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review 2017-04-30 03:56
What Amanda Wants
More Than Words, Volume 2 - Debbie Macomber,Sharon Sala,Jasmine Cresswell

In continuing with rereading the Blossom Street Series by Debbie Macomber I read the short story "What Amanda Wants" in this book.  This story by Debbie Macomber continues along with the Blossom Street series right after the second book, A Good Yarn. Some of the Characters introduced in A Good Yarn are also in this story.  

 

This book contains 5 short stories about inspiring women.  What Amanda Wants is a story about a teenager who finds out her cancer has come back and this time it is worse than before.  She misses out on a lot of things that teenagers look forward to like dances and graduation.  Her friends drift away because they don't know what to do or say.  This isn't just a sad story though and Lydia that owns the yarn store, A good Yarn, wants to help. Read the story to find out how she makes a difference.  

 

That story is also in the book called Stories of the Heart by Debbie Macomber (Goodreads Author), Brenda Novak (Goodreads Author), Meryl Sawyer 

ISBN 0373837690 (ISBN13: 9780373837694)

 

The other stories are also very good.  I've read them before but this time I'm just reading the first one that is part of the Blossom Street series.  The first time I read this book and then swapped it.  I had to get another copy and this time I'm keeping it. 

 

 

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review 2017-04-27 23:39
Just starting here and rereading the Blossom Street Series
The Shop on Blossom Street - Debbie Macomber

I just learned about this website today and it is definitely right up my alley.  I read all the time.  I have chronic pain and other health issues so reading is my escape.  I started a regular blog on blogger but I haven't been keeping up with it.  I realized it is because I haven't been into anything but reading lately.  

 

I just learned about Hoopla digital a few days ago and downloaded it.  Since then, I have listened to two audio books.  I found the audio book for the book I just finished reading and listened to it.  I really don't like abridged audio books but I don't mind so much when I've read the books before.  

 

I decided to reread the Blossom Street Series by Debbie Macomber.  I really enjoyed the first several (maybe 6?) books I had and I've read them multiple times.  I got to Hannah's List and just couldn't get interested in that one.  I loved all the others before that one, especially Susannah's Garden.  I recently noticed that there were more books to the series that I missed so I picked them up.  I decided to start back at the beginning and read my way through again or listen to the audio books available through the library.  Now I use Fictfact.com to keep track of my series.  

 

The Shop on Blossom Street

 

I feel a real connection with Lydia in this series.  I haven't had cancer but I identify so much with a lot of what she says.  In the very beginning when she is trying to get her older sister to understand what she is going through she said it was as if her sister thought she had chosen to have cancer.  That is also how I feel about my family or friends sometimes. Either they think I should just deal with it, smile and think about puppies and rainbows and I'll be all better, or they think I'm just being weak and whining too much.  No one really understood or seemed willing to listen.  Lydia's sister Margaret finally comes around though.  First, she had her own cancer scare when a lump was found in her breast. Lydia went with her to the follow-up appointment and everything ended up okay.  Then, Lydia had another cancer scare.  Another tumor had formed and had to be removed. Her sister was with her through that and seemed to grow a heart.  I won't say more about this as I don't want to spoil the story for anyone.  

 

In this book, Lydia decided to open a yarn store as her affirmation of life.  She opened the shop with an apartment upstairs using inheritance money from her grandmother. She decided to have a knitting class to draw people into the store, the first project being a baby blanket.  The pattern for that blanket is in the front of the book and I started it.  Maybe I'll finish it someday.  

 

Three very different women signed up for the class.  Lydia wasn't sure the class was going to go well since 2 of the women kept butting heads.  They grew on each other though and ended up becoming very close friends.  I really like Alix because she reminds me of myself.  She is an individual who likes to be different.  Alix wears black and has purple spiked hair.  She is a bit rough around the edges since she had a rough childhood.  

 

Carol decided to sign up for the class when she saw they were making a baby blanket. She wanted desperately to be a mother but so far hadn't been able to carry a pregnancy to term.  She decided this was a sign from God that she was going to need a baby blanket for her child.  

 

Jacqueline is a high society woman who is used to being catered to. She isn't happy about her son's choice for a wife and now they are expecting a baby.  She was hoping her son would come to his senses, realize his mistake and escape from that sham of a marriage.  A baby complicates things though.  Her husband doesn't understand her problem with their daughter in law and encourages her to take the knitting class to make a blanket for their granddaughter.  

 

These three women, so different but all with the same goal, attend the class determined to master the challenge, even if they can't stand each other.  

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review 2017-04-05 17:42
Not a Sound
Not a Sound: A Novel - Heather Gudenkauf

By:  Heather Gudenkauf 

ISBN: 0778339998

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date:  5/30/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

**Top Books of 2017** 

 
I am utterly speechless! Brilliantly crafted . . . 5 Stars ++++ LOVED. Just finished this incredible and compelling book. It may take some time to get my heart rate back to normal. My nails will never be the same.

Heather Gudenkauf returns following Missing Pieces landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016 with her "Best Yet," NOT A SOUND. Hands down, this is the "best book I have read in 2017!" I have no doubt by year end, it will still be the best of the year.

