounding out of this story world.

Along the same veins, we get a deep dive into the character of Virgile. Previous works have allowed us the perspective of the bright, hard-working assistant, but now the reader learns his passions, and his habits. I came away liking him even more than I already had, and once again wishing I could step into these books and hang out with the characters.

I love Elizabeth, and whenever she enters the scene, you know the story is going to amp up a notch. With her wit, her banter with Benjamin, and her zest for life, she compliments Benjamin as a team, yet also holds her own. You don’t want to cross her, but I feel that once a friend, you would have a friend for life!

Finally, we get to see the sarcastic side of Benjamin! In previous works, he’s always been so careful to maintain the reputation and poise that comes with being such a renowned and requested individual throughout the region. But when faced with a stressful situation, in which he has very little control, he lets loose to do battle with his razor-sharp wit, and it never fails to entertain.

I look forward to the next!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Roseanna M. White’s “The Reluctant Duchess”

Reluctant Duchess

Are you looking for a work that will challenge you to think deeply about large concepts, while also holding on tight to the coattails of plot, as it dashes along? This is the book for you.

What a great read. The pace is fast, relentless even, but the story is well told – keeping you invested until the very end. I enjoyed the depth of the author’s language, as her characters come alive through her expert writing.

Best though, I loved the deep discussions of faith between the characters – which are much broader than I have found in other books with this setting. You wouldn’t initially expect a mystery love story to leave you lingering over the spiritual points discussed after you finished reading! But how each character relates to their faith, and how they deal with superstitions are integral to the plot, creating a one-of-a-kind read that I absolutely recommend.

I also can’t wait to get to know these characters more! The next book releases in September 2016!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley