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review 2020-06-03 13:01
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster - Scott Wilbanks

by Scott Wilbanks

 

Oh my, where do I start? This is a time travel book, my favorite subject, with an interesting selection of misfit characters. As far as the mechanism for time travel goes, it's a simple magic door, or actually a more complex magic door than the usual, but we're only given hints about how it actually works.

 

It starts out in 1895 with some rough city life and the leader of a sandlot gang being warned to flee, though we don't yet know why. The gang are pickpockets and scrounge food in an almost Dickensian situation, only they're in Kansas City. Then we move out into the country in Kansas and still in 1895 and meet Elsbeth Grundy. She owns a farm, but one day finds a house on her back 40 and writes the occupant a letter of complaint.

 

The letter is received by Annabelle Aster, only she lives in 1995 San Francisco and sees the farmhouse as an intruder into her back yard in her own time and location. There was an anomaly about other girls swooning over David Cassidy when Annie was growing up, which seemed to be in the wrong era, but otherwise so far so good.

 

Annabelle writes back to Elsbeth, explaining her side of things and the story begins to develop into something that becomes very interesting and intricate. Annie shows the farm to her best friend, Christian, who has his own strange experiences of repeatedly seeing a face in a crowd. On one occasion time seems to slow down while this is occurring, then speeds up again.

 

There's a great quote in reference to dumbing down writing: "Never lower yourself for others. Make them rise to you. Whether they can or not is their burden, not yours."

 

The writing for this story is very good and I considered giving it the full 5 stars, but a few things towards the end could use some clarification and I had to stretch belief a little far concerning something about the bad guy's sidekick.

 

The story did include an excellently written high tension climax, some very creative methods of self defence and the most erotic kiss I've ever read, ever! The erotica writers could take some lessons from this.

 

I'm being careful about saying too much about the plot because part of the joy of reading this story was discovering the intricate connections along the way. It involves a stage magician, a murder, some rough business dealings and hiding a baby in time. I found it all very original and absorbing and pretty much read the second half of the book in one sitting.

 

In places it feels like a nice story of friendships between women, or an in-depth look at flexible morality issues, or a high action story of intrigue. There's something of everything in there and plenty of mystery to boot. Most importantly, it was a great read and will leave me remembering the characters for some time to come. I'll also be keeping an eye out for anything else written by this author.

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review 2020-05-14 21:29
A Touch of Gold
A Touch of Gold - Annie Sullivan

I waffled on 2 or 3 stars, but honestly I was bored out of my mind for the most part while reading this, so 2 stars it is. I liked the idea of a story focusing on King Midas's daughter, but everything with the pirates, the power of her touch, etc. just dragged. I think the world building could have been better (we hear about Dionysus, but what about the other gods) and also Kora's supposed power. The romances felt pretty weak too. 

 

"A Touch of Gold" tells the story of what happened to King Midas after he got the power to turn things to gold. Hugging his daughter he turns her to gold. When he begs Dionysus for help, he is told to wash everything into the ocean/sea (I can't remember) and do it for everything that he turned to gold. King Midas does, and he restores his daughter Kora back to living flesh. However, he forgets a few items and is cursed forever, she is too, she is a golden maiden brought to life. Ten years later we follow Kora as she has another potential groom paraded in front of her. When she finally thinks she has met someone who can stand to be around her, her father's gold is stolen which leaves him incapacitated. Kora and her cousin Hettie go on a wild adventure to save Kora's father and the kingdom.

 

I did like Kora, I just wish we had spent more time with her before we find her as a young adult and then dealing with her mooning a bit over the first of the two romantic potentials in this book. She did get more interesting as a character towards the end though. Her cousin Hettie was a delight and I think this would have been a 5 star book if it focused on her. 

 

The two romantic heroes were blah. Sorry, I didn't like either of them though the twist with one of them I did not see coming. 


The writing was a bit off for me since the dialogue was dry. I just needed something more going on there. I just needed more thing to be happening besides Kora reading a diary, feeling romantic, and eavesdropping. 

 

 

The setting of the book really didn't feel like it took place in one of the Greek myths I read as a kid. It's weird that at times the book read as modern or in another part of the world other than where King Midas's story was drawn from which I think is considered modern day Asia Turkey. 

 

The ending leaves a potential wrinkle in Kora's future which is why I assume there is a second book in this series. 

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review 2020-05-02 06:21
Married to my Boss: A Secret Baby Romance by: Annie J. Rose
Married to my Boss: A Secret Baby Romance - Annie J. Rose

 

 

 

Drew and Asia walk a fine line between sinfully, sexy and heart-achingly real. That makes for a tempestuous kind of romance. Married to my Boss has alot of baggage to work it's way through. Rose battle six years of secrets and distance plus one huge surprise. Slowly these characters wiggle their way into your heart without you having even realized that they have done so.

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text 2020-05-01 21:19
#FridayReads--May 1, 2020
A Week at the Shore - Barbara Delinsky
Her Perfect Life - Rebecca Taylor
A Touch of Gold - Annie Sullivan

Happy May the 1st!

 

And we are about to end 7 weeks in lockdown (some of us anyway).

 

Hope you have some books to get you through the weekend.


My books are:

 

A Week at the Shore, Her Perfect Life, and A Touch of Gold. 

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review 2020-04-10 21:31
Charming and warm
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows

It is odd, but for all this book made me cry, I laughed too, and it left me happy. It very much IS a feel good book.

For all the bleak things that the anecdotes in these letters tell you about, there is warmth and humanity underpinning them. Through bombings, gun enforced curfews, children sent away for years, captives and capturers starving alongside, and concentration camps, there are books, and there is friendship, and dignity, and courage.

 

I don't know that it is a perfect book, or even that the plot is that tight (what plot), but there is a bunch of lovely and strange, and even ridiculous, characters being good friends and sharing the good and the bad, all because of books and one absent woman. And that's good. It feels cathartic, and lovely. It's... restorative.

 

I quite enjoyed the experience and I'm glad I took the recommendation.

 

And hey, I got a new favorite poem, because of this first stanza quoted (and I don't usually even enjoy poetry much, but this one resonates)

 

IS it so small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes;

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