As the book opens we meet ER nurse Amelia Winn, specialized in domestic abuse. She has a patient, Stacey and she is leaving. Amelia walks with her to the car and another car is barreling at them, full speed ahead, which ends in tragedy. An unsolved hit-and-run. (hopefully another book here . . . )

Flash forward two years later, Amelia has found herself deaf, jobless, and now separated from her doctor husband, David, her home and her seven-year-old stepdaughter, Nora.

Life has not been easy. She is not able to continue her career as a nurse, and suffers from alcoholism, since the accident.

She has moved to a cabin in the woods and spends her time on the river, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, and running with her service dog, Stitch. She is trying to rebuild her life.

Amelia delivers all her commands in Czech to Stitch. His former trainer Vilem was originally from Prague and trained all of his police and rescue dogs using Czech commands, including Stitch and Jake’s K-9.

Jake a childhood friend (her brother Andrew's best friend), now Detective and her best friend. He too has experienced tragedy in his life with his wife’s suicide four years earlier off the Five Mines Bridge. He has helped pull her out of the gutter.

Just when Amelia thinks she is getting her life back on track with a job interview at the hospital (a file clerk), not what she was trained to do, but a step back in the direction, she stumbles upon a dead body in the river that same morning. The body turns out to be a fellow nurse, Gwen.



There are only three ways to get to this remote Five Mines River location: by boat, by four-wheeler, or by foot. She cannot believe Gwen Locke is dead and she cannot help but think of her own accident two years ago, which she is not convinced was an accident, after all. They met being sexual assault nurse examiners. Could it be a rapist or an abusive boyfriend for husband looking for revenge?

What if Gwen’s murder and her attempted murder are connected? She and Gwen both treated patients who were abused by very bad people. Would it be a stretch to think they would come after the nurses who were trying to gather forensic evidence to put them in jail for a very long time? Now she is a witness.

Turns out Amelia had pushed everyone away during the two years after the accident while she spiraled down with the devil (alcohol). In looking at some old emails, Gwen had tried to reach out to her. They had been good friends once before she got hit by a car. Before she lost her hearing and abandoned her family and friends for alcohol. They had daughters about the same age.

Presently, Amelia has not had a drink in eighteen months and determined more than ever to get her life back in order to spend time with Nora.

Amelia is one tough cookie (love her) . . . and she soon suspects there is more than meets the eye with the murder. Crazy things begin happening. There are tons of suspects. However, she keeps her suspicions to herself, after Jake tells her to let them handle the case.

She becomes obsessed with finding the killer and begins her own investigation (she is some detective –no slouch here). Her dog Stitch was a gift from her friend Jake and he is always at her side as her loyal companion. Being deaf really sets her back, working with her handicap--especially with a killer on a loose and she may be next.

Without her hearing, she has to rely on her vision to gauge the world around her.

Pretty soon, she begins suspecting things are not as they appear at work, plus she finds herself doing all sorts of illegal things to gather information. She is determined whoever murdered Gwen, is out to get her next. She will not look the other way.
 

She has two choices when she gets the urge to drink.  The devil is calling her in the back of the cabinet (booze), or she can do what she does to make the urge pass.  Go for a run.  However, when it is dark, remote, and a killer on the loose, the two choices are not so great.  She chooses the darkness and lurking danger outside, over the bottle.


It the meantime, the only person near her is her closest neighbor, Evan who owns the Five Mines Outfitters. She now is dealing with Peter, someone from Gwen's past. An obsessive-compulsive quasi-stalker (used bookstore owner) who lives in his parent’s house and spends his free time in a garage, pasting news articles about his murdered ex-girlfriend into a scrapbook.
 


She cannot seem to wrap her head around all that has happened. Gwen’s death, her mysterious email, missing records at the hospital, David’s newfound interest in her, not to mention Jake’s; the break-in at her house, the condition of David’s boat, Peter’s strange behavior and his cryptic statement making her suspect her ex-husband.

None of this adds up and she must do more digging. Is she missing something? Something very wrong is going on. Could her doctor ex-husband be involved in a murder? Complex. 

Plus, someone is trying to discredit her by breaking into her house (using her past alcoholism), and setting her up. Someone is trying to cover their tracks, and she may be next on their list. The closer she gets to discovering the truth, she and Stitch find themselves in a complex dangerous web of deceit.

A huge fan of this talented author; have read all her books and enjoyed them immensely; however, this one is particularly powerful, compelling, explosive, intense, and emotional . . . as the author mentions, her most personal; referencing "Amelia is one of her most complicated endearing characters to-date."

If you can only read one (moving and emotional) crime thriller this year— this would be the ONE. There is so much here on a number of different levels. Yes, you need to pre-order ASAP and count yourself fortunate if you land an early reading copy. (I am beyond grateful).

Readers, you will fall in love with Amelia and Stitch (side kick service dog). The most courageous (and intelligent), strong-willed, and witty duo I have ever met between the pages. The duo tackles a powerful sociopath on their own. A whodunit on steroids.

