The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

I had seen The Violets of March by Sarah Jio featured in several magazines.  It looked good, so I ordered it. It took me about 2 days for finish it!

Quick Summary:  Emily is an author having trouble writing and having marriage trouble.  Her husband wants a divorce, and she decides to spend the month of March with her great-aunt Bee in Washington on Bainbridge Island.  While there, Emily gets reunited with people from her past, and she starts reading a diary that she found in her room. She is interested in who wrote the diary, as well as who these people might be today.

Review:  I fell in love with the characters, as well as the setting. I think it helped that I read it during a rainy stretch in Ohio, so I could easily imagine myself in Washington State.  There is a mystery to the book, but there is also a little romance as Emily overcomes her divorce.  The characters come to life and felt like ‘real’ people, which doesn’t always happen in novels.  I recommended this book to several friends, and they loved it and read it as quickly as I did.  I can’t say enough about this book. If you’re looking for a quick, good summer read, The Violets of March is for you!

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Fallen Behind

The end of the school year, combined with LATE spring planting, got me behind in reviewing books I’ve read. I’ve certainly been reading a lot, especially since school got out, so I plan on updating reviews over the next week or two. I’ve read quite a few books I’ve loved and recommended to all I’ve seen, as well as some for book club. Happy Reading!

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Heist Society by Ally Carter–A review

I’ve previously read Ally Carter’s I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You series and enjoyed them. They are fun, quick reads about girls training to be spies. When I saw this book on Amazon.com as a bargain book, I purchased it in order to get the free shipping.  I’m glad I did.

Quick Summary:  Katarina Bishop is a member of a ‘thieving’ family known for stealing great works of art.  When five paintings go missing from Arturo Taccone and he blames Kat’s dad, there is only one thing Kat can do to save her father’s life. She must track down the paintings and recover them within two weeks.

Review:  Carter didn’t let me down—Heist Society was an enjoyable read.  I liked the fast-paced action of the book. While the concept isn’t completely plausible, all of the action was realistic. Fans of her spy series will enjoy this book as well. I also feel this book brings attention to the atrocities of the Nazis and the stealing of art.  Teenage girls looking for a good, intriguing book won’t be disappointed by Kat’s adventures.

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Angels Fall by Nora Roberts–A review

For the month of March, my book club read Angels Fall by Nora Roberts.  I’ve read several of her books before.  Although she writes quite a variety of topics, I’ve always stuck with the suspense/romance ones when I’ve wanted a quick read.  I had never read Angels Fall before this.

Quick Summary:  Reece shows up in the Grand Teton area after escaping from a horrible experience in Boston.  She has no money, and she’s not sure she has her sanity, either.  She is an outsider in a small town, and as she begins her life her, she witnesses something tragic, yet no one believes her.  Along the way, she falls in love with another ‘outsider,’ author Brody.  Together they try to solve the mystery, as well as figure out their relationship.

Review:  I thought this book was a little slow to get into. Normally I don’t have that problem with Roberts’ books.  Once I got ‘into’ the book, I kept reading, wanting to know more.  The plot seemed pretty typical of Roberts:  woman has problem, woman meets man, woman and man get together, & woman and man solve mystery.  While it was somewhat formulaic, it was still enjoyable.  While I knew the main suspect wasn’t guilty, I was somewhat shocked as to who did.  Overall, it was a pretty good read when you want a story and not a lot of content to bog you down.  It had enough suspense to make up for the romance in it.

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Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson–A Review

I recently finished Melody Carlson’s Never Been Kissed.  I’ve been a fan of Carlson ever since I first read the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. I love how she tackles real-life problems facing teens while incorporating religion without being too ‘preachy.’

Brief summary without major spoilers:  Elise and her single mom move for her mom’s job, and Elise will be turning sweet sixteen at a new school. She hopes to start fresh at the school with friends and possibly even a boyfriend. She gets wound up in something that lands her in major trouble.

Review (stop reading if you don’t want some minor spoilers):  This was an easy read, like all of Carlson’s other books.  I found some of the book to be predictable, but that could have been because I’m an adult reading a YA book.  Carlson weaved religion into the book subtly, and I don’t think this would turn off non-Christian readers.  I liked that Carlson dealt with sexting because I really don’t think today’s teens realize the severity of this activity.  Overall, I think it was a good book dealing with issues in the ‘headlines,’ all while doing it with a positive message.  If you haven’t read Melody Carlson before, I highly recommend this book, as well as her others. You won’t be disappointed. (I really enjoyed the TrueColors series as well.)

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Currently Reading: quite a few books :)

I’m trying to read several books at one time. I normally don’t like doing this, but I started one book on my Nook, and then I got the new book club book. It just happened. Then for some reason I picked up another YA book. 

Book Club:  We’re reading Nora Roberts’ Angels Fall for this month.  I’ve read a lot of her books and have enjoyed them, so I should like this one. I think this is going to be more mystery/romance instead of just romance, so I’m happy about that. We’ll see how it ends up.

Nook book:  In Front of God and Everybody (The Confessions of April Grace) by KD McCrite.  It’s a sweet story of a girl living in the country with her family. Her grandma is your stereotypical grandma with the support hose, granny shoes, and the like.  April Grace’s sister wants more of a Hollywood image, and neighbors from California who are not suited for the country life have just become her neighbors.  I’m not that far into the book, but it’s enjoyable so far.

I needed to purchase a movie for my classroom, so I ordered a couple of paperbacks to get the free shipping from Amazon.  When those arrived, I started reading Melody Carlson’s Never Been Kissed. I’m honestly only a couple of chapters into this one, so I may wait a little bit before continuing.  I’m a big Carlson fan because of the Christian faith aspect to her books. She’ s not super-preachy, and she deals with issues teen girls are dealing with.  In the same order, I also got Carlson’s Forgotten in the Seventeen and Homeless series.

Once I finish a book, I’ll get a review up. :)

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Devil’s Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke–A review

Anyone who knows me knows I love to bake as well as read.  When I can find an enjoyable book that involves both hobbies, it’s even better.  Several years ago, one of my dearest friends recommended the Hannah Swensen murder mystery series to me.  I read the first book, and I have flown through the series since.

Hannah owns a cookie shop with business partner Lisa in Minnesota.  Hannah has a crazy cat, a meddling mother, two sisters, two nieces, and two men interested in her.  Each novel in the series deals with a murder and one of Hannah’s baked goods near by, with Hannah typically finding the victim.  Hannah becomes an sleuth, often solving the mystery before her love interest Mike.  Her other love interest, Norman, typically helps her in any way he can.

In Devil’s Food Cake Murder, Hannah is trying to find out who killed a substitute reverend.  She also is trying to figure out her love life because Norman doesn’t seem as interested, and she’s jealous of his former fiancée, Dr. Beverly, who is now working with Norman.  Everyone seems to love Dr. Bev, including Mike!  Hannah solves the mystery of the murder, but she is met with a shocker in her love life at the end of the novel!  I can’t wait to read the next one to find out what’s going on.

Like the other books in the series, there are great recipes sprinkled throughout.  Most are cookies, bars, or desserts.  I have made many of these recipes throughout the years, and some of them have become favorites of my husband and his friends.  While the books are similar and predictable (you know Hannah is going to solve the mystery), they are still quite enjoyable, especially if you like trying new recipes!

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