logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: general-non-fiction
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-20 23:04
Evening Stars (Blackberry Island #3) by Susan Mallery
Evening Stars - Susan Mallery

This is a story about Nina and her weird, sometimes dysfunctional family. Nina is the lead nurse and right hand woman to Dr. Andi from book two. Nina had dreams of medical school and leaving the island, but family issues convinced her to choose nursing school and staying to help take care of her family and the family business (antiques). So Nina pushes her sister to leave the island and explore her dreams, but that leaves Averil at almost 30 with a lot of unanswered questions and stunted maturity which leaves her marriage to a great guy in jeopardy. To help her move on and become an adult, Averil returns home and old wounds are re-opened but are actually dealt with by Averil and Nina (not so much the mom). 

 

Added to Nina's plate is the return of her high school sweetheart Dylan. He broke her heart and she gave up on her dreams after that. He is back to go into practice with his father and to try and win back Nina. Complicating that is Kyle, a Navy fighter pilot who had a huge crush on Nina when he was a kid and she was babysitting his little sister. Kyle is a smooth talker and according to Nina, a sex god - according to me he came off as CREEPY AS FUCK. Seriously, everything he said was a line or a dramatic declaration of undying love. I'm glad Nina got her needs taken care of by him, but slow your roll dude. He walked the devoted/stalker line every time he was on the page. 

 

I read this book in one day, because there was a good mix of plot and character arc development. I'm firmly on Team Bertie - she was the unsung hero of the book, with a honorable mention to Cindy, the antique miracle worker.  Also loved Nina's ending, giving a strong HEA vibe without engagement/marriage/baby mentions that typically end a romance novel.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-20 22:23
Three Sisters (Blackberry Island #2) by Susan Mallery
Three Sisters (A Blackberry Island Novel) - Susan Mallery

I did enjoy this book, but not as much as I did books one and three. The title refers to the three Queen Anne style homes that sit on a hill on the island. 

 

House on the left is home to Deanna and her family. On the outside they are a picture of polished perfection; internal strife among the family is starting to crack the façade. Deanna had a shitty childhood and deals with her insecurities via her undiagnosed OCD. Her life is spinning out of control and she honestly wants to change, but is very isolated.

 

House on the left is home to Boston and her husband. They are still grieving the sudden death of their baby and drifting apart. Boston channels her artistic ability into creating and recreating images of her baby. Her husband is mean to her on purpose or drinks a lot as his coping mechanism. Honestly Zeke could go fuck right off the planet and I would cheered. 

 

House in the middle is a run down, ready for Halloween all year round fixer upper. As the book starts, Andi is the new proud owner of said house of Halloween and is doing a total gut of the inside and clean up of the outside. She is a pediatrician and wants to open her own practice on the ground floor of her home, then live in the other two levels. She was stood up at the altar by a guy she dated for ten years, but his name is erased from her mind at the sight of her contractor's fine butt. 

 

Over time, the three women grow close (awkward moments early in the friendship made it feel more realistic and less like a sorority) and reach out to each other when the men fuck up (looks at Zeke). There is a lot of wine drinking in this story. Deanna's mental condition is treated by medication and her family dynamics are treated by a therapist. Again, something that in regular romance would have been cured by an orgasm or two is actually dealt with honestly and with grace in this book. Boston drew courage from Deanna's change and started moving forward in a healthy way as well. Both of these character's arcs were wonderful to watch unfold.

 

Then there was Andi's arc - the author made her a TSTL sex kitten a little past the half way mark and her ending was so typical of the run of the mill contemporary romance genre. In the second half of the book she just got on my last damn nerve. Still her meeting with her ex-fiancé was great to read. But the rest of her story was crap.

 

I went into reading the third book soon after finishing this book, so Andi's arc issues didn't sour the story overall and I wanted more Blackberry Island life. Appearance by Michelle from book one was fun to read.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-20 21:55
Barefoot Season (Blackberry Island #1) by Susan Mallery
Barefoot Season (Blackberry Island) - Susan Mallery

I loved this book. It is definitely going on my best of list for this year. This is going to be nothing but a love fest of a review.

 

Michelle is back home in Blackberry Island (located off the coast of Seattle and in the Pugent Sound) after being wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan (the book only mentions "the desert") - she is home to rehab her hip and claim her inheritance, the Blackberry Island Inn. She is in pain, has crippling PTSD, and soon realizes that her inheritance is more a PITA than her hip. She is snarly, adjusting poorly to civilian life, and is drinking heavily to help her deal with everything.

 

Carly is the manager, jill-of-all-trades of Blackberry Island Inn. She and Michelle have a twisted history, and she is struggling to take care of her 9 year old daughter and run the inn now that the trustee of the inn is deceased - Michelle's mom Brenda. 

