Her Royal Spyness is great fun

Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #1)

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


If you enjoy British humor and settings you will love this fun story. The heroine is young, smart, 34th removed from the throne and broke. Having had her allowance cut off when she turned 21 she now has to venture out in the world and make a living. But how does one do that when one has had servants all one’s life, you ask? It isn’t an easy task.

With a host of interesting cousins and men vying for her royal hand, Georgiana is determined to find love and a job, not necessarily in that order. What she discovers is a dead body and the distinct impression that someone is trying to kill her, too. You’ll enjoy this fun romp, I certainly did.



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A book you can sink your teeth into…

Bite Me (Demon Underground, #1)Bite Me by Parker Blue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes you need a little fantasy in your life. A wee bit of butt-kicking, a girl with a few drops of demon blood to ramp up her skills. Killing vampires seems to help Val keep the demon under control, but it leads to unforeseen consequences. After being kicked out of the house for supposedly endangering her younger sister Val is bereft, but soon finds solace and a furry partner who is part Terrior and part hellhound, and does a mean job of grabbing for the dangly bits on vampires.

This was great fun to read and no doubt I will read more in the series. Parker Blue makes the dark and seedy side come to life with humor and just the right amount of tension. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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Jillie finds the ultimate treasure

JillieJillie by Olive Balla
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. This story is packed with interesting characters and suspense. It’s a story about sisters, family ties, survival and obsession.

Jillie, the main character, is a spunky eleven-year-old, who while defending her sister as she is being beaten to death, kills a man. Forced into an unbearable situation she runs away, trying to get back to her sister in the hospital. What Jillie encounters on her journey should never be experienced by someone so young.

Along the way, she meets elderly twin sisters, one the polar opposite of the other. Frankly, these characters are funny and amazing and just as likable as Jillie. I’ve always been interested in the bonds between siblings, and twins especially. Balla captures these relationships with elegance and humor.

When a rumor is started about a found treasure by Jillie’s now dead father, some very nasty people are determined to find it, no matter who gets in their way.

Thanks for a great read!

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A Stranger in the House – you never know!

A Stranger in the HouseA Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. There’s a lot of twists and turns in this suspense novel. It kept me turning the pages! While I suspected a couple of things (like the nosey neighbor), I didn’t expect the ending. Thanks for a thrill ride, Shari Lapena. This was a very good read.

A seemingly normal housewife receives a call that sends her dashing out of the house. It’s obviously an emergency because she forgot to lock the door, take her purse or her cell phone. None of which are at all like her.  When the police call hubby to say her car has been in an accident he rushes out to see if the woman in her car, in a very hinky part of town is really his wife. Not only is it his wife, but the police suspect her of no good. Why was she there, otherwise? And when a dead body is found near where she lost control of her car she becomes a suspect. There’s just one problem. She doesn’t remember anything that happened that night.

This lady gets into deeper and deeper trouble as they investigate, her and her husband’s “perfect” record. Nothing sticks out, which in itself seems strange. Add a nosey neighbor, a stalker and you have a bit of suspense that will keep you reading all night.

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Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stunning first novel. The prose is vivid, as are the characters and setting. One by one, Kya has been abandoned by her family, so she carries on living alone in the shack in the marsh. The townspeople don’t understand who she is and dubs her the marsh girl. She is strong and a survivor. She gets a little help from a few others, but she spends her life isolated. A friend of her brothers realizes how smart she is and teaches her to read. He also shares textbooks about biology, because he is also a child of the marsh. The sense of nature, the lack of nurture, the stunning scenes and tension of being alone and different are a poignant part of the story. I loved this book. I could smell the fetid water and hear the cicadas. I could sense Kya’s heartbeat as it matched time with the waves coming into the shore of North Carolina.

Thank you, Delia Owens for writing such a compelling book.

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Shanghai Girls, an amazing read.

Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1)Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa See has recreated Shanghai China in the 1930’s and the escape from the Japanese invasion by two sisters. Their experience is compelling. They eventually make it to Los Angeles and Angel Island. Although they are married (arranged by her father) to young Chinese American men, they struggle with interrogations and accusations by the authorities. Their new lives in America are difficult and opportunities become fewer as World War II rages. They are able to maintain a semblance of Chinese tradition and culture by living in Chinatown and working there. This story centers around the sister’s stories, their closeness, and their difficulties. It is not always an easy relationship because they are very different. One sister bears a child then the other raises it. The other sister loses her child. When one sister betrays the other once again, the results are catastrophic.

I was mad when I came to the end of this novel. There was so much more to the story. That’s when I found “Dreams of Joy” the second book and read it in two days also. Thank you, Lisa See for bringing such richness to the story, the people, the places and the time.

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Another Enjoyable Read

BlueprintsBlueprints by Barbara Delinsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delinsky takes on the world of remodeling homes and gardens as a background for this novel. Mother is a carpenter and her daughter is an architect for the family firm. There are forces bent on splitting up this dynamic duo. During the course of this story, their close relationship will be tested. Careers will shift, a hunky contractor and a handsome school teacher become important to these women. As always Delinsky gives us some tension, life changes, romance, and surprises. I do enjoy her books.

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Welcome to the Lowcountry versus upper Midwest

By Invitation OnlyBy Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like the stars say, I really liked this book. When I open a Dorthea Benton Frank novel I feel like I’m visiting friends in the Lowcountry. She makes you feel right at home. Thanks again, Dot.

Shelby and Fred are in love. They’re from vastly different places, Shelby was raised in Chicago with money, culture and social standing. Fred’s family are southern farmers, with down-home attitudes of hard work and being kind to everyone, no matter what their station in life. To say that the two families have a bit of trouble relating to one another is an understatement. Planning for the wedding gets totally out of control, pretention abounding. But things can change and do when Shelby and Fred say enough. As always, there are a wonderful set of quirky characters and sticky situations that impact everyone. It’s fun. It’s funny. It’s sad. And it’s well worth reading.

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Inspired by a Dreamer

The Last LectureThe Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Randy Pausch was a scientist, a father, a husband and an inspiration. He chose to be Tigger instead of Eyeore and dealt with cancer and death with humor and found fun and loving in every one of his limited days. He shared his experience, his dreams and lessons learned with honesty. I’m sad that he was burdened with this disease, but honored to have been able to read what he shared. Truly a great book.

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