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review 2018-07-16 18:54
A light, feel-good read, for those who enjoy choral books full of larger-than-life characters.
The Not So Perfect Plan to Save Friendship House - Michelle Gorman

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie Amber (check here if you would like to have your book reviewed) and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

Sometimes it seems as if all the books and movies on offer are centred on young protagonists, and I’m not only talking about Young Adult books. However, recently there has been a move towards including older protagonists and subjects. I enjoyed the two Dutch books about Hendrik Groen, a man in his eighties living in a nursing home, and have watched a few movies, usually choral, about older protagonists (like The Exotic Marigold Hotel). The setting of this novel, in a residential home, and the promise of a comedy made it sound like the perfect choice for me.

The first-person narrator of the story is Phoebe, a chef who had a very successful career in a bistro before disaster struck. She loves her job at the residential home (The Jane Austen Home for Ladies, and, as we discover, the name is meaningful in several ways), but has always felt frustrated because her parents (and her mother, in particular) do not seem to value her job and are dismissive of her career. To make matters worse, her mother (a larger-than-life character) dies suddenly at the beginning of the book, but her internalised voice keeps gnawing on her confidence.  Her best friend, June, is the manager of the home, and she fancies Nick, who is the official physiotherapist but also takes on any odd jobs going on (art therapy, gardening, handyman…). I know some readers don’t like first-person narratives, although Phoebe is unassuming, witty and an excellent friend. (On the minus side, her lack of self-confidence can make her sound paranoid and bitchy, and she keeps mulling over things, unable to decide what to do, trying hard to feel comfortable in her own skin and accept the credit for her achievements). We learn some surprising things about her family life together and by the end of the book, although I don’t have much in common with her character, I felt connected to her and appreciated her role as a narrator. Her friendship with June is convincing and their relationship is one of the strongest points of the book.

I also loved the residents of the home, and in many ways (not only due to my age, I hope), I felt closer to them than to the protagonist. We get to know some of them more than others (Maggie is fabulous and I loved Dot, Laney, Sophie, and yes, even Terence). They all feel real, with their foibles and their endearing traits, and make the book memorable. We follow the intrigues that have to do with the home and the changes that take place there (from a women’s only place to a mixed one) and learn about its inhabitants, their secrets, and their past lives. We are both observers and participants in much of the action, and we feel invested in their fates. We learn the importance of accepting people for who they are and moving beyond appearances and prejudices.

There are several romances with happy, or at least hopeful, endings (for the young and the older generations), broken hearts and disappointments, secrets and lies, and there is also the connection (pointed out through references to the book club and their discussions) to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I would not call the novel a variation on Pride and Prejudice but if we think of Austen’s text as we read it we can discover nuances that might be easily missed otherwise.

Although there are many amusing lines in the novel (and some pretty touching ones as well. As we know, humour can be an excellent defence mechanism against hurt), I thought I’d share a few (remember that I got an ARC copy, so there might be some changes to the final version of the novel):

We’ve never let something as trifling as the spectre of death stand in the way of a good snipe.

My mother didn’t get ulcers, she gave them.

He’s a perv-whisperer.

She wouldn’t like my ponytail, though. I did try taking it down, but having it up in a hair tie the entire weekend meant my hair had a ridge along the back that gave it a very White Cliffs of Dover effect.

I’m surprised he doesn’t need an oxygen tank with all the social climbing he’s been doing.

The writing flows well and fits in perfectly with the voice of the narrator, who can spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about her beau but is also attuned to the feelings of the residents and her friend. There are plenty of amusing events taking place throughout the novel that keep the action moving, but the characters are much stronger than the plot and by the end of the book (that I enjoyed) they have all become good friends (or most of them have).

The author defines her books as light reads, as beach novels, and says her readers describe them as “feel-good.” All that is true, although behind all the funny goings-on the book illustrates the importance of keeping expectations and prejudices under control, and it reminds parents that they should encourage their children to find fulfilment in their own terms rather than expect them to make their parent’s dreams come true.  If you are looking for a light read, full of memorable characters, plenty of humour, and a big deal of heart, I’d recommend this novel. And, if it existed in real life, I wouldn’t mind working at the home (and in time even living there) either.

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review 2018-07-09 10:00
New Release Review! Save a Horse, Ride a Dragon (Dragon Guards #21) Julia Mills!
Save a Horse, Ride a Dragon - Julia Mills

 

 

The books in this epic saga can be read as stand-alone stories, or you can experience all the love, thrills, and exploits of the whole series from beginning to end. It's up to you. ENJOY!

 

On her ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ soul-searching journey across the country with nothing but her radio blastin', the top rolled down, and her trusty red Jeep named Daisy Mae, Dax may have bitten off more than she can chew this time.

 

Bright red hair and a smile that darn near knocks him on his butt, the woman stuck on the side of the road is a wild filly J.D. would love to tame, but then again, she’s absolutely perfect just the way she is.

 

The desert’s hot but this couple's hotter , not to mention the raised-from-the-dead Medicine Man who’s hell bent on bathing his special little precious in their blood. Talk about prickly as a cactus!

 

The Great Creator and the Universe don’t make mistakes and Fate Will Not Be Denied, but the flames of Destiny are hotter than ever before.

 

Grab your hat and boots and head for the desert, ‘cause this lady’s claiming her Dragon and nothin’ will ever be the same.

 

 


Well, I have to tell you that I got a bit more than I expected from this intriguing and completely enthralling story.

 

It is fast paced and full of thrilling events and exciting twists and turns as well as a mating that is quite literally flaming hot. Dax and J.D. is delightful characters full of snark and flames, they set the pages on fire when their chemistry comes together and they had me smiling and chuckling throughout the story, they even made me chuckle during the intense and thrilling excitement of their face off with a very deadly enemy.