 

Michelle and Carly are trying to rise above their shitty childhoods and fucked up family dynamics; together, they help each other get a really good place in their lives at the end. Oh, but that journey is a minefield of past hurts, truths long buried, and one bank manager who holds onto grudges for more than a decade. There are romantic elements, mostly on Carly's end as Michelle's romantic relationship started off with the grumpiest former Army sniper trying to help her deal with her shit from three deployments.

 

What I love is that Michelle is not a SEAL, Delta Force, Ranger, SOF or anything - she was a supply troop! But the nature of war has changed; no longer is the super duper elite macho types getting killed, but anyone could be blown away by an IED or sniper fire. I loved to see women vets in romance, even better when they are given such a realistic portrayal like in this book. Also this book showcased what PTSD really looks like for women vets and no magic peen was used to "cure" Michelle. Instead she got into a vet support group, got on some medication, and stopped drinking so heavily (her drinking was a coping mechanism and not alcoholism, but she still watches what and how much she drinks). And she rehabbed a neglected/abused dog, giving her purpose - this happens in the real world and there are vet groups designed to give emotional support dogs to vets to help them recover. 

 

Seriously recommend. I was so glad I decided to request all three books from ILL so I could start book two right after finishing this book.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-13 05:37
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
How to Find Love in a Bookshop - Veronica Henry

The title's a pretty strong implication of romance, but it's not, strictly speaking, a romance novel.  Left to standard categorical labels, I'd call this more a blend of contemporary and chick-lit with a strong thread of love throughout.

 

The story follows the lives of half a dozen people, 4 of whom have their lives altered by their connection to the village bookshop, Nightingale Books.  Emilia is the only daughter of the recently passed owner, determined to carry on and keep the doors open in spite of the uphill battle.  Sarah is the lady of the manor house and is the poster child for silent suffering; her daughter Alice is lightness personified but dreadfully naive.  Jackson is a man with a good heart and the victim of his own lack of courage and conviction, who gets himself stuck doing something distasteful.  Thomasina is a painfully shy introvert who crushes on the cheese monger she met in the cookbook section.

 

They all have different stories, and their stories involve the stories of others.  Some are painfully predictable (mostly the falling-in-love ones) but some are more complicated, with the author choosing to take the story in an unexpected, or at least atypical, direction. For me, Emilie's story was the most compelling and the reason I kept reading - I wanted to know about the bookshop!  It sounded magical, perfect and I wanted to know what happened to it.  But everyone else's story was good too.  ;-)

 

It was an easy, enjoyable read.  Almost a beach read, but not.  There are a lot of painful moments scattered throughout, especially at the start when there are a few chapters that take place in the past, building up the world that's crashing down in the present; sniffly moments.  Maybe good for the beach if you remember to pack tissues in your beach bag.  Just in case.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-09 19:31
A History of Canada in Ten Maps (Shoalts)
A History of Canada in Ten Maps: Epic Stories of Charting a Mysterious Land - Adam Shoalts

This work of popular history by a young man who is a "modern explorer" himself is understandably chiefly centred around exploration maps of territory now within Canada's boundaries. It has a fairly informal tone, but full scholarly apparatus. I enjoyed the thoughtful preface and afterword material, and the summaries of the exploits of various famous explorers were highly readable, with many interesting anecdotes. I also thought the tone successfully avoided any suggestion of hero-worship, and also acknowledged in a timely way the major contributions of named and described indigenous allies and collaborators, some of whom, as expedition members, ventured nearly as far away from their homes as the Europeans or Canadians they assisted. The main disappointment of the volume is one that was presumably out of the author's control: the reproductions of the maps, although coloured and glossy, are constrained to too small a size by the book's standard format to be really enjoyed. A coffee-table format would have been better (but probably too expensive). One of the chief victims of this shortcoming is the Thomson map (one I am very familiar with, having worked alongside the original for many years), but that huge, faded map would likely have been chiefly illegible even in a much larger reproduction: it is largely illegible close up, in its original.

 

This is not groundbreaking history, nor is it really cartographic analysis, though there is some discussion of the history and techniques of cartography in the preliminaries. It's a sesquicentennial project, aimed at a general audience, and, if my quite vivid recent memories of its tales about the Vikings, about Cartier and Champlain and Hearne and Mackenzie and Thomson and Franklin, are any indication, it has certainly done its job of raising awareness of the role exploration and mapping played in the early definition of the boundaries of the state we now call Canada. The roles of other forces (war, politics and statecraft) are, legitimately I think, largely left aside. As others have remarked, the one chapter on the Fort Erie battle during the war of 1812 seems a little forced and out of place. But then military history is not something I read with pleasure in any case.

 

Shoalts also seems to be quite an interesting guy, and I recommend a browse through his website after finishing this book.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?