Tag: #books

“The Principal’s Daughter” by Russ Katz

“The Principal’s Daughter” by Russ Katz

My deepest thanks to Russ Katz for bringing this story to life! In “The Principal’s Daughter” we are introduced to Kim, whose father is the principal of the school in the South Vietnamese village they live in near Saigon. Kim grows up during the war and her village becomes the center of the Tet Offensive when she is still a young girl. She endures the deprivations of the war and subsequent Communist regime with the hope of one day emigrating to America.

I found this story to be very moving and enlightening. Reading Kim’s story opened my understanding of the Vietnam War in a new way, and introduced me to a culture I previously had no knowledge of. I was also very impressed with the author’s writing. This book was fairly easy to read, although there is use of Vietnamese language, particularly names, which threw me a bit in places. As I understand it, this is the author’s second book and first piece of non-fiction, and I just have to say, “Job well done”. The personalities of the people come through in a way that I felt as if I was sitting with them hearing the story from their lips. I think that stories like this go a long way towards helping us as individuals to see the people of other cultures as not just different but as fellow humans on a journey to fulfillment. I hope that many people will read this book and allow it to give them new insight.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

Thank you to NetGalley and Dog Ear Publishing for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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“The Yorkshire Witch” by Summer Strevens

“The Yorkshire Witch” by Summer Strevens

This book is about the life and trial of Mary Bateman. She was hanged on March 20, 1809 after being convicted of murder just days before. But Mary’s crimes began many years earlier when at the age of 5 she stole a pair of shoes. She became a very clever con-woman and thief, and while she was convicted of one murder, there were several other unusual deaths within her circle of influence over the years. The author has compiled the known facts about Mary and the society she lived in, in order to tell the story of this infamous woman’s life from childhood to her death.

I found this book to be very well written. The author has organized the chapters so that each covers a section of her life and her activities during that time. We get to see how her crimes escalate over time. Mary apparently employed the use of fictitious personas to lure her victims into her schemes. She was somewhat educated and knew how to read and write, this gave her a leg up on the neighbors that she was able to use to her advantage. Mary was married and had several children but the knowledge or involvement of her husband has never been definitively established and remains a mystery. I really enjoyed reading this book and history buffs or true crime addicts should enjoy it also.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Dead Watch” by John Sandford

“Dead Watch” by John Sandford

Senator Bowe has gone missing and his wife Madison wants to know why. So does the President. Jake Winters is a researcher that the President calls on when he needs help with special situations. This is one of those situations. When the Senator is found dead in the woods, Jake and Madison are thrown together in order to determine exactly what happened, but they may be in for more than they bargained for before they get their answers.

As with other novels by this author, this is a thriller with some graphic violence. I liked the characters of Jake and Madison, though I did take a little while to warm up to Madison. The story is political in nature and has some engaging twists and turns. Unlike most of this author’s books, this is a stand-alone and not part of a series which is a little disappointing since I would love to see these characters developed further. Overall, this is a good story, but I didn’t find it as engaging as other books I’ve read by this author. That being said, I’m not a big fan of political stories, so that makes it hard for me to be objective.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3-5-star-rating 3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Lies” by TM Logan

“Lies” by TM Logan

If you love psychological thrillers, you need to get a copy of this book. This is a pulse-pounding ride of a story. Joe Lynch’s life starts on a downward spiral the moment his 4-year old son spots Mom’s car in traffic one afternoon. The first lie he uncovers is just the beginning. As the author takes us step-by-step through the deceptions you can’t help but wonder if Joe is being set-up or is he covering up? The final twist will take you completely by surprise.

Joe Lynch is an average guy, happily married, adores his son, and teaches high school English. Ben Delaney considers him an underachiever. When Joe confronts Ben about the affair he is having with Joe’s wife Mel, Ben threatens to destroy him. With each new day it seems more and more likely that Ben will succeed. I couldn’t help but like Joe from the beginning and continued to like him even while questioning his guilt or innocence. This story has lots of twists and the author keeps the plot moving forward at a good pace throughout. I highly recommend this book!

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

On Goodreads

Twenty7 and NetGalley provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Actual Malice” by Breton Peace and Gary Condit

“Actual Malice” by Breton Peace and Gary Condit

Who doesn’t remember the media onslaught surrounding Gary Condit and the disappearance of Chandra Levy. What people kept calling for at the time was some kind of confession from Gary Condit, but he refused to speak about his part, if any, in the disappearance. In this book we get the whole story from the Condit side of the drama. Breton Peace has done a fabulous job of detailing the events, the media’s actions, and the response of the Condits to the onslaught of accusations. You will read in here about the missteps of the investigators and the self-promotion that certain members of law enforcement was engaging in, at Gary Condit’s expense.

I found this story to be very disturbing. The level of false accusation and the destruction that came in its wake just astonished me. The author’s writing style made the story very engaging and at times un-put-downable. I would like to think that our society as a whole can gain, through this story, an awareness of how false accusation can destroy an individual, and that we would, as a result, hold ourselves to a higher standard. I was very moved while reading this book and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Ghost Mountain Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

“An Untamed Land” by Lauraine Snelling

“An Untamed Land” by Lauraine Snelling

Christian values and 1880’s Dakota Territory combine in this inspirational story. Roald and Ingeborg, Carl and Kaaren, two young couples from Norway emigrate together to America in order to take advantage of the homesteading opportunities in North Dakota. Just getting there almost costs Kaaren her life, but they have been researching and planning for this trip for years and are ready to hit the ground running when they arrive. Proving up a homestead is no easy task and finding the tools and livestock they need proves more challenging then they anticipated. The story follows these two couples through the first 3 years recounting their triumphs and tragedies, and demonstrating how their faith pulls them through.

