Monthly Book Review - Fall 2017

Has it really been three months since I’ve told you about the great books I’ve been reading??

Apparently, but I know what happened. Instead of reviewing multiple books, I’ve been sharing new releases and interviews of Wisconsin authors.

If you missed those, here are some great ideas for Christmas gifts. (AND READ ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A GIFT FROM ME!!)

Great Gift Ideas - Biblical Fiction by Barbara BrittonBarbara Britton’s Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey. Read her guest post and my book review here

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Christine Keleny’s middle-grade Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventures 1 & 2. (Review and interview here.)

Great middle-grade books - Mystery Intrigue AdventureGreat middle-grade books - Mystery Intrigue Adventure

Intrigue In Istanbul:

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Narrow Escape in Norway:

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Fun Romance with a Twist

I Temporarily Do from Ellie Cahill aka Liz Czukas. Click here for the review and interview. 

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In addition to these lovely titles, I’ve read 13 other books during the past three months.

Historical Fiction You Won't Put Down Until You're Done!My favorite was The Girl with No Name by Diney Costeloe

I highly recommend this book. While there are many books about the WWII era, many about London during the Blitz, and many about Jewish children who came to Great Britain as refugees, few combine all three elements as this title does. Add in the mystery surrounding the main character’s identity and you have a book you can’t put down. I was further intrigued by this book because when I was on my semester abroad in London I lived with a couple who lived both sides of the Blitz. The dad had stayed in the city and remembers running to the shelters in the subway when the German’s dropped their bombs. The mother, however, was one of the children evacuated to farms in the countryside while her parents stayed in the city to work. This book reminds me so much of their first-hand accounts of both experiences.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Thirteen-year-old Lisa has escaped from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. She arrives in London unable to speak a word of English, her few belongings crammed into a small suitcase. Among them is one precious photograph of the family she has left behind. Lonely and homesick, Lisa is adopted by a childless couple. But when the Blitz blows her new home apart, she wakes up in hospital with no memory of who she is or where she came from. The authorities give her a new name and dispatch her to a children's home. With the war raging around her, what will become of Lisa now?

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Mystery - suspense - in 1960s New York CityWeepers by Nick Chiarkas 

Chiarkas weaves a compelling and complicated tale of revenge and loyalty set in New York City’s housing projects in the 1960s. No one is completely innocent, but some are decidedly guiltier than others. Really fascinating story!

ABOUT THE BOOK: The 1957 murder of an undercover cop in a New York City housing project has unexpected ties to the unsolved disappearance of a young father walking home in those same projects with his son, Angelo, on Christmas Eve six years before. The only witness to the cop killing is Angelo, now 13, while on his way to seek his own revenge in the early morning hours—he is also seen by the killers. 

A series of gripping events forge a union between a priest, a Mafia boss, a police detective, and Angelo, a gang member. In the end, Weepers shows us that the courage of the underdog—despite fear and moral ambiguity—will conquer intimidation. 

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I also devoured a series that I found on a Facebook ad. If you know me at all, you know that I love post-apocalyptic/dystopian themed books and the EMP Lodge series by Grace Hamilton is awesome. (For those of you who don’t know, EMP stands for Electro-Magnetic Pulse, and it is the kind of thing that can knock out all of our electronics and power plants etc… The description is more complicated than that but that’s the basic premise.)

And for those of you who won’t start a series without all the books being out—don’t worry the final installment releases on December 14. With the final installment there’s a total of six books, including a free prequel call Dark Descends that you can only download from Grace Hamilton’s website. (You really should start with this one.)

EMP Lodge Series -- Best Post-Apocalyptic of the Year!

























