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review 2018-03-17 00:02
Catarina's Ring
Catarina's Ring - Lisa McGuinness

Catarina Pensebene grew up in Italy's farming country.  Her life was filled with olive groves, hard work, good food and a large, loving family.  When Catarina is put to work as a maid for another family, she attracts the attention of the husband and is almost raped.  Salvation comes in the form of a letter from the United States.  A family friend is asking for Catarina's hand in marriage for their son, Franco.  Catarina gains the courage to leave her home and her family in order to travel to America and marry a man she only knew in her youth.  Making the best of the life she now leads, Catarina finds love with Franco and his family, she dutifully passes on her life lessons along with the ring Franco made for her to her daughter and granddaughter.  Years later, Catarina's granddaughter, Juliette decides to escape to Italy after a tragedy.  Juliette calls upon the strength of her grandmother to get through heartbreak and find the courage to follow her dream and open her own Italian restaurant. 

Beautiful scenery and intriguing plot immersed me into both Catarina and Juliette's stories.  I am a sucker for dual time stories and I loved that I knew the connection between Juliette and Catarina from the beginning, but not the full importance of the ring.  I felt a strong connection to each character; I experienced the struggle of Catarina's decision as she weighed leaving her home for a new land and fiance, as well as her resolve in being happy and making love grow.  Juliette's experience began in tragedy, however Italy was a wonderful place to recuperate.  I was brought into the sights, smells and food as Juliette cooked her way to recovery.  I enjoyed that Juliette also found solace in her Grandmother's letters, the shared experiences through time and the bond of the ring deepened their links. Overall, an emotional and enchanting story of love, lessons, loss and family.

This book was received in exchange for an honest review. 

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text 2018-02-02 12:58
The Fellowship of the Ring - 63%
The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien,Robert Inglis

"No, indeed," said Elrond, turning towards him with a smile. "You at least shall go with him. It is hardly possible to separate you from him, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not."

Sam sat down, blushing and muttering. "A nice pickle we've landed ourselves in, Mr. Frodo," he said, shaking his head.

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review 2018-01-24 02:04
A Ring For Christmas
A Ring for Christmas (Meghan’s Playhouse Book 4) - Adriana Kraft
Title: A Ring For Christmas
Author: Adriana Kraft
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Series: Meghan's Playhouse Book 4
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five

"A Ring For Christmas" by Adriana Kraft

My Thoughts....

Will Meghan be able to help her friend Lisa while she is in Las Vegas with a big secret that hadn't told to her boyfriend two years? What will happen after Bryce finds out about this secret? How will he respond? What will happen when the three [Meghan, Bryce & Lisa] meet up? Will it be one sweet ride? I don't want to spoil it and tell all so you will have to pick up "A Ring for Christmas" by this author to get all of these questions answered. So, if you are into these kinds of exotic reads you will love this novella.
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review 2017-12-23 03:44
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Vol 1) (Audiobook)
The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien,Rob Inglis

The only "unabridged" audio recording of FOTR, my aunt Lobelia! WHERE IS THE PROLOGUE?!!!! That is not only a part of the book but contains some important information for the story you're about to read. Why the fiddlesticks would you leave that out and then call it unabridged? Tricksy, filthy editorses. We hates them, precious.


Ok, I don't hate them, but the point still stands. No tea for them!


It's been too long since I've reread LOTR, and Fellowship is still as awesome as I remember. I really don't get why people think this book is slow or too wordy or hard to read. Black riders, the Conspiracy, Old Man Willow, the barrow-downs, "A Knife in the Dark" and "The Flight to the Ford," the forming of the Fellowship, Caradhras, Moria, the balrog, the breaking of the Fellowship, and of course the scariest creature of them all: Tom Bombadil. :D It's got it all: fun, good times to kick off the adventure, suspense, horror, action, FRIENDSHIP.


"But it does not seem I can trust anyone," said Frodo.


Sam looked at him unhappily. "It all depends on what you want," put in Merry. "You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin - to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours - closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo."


Is it any wonder that I, introverted and socially awkward, fell for the hobbits so hard? I could only dream about having friends like that, and the hobbits had them in spades. And is it any wonder why Sam would become my favorite character of all time, not just of this book but of anything ever? He's the only one of the company who isn't any form of nobility or influence, and yet he'll go on to play one of the most crucial parts of the War of the Ring, and he's just super loyal and awesome and squishable. He totally fanboys over the Elves when he finally meets them and comes away with a new understanding of them and his purpose, and literally grows up overnight.


"Do you like them still, now you have had a closer view?"


"They seem a bit above my likes and dislikes, so to speak," answered Sam slowly. "It don't seem to matter what I think about them. They are quite different from what I expected - so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were." ... "I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can't turn back. It isn't to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want - I don't rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me."




I adore everything this book chooses to be (minus that whackadoo in yellow boots). Tolkien does so much in such a short space of time, setting up all their characters, all their relationships with each other, constantly raising the stakes and the tension. The Mines of Moria - that chapter is insane. Every time you think things can't possibly get worse - THEY DO. The writing in LOTR is levels above that in The Hobbit, and the characterizations are instantly deep and complex.


This is my favorite book, and favorite movie because I would never have read the books if the movie hadn't been so awesome. I had very few issues with the movie - Frodo being reduced a dude who falls down a lot and Arwen stealing his thunder at the Ford of Bruinen being most of the list. (The lists get longer as the movies go on.) I'm not sorry about losing Bombadil, but I was super bummed about losing the barrow-downs as a result because that chapter is nightmare fuel personified, and it's the first time that Frodo gets to show that seed of courage at the heart of all hobbits, and it was really important that this happened before they met Strider because it gives him a chance to be tested before they have their big bad bodyguard around to help them. And considering PJ gave his moment at the Ford of Bruinen to Arwen, all we get to see him do in the movie before the breaking of the Fellowship is react to things. It's the Hermoine-effect - building up one character to the detriment of another. I love that they gave Arwen screen time, but they could've done that and let Frodo have his moment of awesome.


Anyway, before I write an entire essay:


Rob Inglis's narration is great again. I love being able to hear the songs, and he has a pleasant singing voice. Some of his pronunciations of the names and places are off, but that will only bother the nitpicks. ... Which is so not me. *whistles innocently and strolls away*


But yeah, missing prologue. 1/2 star off.

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review 2017-12-09 00:00
The Gold Ring: the Fifth Day
The Gold Ring: the Fifth Day - Caroline ... The Gold Ring: the Fifth Day - Caroline Lee No one writes a tough-as-nails but with a soft, gooey center hero like Caroline Lee. Draven and Pearl are my favorite couple of the series so far. They are like a two piece puzzle; individually they look broken but when they fit together they are totally whole.
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