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Holly "Book addict" RSS Feed (Indiana, USA)
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How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $8.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Wish it were possible to give more than 5 stars, September 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, the first book in the series was very good and I was captivated enough to go on to the second book in the series, A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel. Once I had read those two, I was off and running and her books became a treat to look forward to and I have had to force myself to ration them out so that I didn't rush through them. Having just finished this book last night, I now have only the most recent installment yet to read and will have to save it for a very special occasion. While the books have ranged from good to great, I think this just might be my favorite of all.

Well plotted, well written, and an intriguing cast of characters make this much more than just a mystery novel. It is a combination of mystery, thriller, and literary fiction. People of all reading tastes can find something wonderful within these pages. This installment is set largely in Three Pines which makes it even better as it is a fabulous, atmospheric setting.

A word to folks who haven't read the previous books in the series. Please don't start with this one! The characters and the foundation for the plot have been laid earlier and a huge amount of enjoyment will be missed if you don't start at the beginning. There are some similarities to the Harry Potter books as characters and events from previous books play a major role without a lot of explanation. I was enthralled with the HP books and how the author had to know where she was going in later books in order to write the early ones. Louise Penny does much the same thing here and does it well.

Love the series but especially love this one!


The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
Offered by HarperCollins Christian Publishing
Price: $12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful place to start; excellent guidance, September 12, 2014
One thing I really liked about this book is that it is helpful no matter where you are on your financial journey. If you are just starting out and follow these words of wisdom, you will be in much better shape financially that most people out there. If you are somewhere on down the road, this book will tell you how to improve your financial situation. This is true whether or not you are in debt, living within your means, or living below your means. The idea of bucking the current trend of continual consumption and "living like no one else" is perfect. While people may view you as strange for living by these principles, you will have the satisfaction of being able to go to sleep at night without worrying about being able to pay the next bill or agonizing over where the money will come from for the next installment payment.

Everyone just starting beginning to earn money should read this as a primer on how to do things correctly from the beginning, but it may not always "take" when the money (or credit card) is in your pocket and those shiny new cars, electronic gadgets, clothing are calling out to you. I really believe this would be a good book to re-read every few years to either shore up your resolve or to remind you that you can get out of debt and not answer the siren of massive consumption.

While people may be able to argue specific points, the overall book is fantastic and incredibly wise. Even though my family has always used credit cards to get the rewards associated with them and pay them off each month, Dave Ramsey's absolutely adamant opposition to their use does make sense and has caused me to question our usage. If nothing else, he sure makes you think!

Mr. Ramsey mentioned another book entitled The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D. which is also a fabulous book. It helps dispel the myth of who is "rich" in this country and shoots holes through the idea that people who spend a lot of money are the ones that have a lot of money. These two books in combination are a wonderful place to begin understanding the benefits of saving and spending your money wisely.


The Silent Sister
The Silent Sister
by Diane Chamberlain
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.07

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even with its faults, I wanted to keep reading, September 8, 2014
This review is from: The Silent Sister (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Quick synopsis: Riley MacPherson has returned to her childhood home to deal with the estate of her recently deceased father. One of three children, she is the only one to deal with the dispensing of the house and its contents as well as other aspects of the will. Her older sister was a violin prodigy who committed suicide at the age of seventeen and her older brother is a veteran of the Iraqi war who holds a great deal of resentment against the family and has become a recluse who is unwilling to help.

As the novel unfolds, Riley begins finding information that brings into question the narrative she has held about her family. She also finds out that she doesn't know as much about her father's current life as she assumed she did and is caught off-guard when discovering that other people knew more about his recent past than she did. More and more questions arise that she struggles to find answers to while dealing with the grief of her father's passing.

While this book had its weaknesses, the author kept me turning pages to find out what the true history was and how everything was going to be resolved. If you go into this expecting a suspense novel, I think you will be pleased. If you go into this looking for women's fiction, I think you may be disappointed. There is not enough fleshing out of characters and there are large, gaping holes in Riley's story as well as her brother's that make it difficult for me to connect with either of them or sometimes understand their motivation. I know some folks have compared this book to those by Jodi Picoult but I usually find myself more invested in Ms. Picoult's characters and caring about them more. This book was interesting for the uncovering of information and the piecing together of the puzzle, while I felt largely disconnected from the characters themselves.

A good read. Not fantastic as there were some missed opportunities for the author to produce a home-run novel.


Windex Blue 26 oz (Pack Of 2)
Windex Blue 26 oz (Pack Of 2)

5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, happy "original" is still produced, September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Windex had been an old stand-by for my family for years. My mother swore by it and I have used it for the 30 years I have had my own household. Many times it seems you find a product you like and the company discontinues it for the "new and improved" version. One of the things I like most is that the original Windex is still available in addition to the newer ones so the consumer has a choice and I have chosen to stick with the original.

I use this Windex on everything: Windows, mirrors, eye glasses, iPhone (have a screen protector but use this to get the fingerprints off), etc. The product works incredibly well and has a scent which smells clean and is not overpowering. A little bit goes a long way so a bottle will last forever making the price per use very minimal.

