Monthly Book Review - April

My April reads were mainly done on my trip to Spain . . . and mostly during our airplane adventures. (You can read more about that in last week’s post if you missed it.) I can give an enthusiastic thumbs up to three of the four.  So why mention the fourth book at all?

If you’re like me, you buy a lot of books and that can add up. I appreciate very much some of the daily deal type newsletters I subscribe to that give me a list of low priced or free titles each day. My favorites are BookBub, The Fussy Librarian, and Book Gorilla. So, the book that’s about to get a so-so review from me was a freebie on BookBub . . . a historical romance entitled Nellie by Cynthia Woolf. The title character suffers the loss of her husband in the Civil War and then becomes a mail-order bride to a wealthy saloon owner in San Francisco. It’s a very formulaic romance and the male main character annoyed the heck out of me with how he patronized his new wife. The climactic moment of peril for the Nellie was so transparently broadcast that it just didn’t work for me. There are some redeeming moments in this book and it has a solid 3.6 rating (out of 5) on Goodreads with more than 2000 reviews. Clearly, this author is well-known and well-received.

And that’s how her title obviously made it onto the BookBub site. BookBub won’t accept just any book . . . you must pitch them and hope that they’ll take you on for a deal of the day. While this is a paid service, it is an incredibly lucrative place to present your title if you’re an author. The book will be downloaded thousands and thousands of times with the resulting bump in reviews. This is valuable even when the book is offered for free because (like with this title) if it is the beginning of a series and the hope is, of course, that satisfied readers will purchase the rest of the books in the series. 

I often don’t review books at all if I find them rather ‘meh’. So why do I mention this title at all? I think it’s important to understand that these daily deal lists are a great place to pick up new titles without breaking the bank, but they are far from infallible for a recommended reading list. I will however continue to use them, because after all . . . I did get a few hours of entertainment for free.

Moving on to the stars of my April reading . . .

On My Honor: Real Life Lessons from America’s First Girl Scout by Shannon Henry Kleiber was a wonderful biography of Juliette Gordon Lowe, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America. Kleiber intersperses stories of Lowe’s life with her own experiences as Girl Scout troop leader and how the goals and life lessons of the scouting remain timeless even more than 100 years later.

I can’t say enough good things about Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper by Sara Dahmen. This is a wonderful western romance novel that is in no way formulaic. The unexpected twists and turns as well as the rich description of a western frontier town and the people who inhabit it made this a page turner. I am excited to read more from this author and have downloaded her other titles. (I’m not surprised this book has won the Grand Prize Laramie Award for Western Historical Fiction!) This author has also taken her research into vintage cooking implements to a new level by starting her own cookware company called Housekeeper Crockery

Finally, I picked up a copy of St. Mary’s Private Dancer, the first book in the Shepherd Murdoch Mystery Series that features a semi-retired female pastor as the main character. This book was written by Wisconsin author Blair Hull who happens to know a lot about being a reverend as she is one herself, but that doesn’t stop her from taking on gritty topics with her fiction. The no-nonsense main character is going to be fun to hang around with in this series. Strong dialogue, well-developed characters, intricate plotting, and fast-paced action have made me a huge fan.

Again, in April I read some unpublished manuscripts. I wish I could say more about them but ‘mums the word.’ I will heartily promote these books when they become available and am always grateful for a sneak peek! If you’re an author looking for feedback or editing assistance, check out my author services over at Lost Lake Press

Let me know what you’ve been reading lately. I’m also curious to know if you subscribe to one of the daily deal book lists I mentioned or any others you find interesting.



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