Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

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Agnes, the wife to a Hollywood producer is shocked when he wants a divorce. She feels unprepared for a Hollywood divorce and struggles to figure out what her future holds.

QUICK GLANCE

Light hearted

Profanity

Women’s fiction

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️

It took me awhile to get into the book. I had a hard time with the narration in the beginning but after I got used to Agnes’ snark and sense of humor it fell into place. I actually didn’t really like the main character Agnes and it wasn’t until the very end that I really cared what happened to her. I’m not sure I ever really cared what happened to her but by the end I at least was curious to see. She does grow and do some good self discovery In the end and that really improves the book for me.

There is quite a bit of profanity and a few lines that were a bit vulgar which added nothing and had no purpose.

Been There, Married That is a light hearted look at what a life looks like when you are focused on yourself and material things.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano

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After the death of her husband Auntie Poldi retires to Sicily to grieve and relax. But those plans are interrupted with the disappearance and death of her handyman.

QUICK GLANCE

– 1st Book in the Auntie Poldi series

– Cozy mystery

– Beautiful setting

– Slow read

– Book in translation

– Strong older female main character

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions started off very slowly for me. It took me a few chapters to get into it and I struggled a bit with the narration. But once I got used to it, it became a really fun book and there were parts I really enjoyed. Though I did find the Italian words thrown in throughout to be confusing and I never really did get used to that.

I loved the wide range of eccentric characters and Auntie Poldi’s relationship to them. Auntie Poldi being the most eccentric character. She goes through a wide range of emotions, from grief and depression to being feisty and strong willed. I also loved the minor characters Death and Inspector Chance.

The plot was a little slower moving than I was expecting, even for a cozy mystery. But the ending and the erupting volcano saved it for me.

I felt like the best part of the book was the setting. The descriptions of Sicily were gorgeous. I may never go to Sicily but I feel like I know exactly what it looks like.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

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Flavia de Luce is an eleven year old girl who lives in the grand estate of Buckshaw in England in the 1950’s. She lives there with her widowed father, and her two older sisters. She spends her days antagonizing her sisters and doing chemistry experiments. Until one day, when a dead bird is found on the back doorstep with a postage stamp stuck to its beak, then the next morning she finds a man dead in the cucumber patch.

QUICK GLANCE

– #1 in the Flavia de Luce series

– Cozy mystery

– References to chemistry, stamp collecting, books

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I often struggle with books when the main character is a child because so often I don’t feel like the child acts, or talks, or behaves like a child. In The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Flavia definitely does not act, or behave like any children I know. She is extremely smart, loves chemistry and knows more about chemistry than anyone I know. She is extremely independent, to the point of continually leaving her home on her bike and riding to different towns miles away with no one in her home having any idea where she is. She is forward and has no problem speaking to adults. She has no fear and thinks she can solve all the problems she faces. She is a character I really should not like but for some reason she works for me and I really enjoyed her. I didn’t always like her, she was so mean to her sisters and sometimes to others. She had a complete disregard for adults and authority. And there were some situations that didn’t seem very feasible. But I found the story and the mystery a fun read anyway. Maybe because Flavia isn’t ever suppose to be like most children her age. I enjoyed the setting of England in 1950 and the small country towns. I enjoyed the bits of English history and I learned about stamp collecting and lots about chemistry, which to be honest went right over my head. I liked the looks at a home when a mother has died and though this wasn’t a huge part of the book I think it did have an affect on the characters. I actually look forward to continuing with the series.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Guy Montag’s job as a fireman is to burn books. When he meets a new neighbor, Clarisse, and begins talking to her, he learns that the world he knows is different than it once was. He begins to question the changes and wonders if life was better before. Then he must decide if he can live with the way life is now or if he must do something.

QUICK GLANCE

– classic

– Science fiction

– Happiness

– Knowledge

– Books

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed Fahrenheit 451. I enjoyed the world that Bradbury built and I was shocked when I discovered he wrote it in the 1950’s. While things like the TV walls and the seashell radio do not seem that far fetched today, I imagine it must have seemed unbelievable in the ‘50’s. When I have read other science fiction books written in the past that have come true in many depressing ways, I find the books discouraging. I loved how Fahrenheit 451 gave me things to think about, especially about this world that I do live in now, but also showed hope in humanity. I only wish there was more of Clarisse and that their relationship was developed a bit more. It felt a bit rushed to me and far to short.

The Quilter’s Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini

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When Sarah struggles to find a job in a small town she agrees to help seventy-five year old Sylvia prepare her family estate for sell, while she continues to look for work. The estate has been neglected and much work is needed. In exchange for the help Sylvia, a master quilter, agrees to teach Sarah how to quilt. Along with the quilting lessons Sarah also receives fascinating stories about Elm Creek Manor which cause her to fall in love with the estate. Sarah then seeks to find a way to keep Sylvia from selling the estate.

QUICK GLANCE

– #1 in the Elm Creek Quilts series

– Quick, easy read

– Family

– Friendship

– Art, creativeness

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I loved the look into Elm Creek Manor and the stories Sylvia told of the people that have lived there and the things that happened there. I also really like the relationship of Sarah and Sylvia. They were friends who helped one another and I loved that idea of a friendship between two women of such differing ages and experiences. Sarah joins a quilter’s guild which also showed friendships between women of different ages, personalities and experiences. I also loved the theme of creativeness and it’s importance in our lives and in society.

I struggled a bit with the main character Sarah. I listened to this on audiobook so I don’t know if that had something to do with my problems with Sarah, but I got annoyed with her. She seemed to complain and whine a lot and I just never really connected with her.

