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review 2020-01-17 03:48
The Forgotten Rom
The Forgotten Room: A Novel - Beatriz Williams,Lauren Willig,Karen White
There are three actual stories in this book but they all have one common thread. That common subject lies in a building, which has had many purposes over the years, if only the walls of that building could talk.
I liked the idea of how this huge building served many purposes over the years. The history that this building contained and how it served others was fascinating. To think, how many people walked and in-and-out of its doors intrigued me. Then, to read how the three women in this novel were also connected to this building, just added more significance to the structure. I had to wonder if there were any standing building today that have these same traits. Hum?
Anyways, back to the book. Following a trio of women, we crisscross over three different time periods (1892, 1920, and 1944) which I found confusing at times as I couldn’t keep everyone straight. These women are all from the same family, just years apart, which made it more confusing to me. I finally wrote everyone’s name down on a piece of paper and drew arrows to keep individuals separated as the romance in this novel adds even more complications.
Somehow over the years, these three women find their way back to New York, to this same building yet they’re there for different reasons. As the novel comes together, you’ll find out what ties them all together.
It’s a mystery that covers many generations. With strong-minded women and a terrific setting this book provided for me an interesting read. 3.5 stars


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review 2019-10-18 00:00
Dreams of Falling
Dreams of Falling - Karen White 2.5 Stars

A romance novel set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina where life long friendships, love and family secrets are at the heart of this novel.

Romance novels are not my cup of tea and while this was an ok read unfortunately Its not one for my my real life bookshelf.

I was drawn in by the premise of the Novel as family secrets and big houses tend to get my reading juices flowing but Dreams of Falling was a long winded romance novel that became predictable and a wee bit cheesy for my liking.

The story is set in two timeframes one in the 1950s and the other in present day and while the 1950s story is readable and interesting, the present day one was monotonous and drawn out.

While this book wasn’t a good fit for me I do think readers of romance novels may enjoy this one better.
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review 2019-10-01 20:19
The Glass Ocean
The Glass Ocean - Beatriz Williams,Lauren Willig,Karen White
Sarah Blake is a best selling author who needs a new idea for a book.  Her finances are in dire need after spending the money from her first book on care for her mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer's.  Sarah decides to look into her own family history for inspiration, a chest of belongings from her great-grandfather, Patrick Houlihan a porter aboard the Lusitania.  Patrick's effect lead to another passenger, Robert Langford and a conspiracy that might change history.  Sarah sets off to find Robert's great-grandson, John Langford.  Finding John is an easy task since he is currently a disgraced politician being hounded by the press.  Sarah tries her luck with asking John about his family and finds more than she bargained for with John and his family.
In 1915, aboard the Lusitania with Patrick and Robert are Mr. and Mrs. Hochstetter.  Caroline Hochstetter is the owner of an unknown Strauss Waltz that her husband, Gilbert has found a buyer for.  Caroline is reluctant to sell the beautiful piece of music, but trusts her husband, even though he is being secretive and distant lately.  Also aboard, are Ginny and Tess, sisters and con-artists who are there to make a copy of the Waltz and sell it abroad. Tess wants out of the con game and decides to trust Robert with her secret.  Upon doing so, Tess and Caroline find out that nobody is truly who she thought and everyone is hiding something.  Before anyone can confront anyone else, the Lusitania sinks and the secrets are taken into the ocean.
The Glass Ocean is an exciting and intriguing historical mystery that pulled me in with interesting characters, an intense plot and fascinating setting.  Written by three authors and told from three different points of view, this dual-time story meshes together perfectly.  I am a huge fan of dual time stories, so The Glass Ocean really hit the spot for me.  Caroline, Tess and Sarah are all wonderfully developed characters who possess different strengths of character and are all attempting to find the best way to use those strengths.  I was very pleased that the connection between Caroline and Tess in 1915 and Sarah in 2013 was more about a shared struggle than blood relation.  Usually in dual time stories, I find myself being pulled more into the historical side of the story, I was pleasantly surprised that I cared equally about both the past and present sides of this story.  I loved learning more about the Lusitania and the many conspiracies her voyage played a part in during World War I.  Through Tessa and Caroline I was able to envision the many decks, staterooms and conditions for passengers as well as the many different dishes they were served at various mealtimes.  Most impressively done was complex plot of the Strauss Waltz, the hidden formulas and the spy espionage aboard the ship. With masterful writing, The Glass Ocean is one of my favorite reads this year.  I hope that these three authors continue to create together.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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review 2019-04-25 16:15
All I Want
All I Want (Animal Magnetism) - Jill Shalvis,Karen White
Animal Magnetism, Book 7

I Picked Up This Book Because: Finish this wonderful series.
The Characters:

Zoe Stone:
Parker James:
Darcy, Parker’s sister whose name I can’t remember right now

The Story:

Parker and Zoe have chemistry from the first page but they spend a lot of time denying it for various reasons. Fortunately between the chaos of a crazy man, a home in need of repair, a goofy fluffball of a dog and wild kittens they manage to get it together.

