Best Year of our Lives, a Book Review

The Best Year of our Lives by Phil Andrews I just finished reading “The Best Year of Our Lives: Growing up in the 1970s” by Phil Andrews. It is a semi-autobiographical book that I’m never sure I’m going to like. This one, however, was one of the best! As a writer and editor, I am very impressed with this debut novel. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the book when I first started it because it is very British and there were things in the story that I didn’t understand. However, the exceptional quality of the writing and the excellent characterizations kept my interest. The story is set in 1976, two years after I got married. I remember the time well, although from an American instead of British viewpoint. I actually found those differences interesting and entertaining. The music was different – except for the megastars like Bowie and the Stones – but I remember cassette players, widely flared jeans… Read more

Stillhouse Lake is a must-read novel!

“Stillhouse Lake,” by Rachel Caine is a must-read. I read a lot of suspense novels, specifically “grip-lit” in which a woman is threatened and has to save herself. There’s no man coming to her defense when it get’s down to the final, ugly conclusion. I understand the genre and am in the midst of writing one. Stillhouse Lake is one of the best (possibly THE best) psychological suspense novels I’ve ever read. The female protagonist, Gwen, is strong, determined and up for the challenge. Her one vulnerability is keeping her children safe and she comes close to losing it all. Rachel Caine can write! She kept me in suspense and entertained the whole time. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a suspenseful story with realistic characters. Read more

Book Review: Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice

I loved this clean Regency Romance. Miss Armistead is well-rounded, thoughtful and has great integrity. She grew up in Bengal, India and is betrothed to a blind soldier. She is in London to get ready for her wedding. Her betrothed is expected to arrive in about six-to-eight weeks. During that time, she meets the hero, Colin, who is recovering from a broken heart and falls – hard – for her. Still, he is kind, passionate with a conscious, and has great integrity. As they fall in love they never forget her blind soldier. Although she loves Colin more than she ever thought possible and realizes she only agreed to marry the soldier because she felt sorry for him, she cannot turn her back on him. Colin is devastated but understands. Things take a surprising turn when the soldier arrives from India and, as it should always be in a romance, they live happily ever after. No sexual exploits, and a true love story, place this… Read more

Book Review: A Vision of Light, A Margaret of Ashbury Novel

I wasn’t sure I would like “A Vision of Light, A Margaret of Ashbury Novel” the first book in a trilogy about Margaret of Ashbury by Judith Merkle Riley. I decided to give it a try based on its reviews. Although I love British history, I’ve never been all that interested in Medieval times. I am so glad I gave it a chance! I was enthralled with Margaret, her life, the times, her friends and enemies. This look at the lives of people in the Middle Ages, and the power of the Catholic church, was fascinating. I have rarely read a book with such a strong female character. The book begins when she is a child and follows her through a horrific marriage, a Vision and Gift from God, her life and training as a midwife, her brush with a charge of heresy in front of a church tribunal, and a loving second marriage. It ends as the next big chapter… Read more

Book Review: Penelope (A Madcap Regency Romance)

Penelope, A Romantic Comedy by Anya Wylde I have written before about how much I enjoy a good Regency Romance. Regency Romances are set in England generally between 1810 – 1830. This was a time of modest heroines and gentlemen heroes. This Regency Romance is too stupid to finish reading. I made it half way – a remarkable accomplishment. Aside from the frequent use of words never before uttered in the early 19th century, like “canoodle,” and sentences like “Eyes did not have rays like the sun that poked a person in the neck to alert them as to another’s regard,” (which makes no sense), the story is pure drivel. A dowager duchess invites the country-bumpkin daughter of her long-dead friend to come to London for the season. Sounds like it has promise. Then, the daughter, Penelope, arrives with her pet GOAT that is immediately allowed to wander around the Duke’s house without even a brief discussion as to the appropriateness of… Read more