Stolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese

Love, war, and art.

STOLEN BEAUTY moves from 1900 to 1938 as we follow the lives of Adele and Maria.

In 1900, Adele’s story was about her life and how she became fascinated with the painter Gustav Klimt and that era of art.

In 1938, the story is told of Maria, Adele’s niece, newly married and taken from her home and taken from her husband at the beginning of WWII when Hitler invaded Austria.

STOLEN BEAUTY was interesting, but since I am not an art aficionado, I was a bit confused. Despite my lack of knowledge in the art area, though, I did learn a lot about Gustav Klimt.

The WWII sections were heartbreaking as usual.

I do have to say I enjoyed the story of Maria more than Adele, but most likely because I don’t know too much about art. Maria also seemed to be a warmer character than Adele.

It took me halfway through the book to warm up to the characters, and even though it wasn’t a favorite, I enjoyed the book.

Ms. Lico Albanese did a marvelous job of researching, and she has wonderful, descriptive writing.

ENJOY if you read STOLEN BEAUTY. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.







Things We Have In Common by Tasha Kavanagh

We meet Yasmin, Alice, and a man that Yasmin sees lurking at school and around town and who she thinks is going to abduct Alice.

Yasmin is a misfit and tries to win Alice’s friendship at all costs. Alice is a popular girl at school.  The supposed abductor’s name is Samuel and is very odd.

When Yasmin actually meets Samuel, she sees him in a different light and wants to spend time with him and his dog, Bea.

I felt bad for Yasmin just because of how she worked so hard to befriend her classmates and Samuel and how she didn’t even fit in at home.

Alice and her friends were quite mean to Yasmin and made it difficult to understand why she tried so hard to get their attention.

THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON is written with Yasmin speaking to Samuel even when she isn’t with him.  That was a bit odd and a bit confusing.

When Alice does go missing, Yasmin continues to befriend Samuel even though someone else has been accused of the abduction, and Yasmin won’t mention Samuel to the police.  She seems to have some obsession with him and wants to protect him.

The ending was just as interesting as the rest of book and carried the same oddity along with Yasmin who will continue to haunt you even after you turn the last page.  

Even though THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON was not a normal read for me, my rating is a 4/5 because of the different writing style and the creativity needed to carry out the plot.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Traveling Light by Lynne Branard

Winning the bid for an unclaimed storage unit wasn’t Alissa’s favorite prize, but what she found inside actually changed her life.

Alissa works for a local newspaper in North Carolina owned by her father and impulsively decides that she is going to take a road trip to New Mexico to return Roger Hart’s ashes that were in the storage unit to his family.

Alissa begins her journey with the ashes and her dog.  When she stops at a restaurant and meets Blossom, her road trip and her life have an added passenger and some added changes.

TRAVELING LIGHT is a sweet, lighthearted read and a read that will make you think about your own life and decisions you make and have made.

I enjoyed Alissa because she was a good person, and I really enjoyed Blossom.  Blossom had the perfect name because she just brightened up any place she was and helped Alissa see her life in a different perspective.

TRAVELING LIGHT is a book to read when you need to be uplifted, when you need to hear good comments about mankind, and when you  just need a change of pace that comes with beautiful, descriptive writing and marvelous characters.

Enjoy TRAVELING LIGHT if you read it.  It even has some sweet romances included.  🙂  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.



Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

Can you really come back home?  Is it always the same or always changed?

Rachel was returning to her childhood home after being in England for six years and living with her maternal grandparents for schooling after her mother had passed away.

Rachel always loved her home in Africa, but coming back didn’t seem like the right choice after she met her father’s live-in companion, Sara, and with all the upheaval and Mau Mau Rebellion.  Sara was not like her sweet, caring mother, and Rachel didn’t agree with her father’s plan to move all the people who lived and worked on their land to reserves.

We follow Rachel as she fights with her own thoughts about what is right and what is wrong since she returned.

Ms. McVeigh’s exquisite, vivid descriptions of the land and its people of Africa draw you into the book as you are mesmerized by the lifestyle and landscape.  Her research is marvelous.