I don’t normally read books in this genre but I was drawn to this one because the story takes place in the Red River Valley where I happen to live and I was looking for a change from my usual thrillers. The story did not disappoint. The pacing and creative of the storyline kept me well engaged. I think the author did a great job of bringing the realities of the homesteading life to the reader. My usual problem with this genre is that it can be quite preachy, but I did not find this to be true in this case. If this is a genre you enjoy then you won’t go wrong with this book. This is the first book in the Red River of the North series.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 3-5-star-rating  3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Scarred” by Michael Kenneth Smith

“Scarred” by Michael Kenneth Smith

Synopsis:  After fatally shooting the Confederate sharpshooter who killed his best friend, Zach Harkin’s sense of revenge changes to deep remorse when he views the dead man’s diary and photo. Haunted, suffering from post traumatic stress, and unable to serve, he is mustered out of service. With scant information, he begins an epic journey to search for the dead man’s family. He is captured, imprisoned, tortured, and thoroughly tested as a human being, but after escaping, he never expects to find love in the war ravaged South.

My thoughts: I found this story very moving. Zach Harkin is so damaged by his war experience and yet still all he wants is to return the journal he found on a Confederate soldier to the man’s wife. What he thinks will be a relatively simple task turns into a nightmare for Zach. I liked that even when his circumstances were at their worst, he thought of other’s needs before his own. It’s not often that I come across a story set in the Civil War, but this is a moment of history that has always piqued my interest so that just added to my enjoyment. I cannot recommend this story highly enough, a real gem. I am looking forward to more from this author.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“The Fifth Petal” by Brunonia Barry

“The Fifth Petal” by Brunonia Barry

I have just five words for you, my readers: You Must Read This Book! The Fifth Petal is a fascinating mystery involving witches and pirates and old oak trees. It all takes place in Salem, Massachusetts where questions seem to lurk around every corner. Rafferty is the local police chief, who took over the job just a few years after the infamous Goddess murders. He still feels the burden of the unsolved mystery, which occurred on Halloween. Years later, a young man dies on Halloween night and the same person was at the scene. Her name is Rose. Rose is a homeless woman who before the Goddess murders was a highly respected researcher. She was like a mother to the Goddesses and they lived in her home.

Callie is the center of this story. Her mother Olivia was one the Goddesses who was murdered. Rose was like an aunt to Callie and did more to raise her than her mother did. Callie was 5 when her mother was killed and she was at the scene when it happened. The murders left her with physical and emotional scars, and the trauma of the murders blocked out many of her memories of the time. After being taken in by nuns and shuffled arounds through foster homes, she becomes a music therapist. The nuns had told her Rose was dead, so imagine her shock when she sees Rose on the evening news being accused of the murder of a young man. Callie knows she must go to Rose but she cannot possibly foresee how meeting her again will change her life.

What did I like about this book? Everything! The characters in the story are loaded with personality and very likable. The story itself is loaded with twists and turns that keep the reader fully engaged. A lot of Salem history is cleverly incorporated and the descriptions immerse the reader in the place. There was nothing I didn’t like about this book, except that it left me wanting more. This is book 2 in a series and I can’t wait for news of book 3. I highly recommend you check this one out.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“Echoes from Death” by Helen Hanson

“Echoes from Death” by Helen Hanson

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

The Cruise FBI Thriller series just keeps getting better with “Echoes from Death” which is Book 3. Claudia and Baxter are back again and better than ever. This installment has them in Mazatlan, where Claudia is hoping to finally solve the mystery of Ravi’s death. It’s 10 years later, but an informant has come forward and Claudia gets permission to pursue it, unofficially. What neither Claudia or Baxter know is just how dangerous this search will be.

In this installment, Claudia and Baxter are finally a couple and I find their relationship to be really sweet. When she’s with Baxter, Claudia can finally let down the FBI tough guy stance and be herself. Baxter meanwhile, is so supportive and seems to have a 6th sense for what Claudia needs from him. This is a thriller so romance is low on the list, but I am really enjoying how this relationship is growing with each book. That being said, there are plenty of thrills and danger in this story. Whether on land or on sea, these two will not give up until justice is done. Helen Hanson fans will definitely love this book and if you haven’t tried her yet, you can’t go wrong with this series.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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“The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds” by Selina Siak Chin Yoke

“The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds” by Selina Siak Chin Yoke

This story is a masterpiece! I’m never quite sure what to expect when I pick up a book set in a different culture and I was very pleasantly surprised by this story. The author has based this story on the life of her great-grandmother and she must have been an amazing woman. The story begins in 1878 and is set in Malaysia. Chye Hoon in born into a Nyonya household and is trained in the tradition. Her marriage is arranged for her by her parents and she is fortunate because they choose a handsome young man who will become not only her husband but her best friend. The newlyweds settle in Ipoh just before the turn of the century and their family grows right along with the town. They will have 10 children before tragedy strikes and Chye Hoon must find the courage to go on. She turns to her Nyonya training to support her family.

Chye Hoon shows great strength in the midst of a quickly changing world. She never learns to read or write but she manages to start not 1 but 3 successful businesses. She faces incredible personal losses but her family keeps her going. Her story is beautifully told in this book. Since Chye Hoon supports her family with her Nyonya cooking there is a lot of talk about food in this story and the author’s descriptions will have your mouth watering in no time. The author also does an excellent job of describing the culture and the tension between the white rulers and the Malaysian people. I am highly recommending this book, especially for readers who enjoy learning about other cultures. This could also be a great book club pick.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating  5 stars!

Happy Reading!

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A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and AmazonCrossing in exchange for an honest review.