One helpful hint: On some things it is better to spray the Windex on a paper towel or tissue and then use that to clean the item. This is how I clean my iPhone and then I don't have to worry about getting liquid in the device.

The one thing that has changed over the years is the bottle design itself. It has been improved and this particular bottle is easy to handle. The neck has been made smaller which makes it easier to hold and use. The one "improvement" really was an improvement.

Great product!


Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford Novel (A Mitford Novel)
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford Novel (A Mitford Novel)
by Jan Karon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.77
71 used & new from $14.50

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After a long absence, another visit to Mitford, September 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A bit of background first: This most recent book is a continuation of the Mitford series started with that first novel, At Home in Mitford: A Novel (A Mitford Novel) back in November of 1998. Jan Karon continued writing a total of nine books, ending with Light from Heaven (A Mitford Novel) which was published in November of 2005. In the years since then, she published two "Father Tim" books which featured the main character from the Mitford books, but they were not considered part of the original series. After a hiatus of almost nine years, Ms. Karon is now publishing another book returning to the town of Mitford and there is much rejoicing from fans. This was one of my most-loved group of books and I eagerly read each of them as they were published and anxiously waited for the next one. In addition to loving the stories, they were books my mother and I could share. One of my favorite memories of my mother was when we had the opportunity to attend a reading and book signing years ago by Ms. Karon. This provided us common ground and was so very enjoyable. My mother passed away a couple of years ago and one of the things I kept was her collection of these hardbound books. I know my story is shared by others so that may help explain some of the enthusiasm and general euphoria on the part of readers upon being given the gift of another Mitford book.

An item of note: These books must be read in order to be truly appreciated. You should read the Father Tim books as well prior to reading this one. I skipped those books, thinking it wouldn't matter but it does. While I was able to pick up the threads and there was a quick filling in of the blanks on the part of the author, there were storylines in those two books which are built on in this one. If I had it to do over again, I would have read those other books.

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I am not going to go into plot or storyline as most folks are already acquainted with the books or can get a good idea from the product description. As I said earlier, please don't start with this one, but go back to the beginning if you are interested as that is the only way to appreciate the series. As someone who loves the series I think it would have been difficult for Ms. Karon to write a book I wouldn't like and I did like it.

Unfortunately, I didn't totally love it and here is why: I think the book would have been better if it had been shortened by 75-100 pages. There were parts that didn't add much and the book seemed to lose some momentum. At 500 pages, it is 100-150 pages longer than most of the earlier novels and those were perfect and lovely. I also felt much more "preached at" in this one than in previous books. While faith and prayer are integral to what these books are about, my memory of earlier novels are that it was much more woven into the fabric of the story where this time was different. It seemed every conversation between characters either involved praying (and times where the full prayer was printed), a request for prayer, or an offer of prayer. It felt a little like being hit over the head with a stick. While I think the earlier books would be equally appreciated by people of other religious traditions, it would be hard to read this unless you shared the Christian faith. I noticed this was categorized as Christian Fiction which I don't recall being the case with earlier installments.

Now that you have heard the downside and maybe I shouldn't have lead with that, I still have to say I am so happy I read the book and caught up with the characters I have come to love. The town of Mitford and its inhabitants feel like old friends I hadn't seen for a very long time and was glad to spend time getting re-acquainted. For those of us who have spent many hours immersed in the world created by Ms. Karon, you really must take another visit there to catch up on all the news.


Norwegian by Night
Norwegian by Night
by Derek Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.94
41 used & new from $7.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful literature, August 23, 2014
This review is from: Norwegian by Night (Paperback)
Part suspense novel, part literary fiction, and part historical fiction, this novel has a great blend of various genres. While the crime/suspense portion drives the story, the characters and setting play huge role. Set in Oslo, Norway the protagonist is an 82-year-old Jewish American who has moved countries with his granddaughter and her husband. Upon being a witness to a crime, he uses the skills learned in his military service to run from both the perpetrator and the police. The flight from the crime scene and ensuing pursuit allows the author time to open the window into understanding his motivation and history.

This novel is most similar to the Tana French books which have enjoyed such broad appeal. If you liked In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad Book 1) or the other books in that series, I would recommend you give this novel a try.


Fintie Amazon Kindle Paperwhite SmartShell Case - The Thinnest and Lightest Leather Cover for Amazon All-New Kindle Paperwhite (Both 2012 and 2013 Versions with 6" Display and Built-in Light), Map Brown
Fintie Amazon Kindle Paperwhite SmartShell Case - The Thinnest and Lightest Leather Cover for Amazon All-New Kindle Paperwhite (Both 2012 and 2013 Versions with 6" Display and Built-in Light), Map Brown
Offered by Fintie
Price: $11.95
2 used & new from $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Best value for a Kindle Paperwhite cover, August 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have an original Paperwhite and purchased the Amazon case for it ($39.99) and really liked it but it was a tad heavy to hold but protected the device and I loved the fact it woke up when the case was opened.