Well-written, to give you an idea: A mix of Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, Amy Hatvany, Lisa Scottoline, Lisa Unger, Lisa Gardner (my other 2017 favorite), Jennifer Jaynes, and Michael and Daniel Palmer (medical thrillers), and of course the icing on the cake: Heather Gudenkauf's own signature trademark style. Top-Shelf.
 


Intricately plotted, fast-paced, memorable characters with realistic inner struggles; highly-charged subject matter, more twists than you can imagine . . . and the riveting taut suspense kept my heart beating non-stop (the scene by the riverbank in the snow) full blown, Tachycardia. This is what I call an "emotional thriller." I would not change one word.

As I mentioned in my comments while reading, I give first prize to Heather, for the "most catching" hook me, at first chapter ever. Jaw-dropping. It does not stop there. The same breakneck speed intensity continues to the explosive heart-pounding finale.

I can see why NOT A SOUND has received rave advance editorial praise. Believe every word. Impeccable research, from cancer, the medical profession, health care, whistleblowing, terminal illness, alcoholism, addiction, step-parenting, marriage, murder, domestic abuse, victims of violent crime, hearing impaired, service dogs, to so much more.

The setting, weather, and nature add to the mystery and intrigue. Reminded me of my days living in Big Canoe (North Georgia mountains) in my log cabin in the woods overlooking a lake; heavenly.

In addition, a huge medical thriller fan as well, and cancer is a topic close to my heart. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. A cautionary tale, (more realistic than we know), without saying too much - a timely subject.

I for one, hope we see more of Amelia and Stitch in future books. They are too good to end. If you have not read this author, what are you waiting for? A book to re-read and have also pre-ordered the audiobook (narrated by Julia Whelan).

Publishers Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
Heather Gudenkauf and Lisa Unger in Conversation

A very "special thank you" to Park Row Books and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/01/01/Not-a-Sound
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review 2017-03-24 14:53
Mama's Knight A Cancer Story of Love by Aurora Whittet
Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story of Love - Aurora Whittet

I would give this book 1000 stars if I could. As a cancer survivor this book is very special to me. My children were not small but were still young when I battled my cancer. I wish this book had of been round to share with them. The book will make a child feel special during a horrible time in their families life. The book is also kind of like a log, that you fill out. The Child is knighted as on the first pages. So they have a special place in the journey.

 

The story is from a Mama with cancer to their special Knight. To give them love and support as well as helping them to understand the battle. I cried while reading this book and am crying again as I write this. Cancer is a horrible time for anyone and their families. Children especially since they want to help but cannot.

 

Aurora Whittet has done an amazing job with this book. She can help so many families with her special story and by making every child feel special. This will also help the Mama's by giving them a way of helping them help their child through their harrowing journey.

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review 2017-02-20 22:01
Audio/Book Review of The Healer by Christoph Fischer
The Healer - Christoph Fischer

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her. Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons. casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her. Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

 

Review 4*

 

This is an intriguing psychological/medical thriller. I really enjoyed it!

 

I received a complimentary gift copy of this book in audio format from the author with no expectation of a positive review. This is my honest opinion.

 

This audiobook is narrated by Georgina Tate. She has a clear reading voice. Unfortunately, I was not keen on her reading style. She read the story in a jerky fashion in my opinion, taking unnecessary breaths in the middle of a sentence where no comma should be, and her pacing was a little too slow for my taste. She also did not modulate her voice or change her tone often, which made some sections rather monotonous. She also didn't even attempt to give the characters different tones or accents. This, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, as not many people can do accents. Nevertheless, it made me feel a little bored at times and I considered switching over to a different story. However, I persevered right until the end.

 

Erica Whittaker is an interesting character. She is a woman who has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. After a course of chemo that leaves her feeling extremely ill, she turns in desperation to a faith healer called Arpan, who has retired to the wilds of Wales, in an attempt to cure it.

 

I found myself intrigued with the storyline, which is told through the eyes of Erica. I also found some of the dialogue a bit clunky and repetitive, especially in the beginning where Erica first meets Arpan and tries to convince him to heal her. Arpan is an interesting character. He has retired from the limelight as a healer after a healing went wrong and his client died, which created a media circus. He is extremely reluctant to heal Erica and it's not until later in the story that one discovers the reason why. He also has an apprentice called Anuge (sorry, not sure of spelling). What got me curious about this situation is that if he's not practicing healing, why did he have an apprentice? Anyway, as the story unfolded, the mystery and suspense surrounding Arpan's apparent retirement comes to light when a drug company comes calling. I must admit there are several twists to this story that I didn't see coming, though I did have suspicions about a few things that I deduced correctly when they were revealed. The ending, however, left me feeling with a blend of surprise and disgust at how an innocent person can have their life ruined by either a potentially deadly mistake or a deliberate scam. The author has left the ending a little vague so a reader can make their own conclusion on this point.

 

Christoph Fischer is a relatively new author to me in that I've only read some of his short stories in an anthology he contributed to. Nevertheless, I love his writing style and, if I had read this book rather than listened to it, I think I would have enjoyed it better flow-wise. I would definitely read more of his books in the future.

 

Although there are no scenes of a sexual nature, violence or profane language, I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the dark subject matter. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love psychological or medical thrillers. - Lynn Worton

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