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Search tags: 2nd-book-of-2015
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review 2016-11-06 18:52
Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff
Secrets of Nanreath Hall: A Novel - Alix Rickloff

I started reading this book during a busy month. Any other time, I would've devoured this wonderful tale of loss, chance, family secrets, and finding one's way home despite the obstacles. There are those books that one reads and it is just that - reading. Whilst the story may be somewhat entertaining, it ceases to draw you in and fails to connect oneself to place or protagonist. Just another book you quickly want to finish. Then, there's that lovely, lively book that finds its way to your hands and once you've lost yourself in its pages you never want to leave it behind. Secrets of Nanreath Hall is the latter and exactly why I love historical fiction. Set between alternating periods of WWI and WWII, two women struggle to define themselves within a distinguished family that has hidden their secrets well inside the walls of Nanreath Hall.

Another fabulous read of 2016. I fell in love with ALL of the characters, each one growing closer to my heart as the story gained momentum. While the plot is not altogether original, I never felt as if I'd read this before. The scenes of war are vivid and I could hear the engines of airplanes screaming across the British skies. I could sense the fear and feel the heartbreak when letters brought news of lost loved ones, another casualty of war that changed lives in an instant. I ached for the young soldiers dashing off to war, imagining himself a hero but returning as a broken weary veteran, a constant battle inside the war between remembering and forgetting. It felt as if I was at the train depot standing among the women who kissed their soldier's lips for the very last time. Nanreath Hall came to life and I could smell the salty sea air, picture the transformation of the once great home now being used as hospital for the wounded and dying. Yes! Strong characters lived and breathed between the pages and captured my imagination until the very end. Superbly written. Five shiny gold stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

"Doubt that the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move, Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love." - Shakespeare

*I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to William Morrow for sponsoring the giveaway and to Alix Rickloff for writing a story that I'll always remember.

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review 2016-03-12 19:06
I Will Get a Lot of Stick For This But...: "Shapes, Scenes and Strokes: Book Reviews 2015" by Myselfie
Shapes, Scenes and Strokes: Book Reviews 2015 - Manuel Augusto Antão
Over the last years, several people asked me whether I'd consider publishing a collection of my posts. Until 2015 I couldn't be bothered. Then someone offered to help me putting them out (I'm not at liberty to tell you who).
I've always wanted to collect my writing stuff. And to do that I always thought "Timelessness" had to be a factor, i.e., the essays had to be timeless. The last thing I would want to get is an essay book on the state of world peace...The essays needed to be written from an historical perspective as well, with the frame of reference being “...Book Reviews 2013, 2014, 20150,…” not “Last year,….
Two books I love are collections of essays by Umberto Eco ("How to travel with a Salmon") and John Clute ("Scores"). Both without much fanciness, but I don’t regret a dime buying them. If you like this kind of stuff, this collection of diatribes might be for you, otherwise stay well clear.
When I was thinking about publishing this 3rd book of my posts I asked myself why should I publish a book with my stuff in the first place. I mean, what is the advantage of having a book (and paying for it) over simply parsing through a list of posts and links (that my supposedly readers probably already know) online?
(On the cover of the book, Tram 28 which is a highlight of any visit to Lisbon-Not-In-Maine, my hometown ...).
I'd like to dedicate this collection to all the wonderful people I have met on Booklikes: Themis-Athena's Garden of Books, Troy's Blog, Bookstooge's Reviews On the Road, Char's Horror Corner, Reclusive Reads, BrokenTune, Bookaneer, RedTHaws Reads Randoml, The English Student, Book Reviews Forevermore, Awogfli - Bookcroc, Debbie's Spurts, Url Phantomhive, Murder by Death, Rachel the Book Harlot, The Mental Hoard of Bettie's Books, Lornographic Material, From Dark Places, The Grand World of Books, Thewanderingjew, 99 problems and a book ain't one, Lora's Rants and Reviews, To Read Is to Fly, I cannot live without books, Leopard, It's a Mad Mad World, It's a Hardback Life, Spare Ammo, WRGingell, Jessica's Book Thoughts, Constantly Moving the Bookmark, A Reading Life, ѦѺ, spocksbro, Lunaluss --- Because Books Lead you to Many Roads, Chris' Fish Place, Gregor Xane, Demoniacally Reading, Grimlock, Oldham Rocker's Mad Mumblings, Buchsalon, Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog, Sarah's Library, The Boat Was My Friend, SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady, nospin, Gurglings of a Putrid Stream, BOOKWRAITHS REVIEWS, Dantastic Book Reviews and many others. It's really been fun.
If you can be bothered to read why I think rehashing my own stuff is a good idea, read on.
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review 2016-01-21 17:35
Nirvana - J.R. Stewart

