Monday, December 31, 2018

Review: Alive: Shadows of a Living Past

Florence Sterling should be perfectly happy. She’s been given a second chance at life with her beloved husband. But all is not well. She yearns for more children, even though Alex is reluctant. Memories of the day she and her baby were murdered still haunt her. And she can’t shake the feeling she will be separated from Alex again. 

As if in confirmation of her premonition, Alex is called on a dangerous mission to enlist America’s aid in WWII. Trying to distract herself, Florence investigates what really happened when her son died. As she searches, she becomes convinced her son is alive, although witnesses say otherwise. And with each clue she discovers, she unwittingly draws closer to her old enemy—the deranged woman who will stop at nothing to destroy her. 

When Alex goes missing in action, Florence must reach deeply into her faith as she faces her greatest fears. If Alex is lost to the war, will she allow herself to love another man and fulfill her desire to have a family? Or will she remain alone the rest of her life?


I was curious to come into this series in Book 2.  Book 1 refers to a forgotten past, while this title promises to refer to that which is still very much alive.

In a story where there are a million things we should be aware of,, it would be very easy to start this review by saying "I wish I had the information I needed to enjoy this book more."  But Marcia writes in a style that I love, in which you are given necessary information without it being a clunky infodump.

The story with its twists and turns is a fascinating and often portentous one, which an effective suspense-building style.  We are clued into dangers without feeling that the author is trying to hold things back.  And the world-building is clever enough that the reader is drawn in as much  by curiosity about what else we'll find there as driven to follow the story.

Perhaps I am at a disadvantage because of not having read the first book, so I am not sure if the character introductions are handled the same way in each installment.  While I enjoyed so much about the book, the beginning feels slightly ponderous because of hammering in the initial importance of the circumstances in which the story opens.  We are reminded again and again in the first act of the book why we should feel strongly about these characters.  I feel as though it would be more powerful to spread out these reminders.

I will not divulge too much in the interest of letting you explore this storyline, but I highly recommend diving into the world of Florence and Alex and the narrative brilliance that comes along with the way the story goes.

Character Casting

Alexander Sterling: Richard Armitage\

 / Florence Contini: Emma Watson

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Review: Duck, Duck, Moose

I admit two things.  1)  I overslept and had to post this after work.  2)  I picked up this title just because the play on the children's game made me laugh.

Duck’s best friend Goose is gone for winter and Duck is lonely. The animals try to cheer Duck, but Duck, Duck, Pig is too messy, and Duck, Duck, Moose is too scary. Will Duck be alone until Goose gets back? Or can Duck come up with a game they all can play?


I really enjoy books in which friendship is built by working through a problem.  It's a common thing in everything from Lord of the Rings to Okay For Now.  And it's a great way to get children to understand deeper meanings without hitting them over the head with it.

I think that Joy did a great job creating a situation in which we could relate to these animamorphic characters on a very human level, which is something that is an absolute must if I can connect to a book or movie about woodland creatures.  It was sweet, but also something that didn't felt dumbed-down for the enjoyment of little ones.  The illustrations are definitely appropriate to the story.

This would be a good story to read multiple times over years in order to get a child to understand it in a different way as they grow up with the book.

Joy Heyer lives in Virginia with her loving husband and three of her four crazy children. Her oldest child now has a child of her own, making Joy a grandma. 

Her family recently convinced her to get a dog. What was she thinking? The dog now follows Joy everywhere, waits loyally at the front window every time she leaves the house, and goes berserk when she comes back, even if she was only gone for 10 seconds to get the mail. 

In her spare time….wait, what spare time? Whenever her children and dog permit, she loves to read, write, paint, and dream up home improvement projects.

To follow the rest of the tour and get more on this book check out the official page! Loving the Book Book Tour

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review: Sweet Indulgence

Welcome to today's review of Sweet Indulgence by Debbie White.  It was a refreshing romance to start off the new year and I hope you check it out.
 Debbie is a USA Today Bestselling Author. She currently lives in northern California where the hills are dotted with vineyards and the jagged coastline is nearby. Many of her books describe the beautiful area she calls home. She avidly supports animal rescue by donating a percentage of all book sales to rescue groups nationwide! Now here are a few more interesting tidbits of information about her!

1. Her spouse served in the U.S. Air Force for over 20 years. She uses some of her experiences as a military wife in some of her stories.

2. She has two granddaughters and a grandson.

3. She received her degree in Sociology in 2011 and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

4. She hasn't always dreamed of writing, but she's always loved reading and decided she'd give it a try. Her fans love her so much, she's still putting out books three years later.
Real Men Eat Cupcakes

Annie McPherson has had it with all the blind dates her grandmother and auntie set her up with. She just wants to be left alone to run the Sweet Indulgence cupcake bakery – even if it means she’ll remain single forever.
Jack’s just been through a gut-wrenching break-up, and women are the last thing on his mind. Now he’s on a mission to pick up cupcakes for his niece’s birthday party—not a mission to fall in love. Pulled in by Annie’s good looks and witty charm, though, temptation proves too sweet.
But will Annie’s pesky grandmother and auntie welcome Jack as Annie’s choice or will they have him jumping through hoops to prove he’s the one?
Fans of Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, and Susan Wiggs are sure to love Sweet Indulgence, the first sweet romance novel in the Charleston Harbor series.
This book is too sweet to pass up! Scroll up to one click and begin your indulgence today!


The stand-out element of this book is that not a single one of the characters is a caricature.  Annie and Jack meet in a normal business setting while he is helping a family member with something perfectly reasonable.  (Though I will never understand this current obsession with lovelorn women opening cupcakeries, it's much more palatable than the billionaire romance to me.)  The grandmother and auntie have ritual and order in their lives.  Class dynamics arise and much of the book is occupied with keeping the business that is at the heart of the book running to the best of its potential.

That said, the romance escalates a bit quickly.  Not 50 Shades of Grey quickly and not as slowly as the four-book Twilight build to the honeymoon, but they go from casually hanging out on a boat to French-kissing their brains out in a kind of condensed middle section of the book.  It would have been more effective for the pacing if it were spread out more.  And the ending just made me laugh because of the unexpected twist she throws in.  I won't ruin it for you.

In general, the book made me want to make a pitcher of sweet tea and read this somewhere surrounded by people who say y'all a lot.  And that is a compliment.

Buy here