Three months after life as she knows it was decimated, Megan Wolford has only one goal: protect her daughter, Caitlin, at any cost. When a mysterious illness strikes Caitlin down, Megan is forced to forage for medical supplies at a remote lodge. The last thing she wants is help from her fellow survivors when so many in her life have let her down—but soon she'll find herself with no other option.
Ex-Navy SEAL Wyatt Morris is doing everything he can to hold his family together after the tragic death of his prepper Dad, so when Megan enters their lands, he is mistrustful at first despite feeling drawn to her. He won't turn away an ill child though--no matter how deadly the world has become. But the arrival of another stranger named Kyle soon gives them all a new reason to be suspicious. Wyatt knows he’ll have to forge alliances in order to keep his family safe, but trusting the wrong person could be a deadly mistake. 
When Megan and Wyatt discover her daughter’s illness may be linked to Kyle’s arrival, it sets off a race to discover the truth before it’s too late to save Caitlin—and the rest of the Morris clan. Can they work together for survival . . . and something more?

Purchase Dark Retreat in Paperback or Kindle e-book (Note: If you’re an Amazon Prime member this is a free Kindle read right now.)

Middle-grade story telling at its finest!Switching gears to something much more lighthearted and fun, I highly recommend Mary Amato’s middle-grade novel Please Write in this Book.

ABOUT THE BOOK: When a teacher leaves a blank book in the Writer’s Corner for her students to find, with the instructions “Please Write in this Book,” she hopes it will encourage her students to talk to one another in its pages. They do, and the result is an epic classroom battle.

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And to wrap up my three-month reading spree, I did (mostly) enjoy a number of books from some of my favorite authors:

JD Robb’s Secrets in Death was very good and better (I think) than the last two or three in this series. Purchase in Paperback or Kindle

Janet Evanovich’s Hardcore Twenty-Four (obviously #24 in the Stephanie Plum series) fell a little flat for me. I love this character and the fast-paced shenanigans, but I was less enthralled with the storyline this time. Of course, I will never miss an installment because you have to know what is happening to this crazy cast of characters. Purchase in Paperback or Kindle

I was also a little disappointed with Julie Garwood’s Wired. (I don’t mean to be picky, but it felt like this might have been written in a hurry.) Julie Garwood writes both modern romantic suspense and historical romantic suspense. I went back to an earlier title of hers in the historical category and was reminded why I like this author so much when I read The Secret.

This book is one reason to keep reading Julie Garwood. Historical Romance

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One of my other go-to romance authors is Jude Deveraux. The Girl from Summer Hill did not disappoint in the least. This is an Austen-inspired novel and the first in a series set in Austen inspired storytelling from a master of romance!the fictional town of Summer Hill, Virginia.

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I think I’ve enjoyed every book by Jude Deveraux. In fact, my incredibly tattered copy of A Knight in Shining Armor is an annual re-read of mine. (Yes, I know some people re-read classics by authors like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Emily Bronte, but I do not.) Seriously, if you’re looking for a deliciously romantic tale, buy a copy of this book because you’re going to read it more than once.

My Favorite Annual Romance Re-Read. What's Yours?ABOUT THE BOOK: New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux will capture your heart with signature classic novel, a time-travel romance featuring a present-day heroine and a dashing hero from the sixteenth century! 

Abandoned by a cruel fate, lovely Dougless Montgomery lies weeping upon a cold tombstone in an English church. Suddenly, the most extraordinary man appears. It is Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck…and according to his tombstone he died in 1564.

Drawn to his side by a bond so sudden and compelling it overshadows reason, Dougless knows that Nicholas is nothing less than a miracle: a man who does not seek to change her, who finds her perfect, fascinating, just as she is. What Dougless never imagined was how strong the chains are that tie them to the past…or the grand adventure that lay before them.
Hailed worldwide as one of the most romantic novels of all time, A Knight in Shining Armor is “a glorious love story that spans centuries, worlds, and souls. It is the epitome of every woman’s fantasy” (Chicago Daily Herald).

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So what book do you re-read at least once a year? Everyone who comments below by December 31 at midnight will be put in a drawing for a kindle copy of A Knight in Shining Armor.


Every year I read The Velveteen Rabbit. It reminds me that no matter what path our journey takes us on, if we love, and are loved, we will find fulfillment.

Hi Theresa,
I love the Velveteen Rabbit. I always cried when I was reading it to our kids. :)
- Valerie

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