Finally finished this book...again. I was just about finished when I received an email from publisher asking if I'd be interested in reading a newer version. I was promised a better story. Well, I gotta say, I was a little frustrated but I was also at that point in book where all was about to be revealed. I quit the first copy and began again. I wanted this story to explain itself. I had so many questions with the first version. I hoped the second time would be a charm. Was it? Not bad. I appreciate the re-write and the extra attention the book was given to make the story one readers would enjoy. Yes! Much better second go-round. However, this book was a bad fit for me. When I initially saw it on NetGalley the blurb intrigued me. Sounded like an interesting concept, living in virtual reality. It was defined as YA, which is cool with me. I read a bit of YA but there are those stories that really age me when reading YA. This was one of those age-defining moments. Would I recommend this book? Probably not. Did I enjoy this book? Obviously or I wouldn't have read it twice. Wasn't what I expected though.



**Received a DRC from NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

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review 2016-01-10 08:00
Sky Garden by Jenny Schwartz
Sky Garden - Jenny Schwartz

Last month, I voted for a book on Kindle Scout that I thought would be entertaining. This book! It had many appealing elements that I look for in a book. Historical fiction (in a sense), a bit of mystery and suspense, easy romance, and great location. I've read several of Jenny Schwartz's books, my favorite being The Icarus Plot. Unfortunately, the book wasn't picked up for publication. Bummer. I really hoped it would've been. I like Schwartz's books and I adore Jenny as a personable author. She cares about her books and her readers. Schwartz is always happy to gab about her latest offering, generously shares updates, and is quick to answer any question I may throw at her. Jenny Schwartz is a happy, positive person. So, her books make me happy. Sky Garden was a great read and exactly what I've come to expect from Schwartz. A good, fun read!! I loved the unique location of the sky garden. Frankly, I've never really given much thought to rooftop gardens and the happiness they must create for those surrounded by a concrete jungle. A nifty location for romance to...blossom.


Lanie Briers was lucky. She escaped a sadistic serial killer with her sanity intact but is still consumed with fear. To protect those she loves, she distances herself and reinvents her life. A safe life. That is, until Nick Tawes stumbles up her stairwell late one evening. Nick is there to film his latest project, a sky garden on the rooftop of the Horry Museum. Nick is surprised to find the residential flat on the roof, with the attractive Lanie inside. It'll have to do. Nick and crew will work around this obstacle. Lanie is having none of this arrangement. She likes her quiet flat and the safety it provides from prying eyes. Lanie vows to stop Nick in his tracks. Ironically, what seperates Lanie and Nick in the beginning may very well unite them in the end.

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review 2016-01-10 07:42
After You by Jojo Moyes
After You - Jojo Moyes

Umm. Had it's really great moments. I did the Audible version narrated by Anna Acton, who did a fine job. I listened at the 1x speed. Got bored and tried to adjust speed but even at a fraction higher it just didn't work. Acton sounds much better at 1x. Anyway, the story. Good things. Blah things. I spent a good portion utterly, utterly bored and mildly depressed and I'm not sure that's considered an enjoyable reading experience. There's a bloke of an arsehole in the story named Richard and he kind of sum's it up best for me (I'm too lazy to quote the quote) when he asks Louisa if this is really how her life is. (Again, he says something along those lines.) I can't give much away to those who haven't read the first book, Me Before You. Overall, it's a decent sequel. Has it's redeeming moments. Quite a few. Just takes a while to happen. I might even say this is more of a 3 and 1/2 star.

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