I will continue with the series but probably in book form and hopefully I’ll like Sarah better.

Bethlehem Road by Anne Perry

BOOK BLURB

Inspector Pitt investigates members of the Parliament who keep turning up dead tied to a lamp post. On investigation, they are all good, kind, strong family men who shouldn’t be found murdered. So why are they?

QUICK GLANCE

– #10 in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series

– Victorian London

– Women’s suffrage movement

– Mystery

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I really enjoyed Bethlehem Road. The mystery had me stumped and after hearing evidence against many people I enjoyed the final answer and the reasons why. Bethlehem Road tackles the issues of freedom and the choices given to people. I found the different explorations of these themes fascinating. Thomas and Charlotte continue to grow and develop and I felt this book had a bit more about the personal struggles they each face.

Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore

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In England in1879, Annabelle is among the first female students to attend Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement by recruiting men of influence to help their cause. Things become complicated when she meets the Duke of Montgomery, who opposes everything she stands for, but who she can’t stop thinking about.

QUICK GLANCE

– #1 in the A League of Extraordinary Women series.

– Women suffrage movement

– Forbidden love

– Steamy scenes

– Historical fiction/ romance

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I really enjoyed the historical fiction aspect of Bringing Down The Duke. I liked learning more about the women’s suffrage movement, what was done and some of the reasons it was done. I really enjoyed reading about Annabelle, a woman who loves to learn and working hard to be able to do so. The friends she makes while working with the suffrage movement were all fun and varied. I liked how the women had different reasons for supporting the movement, I would have enjoyed going more into depth about these women. I enjoyed Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery and reading about the challenges of being a young Duke and the responsibilities that he had and felt.

I had a really hard time with the romance between Annabelle and Sebastian. It happened so fast that I just didn’t buy it. There were steamy scenes that felt forced to me, they did nothing to add to the characters or the plot and they were to explicit for me. I feel like they could have been cut out and wouldn’t be missing at all.

I found Bringing Down The Duke to be a great historical fiction read and not a great romance.

The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett

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BOOK BLURB

Carole discovers a dead body on the beach early one morning. She tells the police, but when they investigate they find no body. When Carole realizes the police do not believe her, she soon finds herself investigating what happened to the body with her neighbor Jude. Jude is new in town and Carole and Jude are complete opposites. Carole typically would not even befriend Jude beyond what is socially expected, but the two women become friends as they investigate what happened to the body on the beach.

QUICK GLANCE

– 1st book in the Fethering Mystery series

– Friendship

– Small town with quirky characters

– Older main characters

– Cozy mystery

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Body on the Beach. I loved the small town of Feathering and the people who lived there. I came to have my favorites and I hope they return in future books. I loved how Carole and Jude were in their fifties. I don’t come across very many books where the main characters are older and it was fun to read the perspectives of older women. I loved watching Carole and Jude go from strangers to friends. They are very different from one another and they often had me laughing. The mystery had me guessing until the end and I enjoyed watching Carole and Jude investigate. Neither one is a professional investigator and it was fun watching them make mistakes, feel uncomfortable and develop new skills. I can’t wait to continue with this series.

Where The Dead Lie by C.S. Harris

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BOOK BLURB

While uncovering the murder of a young street urchin Sebastian discovers that homeless, orphaned children have been disappearing from the streets of London. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • #12 in the Sebastian St. Cyr series
  • 1813 London
  • Mystery
  • Street children
  • Child abuse

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sebastian always keeps me hooked and the time passes quickly. I enjoyed the look into what drives some men to cruelty and some to kindness. The author once again does a great job describing Victorian England, though the look into street children at that time was depressing, it was done without much graphic detail. I enjoyed all the characters, especially those that have carried on from past books. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have more of those characters. I wanted more Sir Henry Lovejoy and more Hero, the feisty Hero. 

Triptych by Karin Slaughter

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BOOK BLURB

A crime thriller told in three parts involving police detective Michael, ex convict John, Georgia Bureau of Investigation specialist Will, and Angie a vice cop. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • #1 in the Will Trent series
  • Lots of cussing 
  • Graphic abuse
  • Rape
  • Child abuse
  • Prostitution 
  • Life in jail
  • Tough read
  • Mother’s love and dedication
  • Heartbreaking
  • Characters that are complicated and very layered 

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I came so close to only reading 50 pages of Triptych. The story starts off being told by police detective Michael and I did not like him. I wasn’t in the mood to read about another male, conceited, cussing, degrading, police detective. I did a quick search on Goodreads to find out if the series was going to continue with this character and his attitude. I learned that there are multiple narrators in the story and Michael was not the main character in the series and so I decided to stick with it a bit longer. I’m so glad I did! 

The subject of murdering and torturing women was a difficult one and I did not love all the cussing and graphic details. However, I did not feel as though it was done just to be crass. I felt like it was done in a manner that added to the story and helped me to see a part of many people’s lives that is far from my experiences. It’s so easy to judge people who are loud and rough but the author does a great job in helping me understand why some people are loud and tough and unlikeable. I loved the story of John and I felt like his experiences of being an ex-con  were the most realistic I have ever read. John’s story, past and present, was heartbreaking and what made the book for me. The suspense and thriller aspect of the novel was gripping and I was shocked as details were revealed. All of the characters were very well developed and though I did not like all of them I understood where they were coming from. They were characters with so many layers to them that I was just as intrigued and hooked by the characters as I was by the mystery