 

And I have to say the uniqueness of the characters in this story also makes for an exhilarating change and certainly lights up my imagination while adding spice and magic to the story as well. This is a great romance to read during a break or when you have only a little time to yourself because it packs quite a sensational punch in such a short read.

 

 

 

Save a Horse, Ride a Dragon


Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40601918-save-a-horse-ride-a-dragon

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/save-a-horse-ride-a-dragon-dragon-guard-series-book-33-by-julia-mills

 

BookLikes - http://booklikes.com/save-a-horse-ride-a-dragon-julia-mills/book,13981641

 

 

is the 21st book in the Dragon Guard series

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/117427-dragon-guards

 

author - https://www.juliamillsauthor.com/books

 

which includes:


Her Love, Her Dragon: The Saga Begins #.5
Her Dragon to Slay #1
Her Dragon's Fire #2
Haunted by Her Dragon #3
For the Love of Her Dragon #4
Saved by Her Dragon #5
Only for Her Dragon #6
Fighting for Her Dragon #7
Her Dragon's Heart #7.5
Her Dragon's Soul #7.75
The Fate of Her Dragon #8
Her Dragon's No Angel #8.5
Her Dragon, His Demon #9
Resurrecting Her Dragon #9.5
The Scars of Her Dragon #10
Her Mad Dragon #11
Tears for Her Dragon #12
Guarding Her Dragon #12.5
Sassing Her Dragon #13
Kiss of Her Dragon #14
Claws, Class and a Whole Lotta Sass #15
The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo #16
Dragon Down #16.25
Twinkle Twinkle, Sassy Little Star #16.5
Dragon Got Your Tongue #16.75
Her Dragon's Fury #16.8
Dragon in the Mist #17
Dragon Got Run Over by a Reindeer #17.1
Tangled in Tinsel #17.5
Her Dragon's Treasure #18
Cupcake Kiss & Dragon Dreams #18.1
Aww Snap, Dragon #19
Imagine Dragon #20
Save a Horse, Ride a Dragon #21

 

& #22 Burn Dragon Burn is Released July 3rd!

 

and is connected to the Dragon Guard Berserkers series


Author - https://www.juliamillsauthor.com/dragon-guard-berserkers

 

 

Save a Horse, Ride a Dragon is available in ebook at:

 

Amazon - US: https://amzn.to/2MK6xMQ


UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DWR2329


AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07DWR2329


CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07DWR2329

 

 

Mom of two rockin' girls, Reader of everything, Author of The Dragon Guards series and many more surprises to come!

 

I am a sarcastic,sometimes foul-mouthed, not afraid to drink a beer, always southern woman with 2 of the most amazing teenage daughters,
a menagerie of animals and a voracious appetite for reading who recently decided to write the storied running through her brain. I read my first book, Dr Suess' Cat in The Hat by myself at 4 and was hooked.


I believe a good book along with shoes, makeup and purses will never let a girl down and that all heroes of all the books


I have ever read or will ever write pale in comparison to my daddy! I am a sucker for a happy ending and love some hot sweaty sex with a healthy dose of romance.
I am still working on my story but believe it will contain all of the above with as much SPICE as I can work into it. CHEERS!

 

 

Be sure & visit Julia Mills at the following locations:

 

Website - http://www.juliamillsauthor.com/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7200721.Julia_Mills

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/JLakeMills/

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/JuliaMills623

 

Pintrest - https://www.pinterest.com/juliamills623/

 

G+ - https://plus.google.com/116136227105031859818/posts

 

YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc1U0vCJhS0Eao_8kZQ978A

 

InstaGram - https://www.instagram.com/juliamills623/

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/julia-mills

 

BookLikes - http://booklikes.com/julia-mills/author,4775471

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-06-08 06:20
Reading progress update: I've read 87 out of 405 pages.
Save the Date - Morgan Matson

Charlie's interaction with the bike girl 

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review 2018-06-05 17:40
No One Is Coming to Save Us -- Black, updated Gatsby? Not really.
No One Is Coming to Save Us - Stephanie Powell Watts

"People can be like home sometimes and that's if you are very, very lucky."

Forget Gatsby. Beyond some names and some lines that go almost in exactly the opposite direction (see above), this is a novel that stands on its own, doesn't need Fitzgerald, and is only loosely related in the most academic of ways.

 

This is about dreams we stifle because well -- life. Life gets in the way of so much. Are we to be constantly disappointed or should we just be happy that we have anything at all? Are we better off in constant search of something better or settling in and cherishing what we already have - be that people, love, books, friends or a big house on a hill.

 

“Haven’t we always done this trick?

If you can’t get what you want, want something else.”

 

It's way better than it would've been if Stephanie Powell Watts had stuck only to the Gatsby story. It's a very worthwhile read, all on its own, with an awful lot of wisdom that doesn't come from Fitzgerald. It times it seems like the anti-Gatsby, and there's something to be said for that.

 

One slightly distracting thing was the copy I read (hardcover from the library) had a ton of strange typos. The punctuation was a mess, and that doesn't ruin a story, but was distracting to me. I hope they'll fix it before a reprint, and I really hope it gets a reprint because this is a good read. 

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text 2018-06-04 17:01
Reading progress update: I've read 203 out of 368 pages.
No One Is Coming to Save Us - Stephanie Powell Watts

Billed as an updated black Great Gatsby, this turns out to be really pretty good. It's not a carbon copy - so far it's an interesting story all on its own. You certainly wouldn't have to know Gatsby to enjoy or follow this. There's much more to this story plot wise, and we get to hear from everyone except JJ in the big house on the hill. Now I'm getting worried that there's going to be a horrible accident though. I hope she changed that part too.

 

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