When I purchased a second generation Paperwhite, I kept the original one so I had two Paperwhites but only one case. I didn't want to shell out $40 for another case so I was reading it naked and then putting it in a cheap, zippered case made for the Touch when not reading. It worked all right, but I was concerned about dropping it since it is slick, plus there were fingerprints smudges on the bezel and the back where I was holding it. Some folks would not be bothered by that, but it bugged me and I decided to see about purchasing a case for it. Knowing there would probably be several options since the device had been around a while, I started comparison shopping and found this one. At this price point and the reviews indicating it is lighter weight than the one sold by Amazon, I decided I had nothing to lose. I went with the brown map design since my other Paperwhite is in a solid navy color.

I am so, so pleased after having used it a while.

It is fake leather so it isn't quite a soft to the touch, but it is definitely lighter in weight which make the tradeoff in material more than acceptable. It fits the Paperwhite perfectly, it opens and closes well, and it awakens the device every single time when it is opened. I can also flip the cover around to the back and read and the depth of the case/device combination is less than the original cover so it is more comfortable to hold. I usually hold the device in one hand when reading and this is perfect for that.

Love the device and now I have the perfect cover. I would buy another one just like it in a heartbeat if I needed one.


The Story Hour: A Novel
The Story Hour: A Novel
by Thrity Umrigar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.92
51 used & new from $12.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good novel but doesn't rise to the level of greatness, August 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is not my first time to read a novel by Thrity Umrigar. I read The World We Found: A Novel and thought it was wonderful. Given the opportunity to read and review this latest offering, I felt a bit like I had won a prize.

Here is a blurb from the back of the book: "An experience psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who has tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store."

Those few sentences do an excellent job of describing the basis of the novel. These two women's lives are intertwined from the moment they meet and the novel covers both their complex relationship and their individual secrets.

The premise of the story is fascinating and I enjoyed the mixing of cultures, educational levels, and personal strength/weakness. I found the character of Lakshmi to be totally engaging though having so much of the book written in broken, grammatically incorrect English was a bit annoying. While I understand the need to differentiate the voices and to help the reader grasp her situation, I wish the author had found another way to do so than this. The character of Maggie is supposed to be a sympathetic character (hard early years) but came across as too cold and self-involved to elicit much compassion from me.

Where the novel shines is in letting the reader see the two cultures sometimes colliding with unexpected results. This isn't a book that telegraphs the ending but is full of the twists and turns that actually exist in real life. Part literary fiction and part chick-lit, this is a novel worth reading but never quite attains the level achieved in The World We Found: A Novel. Starts out strong, drags during the middle sections, but ends with a bang; leaving me with an overall rating of 4-stars.


Ziploc Slider Storage Bags Quart Value Pack 42 ct (Pack Of 3)
Ziploc Slider Storage Bags Quart Value Pack 42 ct (Pack Of 3)
Price: $13.38
2 used & new from $12.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes small things make me happy, August 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I grew up with very frugal, depression-era parents. They always purchased the "bare bones" plastic bags and often the ones you have to put a twist-tie around. When I started making my own purchase decisions, I stepped up to the Ziploc bags with the track closure and liked them quite a bit. I moved up to regularly purchasing the Ziploc freezer bags with the slider as I had found that I often didn't get the other bags closed well enough. Even though I loved the freezer bags, I wasn't quite ready to spring for the slider bags for non-freezer foods. When given the opportunity to try these out, I was quite enthusiastic.

These bags are WONDERFUL! They have some heft to them and I feel like I can load them up without worrying about them splitting. I can also reuse them (if appropriate) rather than throwing them away after a single use. The slider closure is a breeze and I don't have to stand there and fight with it to make sure I really have the bag sealed. The bag also is designed so that it can stand upright which makes putting food or other items into it much, much easier.

I know it may seem silly to be so enthused about a plastic bag, but it is a little luxury that I will be indulging in from now on.


Febreze Air Effects Allergen Reducer Clean Splash Air Freshener (1 Count, 9.7 Ounce) (Pack of 9)
Febreze Air Effects Allergen Reducer Clean Splash Air Freshener (1 Count, 9.7 Ounce) (Pack of 9)
Price: $35.74
5 used & new from $35.74

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seems all right, August 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Having multiple animals in our home plus three people with allergies, this seemed like the ideal product to try.

1) The odor is all right with me, but my 19-year-old daughter doesn't care for it. She says it has a "chemical smell" that she doesn't like. I find the odor to be non-offensive, but don't love it either -- fairly neutral on that subject. The odor does dissipate quickly after being sprayed in the air so even if you aren't crazy about it, it doesn't stick around long.

2) On the plus side, the other odors appear to disappear after spraying this rather than just being covered up with something stronger. I keep air freshening spray/room spray in each bathroom and those tend to try to mask the offensive odors while this one seems to be more effective in eliminating them.

3) We usually have watery eyes and sneezing when dealing with allergens and I can't see that we are sneezing any less than usual. None of us are in the throws of allergies at the moment so watery eyes aren't an issue. I sneeze more than the rest of my family since I do more animal care and cleaning so am exposed to more dust, dander, and fur. This product hasn't made my sneezing any worse (and some products do) so that is good, but I don't see any drastic improvement either.

I will continue to use this until the product runs out but doubt I will buy more in the future. If my opinion changes, I will revise my review to reflect that.


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