I’ve so enjoyed my time in Sunshine, Idaho and am sad to leave. The couples, people and animals of this town are a delight.

The Random Thoughts:

I found Parker’s name distracting but only because he shares it with one of my coworkers.

The Score Card:


4 Stars
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review 2018-11-20 02:46
A meandering mess of vaguely dog-related memoirs.
You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness - Julie Klam,Karen White,Karen White

From the Publisher's Site:

Julie Klam was thirty, single, and working as a part-time clerk in an insurance company, wondering if she would ever meet the man she could spend the rest of her life with. And then it happened. She met the irresistible Otto, her first in a long line of Boston terriers, and fell instantly in love.


You Had Me at Woof is the often hilarious and always sincere story of how one woman discovered life's most important lessons from her relationships with her canine companions. From Otto, Julie realized what it might feel like to find "the one." She learned to share her home, her heart, and her limited resources with another, and she found an authentic friend in the process. But that was just the beginning. Over the years her brood has grown to one husband, one daughter, and several Boston terriers. And although she had much to learn about how to care for them—walks at 2 a.m., vet visits, behavior problems—she was surprised and delighted to find that her dogs had more wisdom to convey to her than she had ever dreamed. And caring for them has made her a better person—and completely and utterly opened her heart.


Riotously funny and unexpectedly poignant, You Had Me at Woof recounts the hidden surprises, pleasures, and revelations of letting any mutt, beagle, terrier, or bulldog go charging through your world.


Spend much time around this blog and you'll know I'm a sucker for dogs -- real or fictional -- if a book has a strong dog element in it, I'm sold. This should've been right up my alley. I expected to really dig it -- but the reality didn't match my expectation.


These meandering personal essays/memoirs are organized by lessons taught by various dogs, sure, but they didn't seem as well-organized as those from similar books by Dave Barry or David Rosenfelt (or maybe it's just guys named David that think like this). I didn't think the voice was very consistent throughout -- I frequently couldn't tell if I was supposed to be laughing with Klam or at her. Or maybe I shouldn't have been laughing at all. I didn't find a lot to relate to -- or even grab on to -- in some of the anecdotes, other than a sense of pity for the two-legged individuals in her family and life. (that came out a little harsher than I intended, but I'm sticking with it).


I can't point at anything in particular -- other than her unessential and unsubtle celebrity name-dropping -- that I didn't like. I guess I found the thing too unfocused, too inconsistent, and not enough about the actual dogs. It seemed to be more about her in relation to various dogs. To an extent that's true with the aforementioned books by the various David's, too -- but I don't think it's as much about them (although, I never wondered who I was supposed to be laughing at with them).


Is it possible that my problems with the book are in the narration? Sure, a lot of it comes down to understanding Klam's voice, and Karen White's interpretation of that could be affecting me enough to not appreciate the book. But I don't think so -- I can't imagine an audiobook director or publisher is going to let something that disconnected from the text be produced, and White seemed to match the text and context with what she was doing. Granted that's hard to know without reading the text independently, but I don't care that much. If the text is really that slippery, that's on Klam anyway, not White.


Oh, here's something I really appreciated about the book -- Klam talks at least twice about dog owners who will replace a beloved pet with one of the same breed and general appearance and give it the same name (sometimes several times). This answers a question I asked a couple of weeks ago. Even knowing this is a thing that people who aren't Robert B. Parker or Robert B. Parker characters do, it's still messed up. Happily, Klam agrees.


The concluding anecdote was good -- maybe a bit too much, really -- but it was sweet. And the section about dealing with the death (expected or not) of a dog was really strong. That's why I'm not listing this as 2 Stars or fewer. There's some really decent writing here, but the voice was inconsistent, the whole thing felt too self-serving, and . . . well, there's just something intangible that happens between the reader and the text, and I just didn't like this one. It's not a bad book, per se. But it's not a good one.


2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/19/you-had-me-at-woof-audiobook-by-julie-klam-karen-white-a-meandering-mess-of-vaguely-dog-related-memoirs
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