The historical aspect was frightening and quite tense as the book neared its ending.  The personal life of Rachel took a turn at the end making me think about how life really does change and wondering if life is ever the same after circumstances fill one’s life.

LEOPARD AT THE DOOR is a story of love, secrets, and believing in your decisions and standing by them.  Rachel has a secret that she has kept since her childhood and worries what will happen to her and the person the secret is about if the secret is found out.

LEOPARD AT THE DOOR is a powerful, beautifully crafted book that will stay with you and have you looking up facts about the Mau Mau Rebellion.

LEOPARD AT THE DOOR is recommended for anyone who enjoys a book that pulls at your heart strings, teaches you history, has extraordinary detail, and loves a writing style that is thoroughly absorbing and impeccable.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

Author and loving family man turned murderer?

Thomas Houston loved his family, his job, teaching, and writing his novels.  What made him kill his entire family on a Saturday night?

No one and especially his State Trooper friend, DeMarco, can believe he did it, but everything points to Thomas.  The missing knife and the missing Thomas himself were strong clues but difficult to believe.

Mr. Silvis keeps you guessing as we follow Thomas as he struggles with this nightmare and as he is running and hiding. 

We also follow State Trooper DeMarco as he questions suspects and people who knew Thomas as well as his questioning whether or not Thomas really did kill his entire family.

TWO DAYS GONE has marvelous, descriptive writing that allows you to feel Thomas’ physical pain as he is on the run and his emotional pain at the thought of his beautiful family being gone.

Trooper DeMarco’s investigation was relentless, oh so good, and  impressively described

Mr. Silvis definitely knows how to tell a terrific story that has extraordinary, believable characters.

This was the first book I read by Mr. Silvis, and I thoroughly enjoyed TWO DAYS GONE.

The book kept spinning and spiraling into better and better as it became more frightening and more tense leaving the reader with an awesome finish.

ENJOY if you read TWO DAYS GONE.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Can you be anyone you want to be depending on the situation? Can you adapt your reactions to what is happening at the moment?

Hattie was always good at reacting the way someone wanted her to react and to being who someone wanted her to be.  She was a very calculating and purposeful person to the point of being frightening.

Hattie was two months away from her high school graduation and decided that she was going to leave her Midwestern small town and head to New York.  She had made sketchy plans without telling anyone including her parents, and in the end, the plans didn’t work out. 

When Hattie was found brutally murdered the next day, the town was shocked.  Murders didn’t happen in Pine Valley.

The murder did cause a few folks to worry about their involvement with Hattie.

EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE has three narrators….Hattie, Peter Lund, and Sheriff Goodman.

Hattie told her story, Peter hoped his story would not be revealed, and Sheriff Goodman had known Hattie and her family for years.  The three narrators worked out beautifully.  One chapter smoothly flowed into the other.

I really didn’t like Hattie.  She was dishonest and cunning.

Peter was definitely dishonest because of his infidelity and didn’t uphold his moral obligations as a teacher.

Sheriff Goodman was a perfect, honest policeman.

EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE was very descriptive, very intense, and had me guessing until the end.  Ms. Mejia has a writing style that is distinctive and creative.

I really enjoyed this book because the mystery and story line were unique and definitely kept me interested and turning the pages.   

If you enjoy twists and turns and characters that stay with you, you won’t want to miss reading EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE.

The entire book and especially the ending were brilliant!! 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review. 

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Stalked by Elizabeth Heiter

STALKED had many layers and many secrets, and most of them were deadly.

Kidnappings, disappearances, questionable police officers, accidents involving the police involved in the case, human trafficking, and barely a clue about anything or any connection that could be found.

STALKED was an intense but very good read.

STALKED focused on the investigation of a teenager who disappeared and led to many other issues and many suspects along with the questions of why and how.

The writing style of Ms. Heiter is smooth, detailed, and makes the story come alive and seem real.

If suspense, character banter, behind-the-scenes police work, on-site police work, interviewing suspects by FBI and local officers, and a good who-done-it are things that intrigue you, then STALKED is a book you will want to read.

ENJOY if you read STALKED.  4/4

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