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Holly "Book addict" RSS Feed (Indiana, USA)

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And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel
And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Julia Glass continues to deliver, October 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Julia Glass is one of the very few authors who are on my "automatic purchase" list. I have found over and over again that her books are ones I will want to savor so a library loan isn't a good option. I also know that she writes books I want to re-read (pretty unusual for me), so owning them on my Kindle is a luxury I give to myself.

Three Junes: A novel is one of my all-time favorite novels. Since I automatically purchased this one, I didn't realize when I started reading that it gave the backstory of that novel. Please don't assume you need to have read that book to enjoy this one. And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel stands perfectly well on its own.

Ms. Glass manages to write dense, slowly unfolding books that keep me glued to the page/kindle screen. This one took me quite a while to work my way through, but I savored it all from beginning to end and had no desire to rush it. Her forte is beautifully wrought characters that come alive in my mind and stay with me long after the book is completed. The characters in this story are some of the most interesting, well developed souls I have ever encountered on the printed page. If you enjoy a lot of action and suspense in your reading, this book probably isn't a good choice for you. If you gravitate toward slice-of-life prose that draws you into a different world, I can't speak highly enough of this, or any of her other, novels. It has inspired me to go back an re-read Three Junes: A novel. Loved, loved, loved it!

Watermelon (Walsh Family Book 1)
Watermelon (Walsh Family Book 1)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $10.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So happy I borrowed it from the library, October 11, 2014
This was a series I had been looking forward to reading and downloaded the first book on my Kindle to take to Florida on a relaxing, beach vacation. I loved the Shopoholic series by Sophie Kinsella and have found them to be incredibly entertaining. This series sounded to be in a similar vein plus an added bonus of being set in Ireland which usually piques my interest.

As I got started, things were o.k. Not wonderful, but sometimes it just takes a while to get into the swing of a new writer and a new group of characters. I gamely kept reading thinking the really good stuff was yet to come. Rather than getting better, things just got much, much worse. The main character is a flippant, self-absorbed, woman of 29 who had just given birth to her first child on the same day her husband left her. As I kept reading page after page narrated by this character, I began to understand why he would do so. She isn't charming or funny, just whiny and narcissistic. While stating she never could have comprehended the overwhelming love she has for her daughter, she does everything but act that way. Six weeks after these two momentous events, she has done very little except wallow in her misery and then decide she must focus on getting new clothes and a man. Occasionally, she seems to remember she is a new mother but only long enough for her to arrange for someone to take care of her daughter so she can go off drinking and chasing a man. The cast of characters that surround her, primarily her family, do nothing to redeem the book as they are every bit as annoying as she is. To be honest, a little over half way into the book, I finally deleted it from the Kindle without finishing. There was section of the narrative so graphic on her past experiences in bed that I just went "yuck" and I was finished.

I have probably stopped reading only about ten books in my entire life and I usually find something compelling enough in them to keep me going. I just couldn't do it this time.

Due or Die (A Library Lover's Mystery Book 2)
Due or Die (A Library Lover's Mystery Book 2)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $6.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Due or Die - entertaining, October 9, 2014
This is the second installment in the Library Lover's mystery series by Jenn McKinlay. I have enjoyed both books and plan on reading the third one as well. As is typical with the cozy mystery genre, it's heavy on setting and characters and lighter on the mystery side. Storms, an abandoned puppy, the drama of a volunteer board's elections all take place prior to the mystery but I didn't particularly mind. It's a book you settle in with for a funny, light read knowing you aren't going to be confronted with blood and gore. My only real quibble with the book is the introduction of the new puppy. This poor dog never seems to be let outside to do his business, seems to have the manners of an older, settled dog who has had plenty of obedience training (and passed with flying colors), and he displays very little puppy behavior. While I like the new addition, I wish less ink had been devoted to him and I wish the trials/tribulations of a young dog been a bit more realistic. It was enough to be a distraction.

Overall, an enjoyable read when in the mood for good, clean, fun.

Ask Again Later
Ask Again Later
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Average, September 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ask Again Later (Kindle Edition)
I was enthused enough about this book that I suggested it to my book group. While we all were able to finish it, the general consensus was "it was ok". Nobody hated it and nobody loved it -- plus it generated zero discussion.

From my perspective, the premise was interesting but the novel didn't deliver. Just too many "you have got to be kidding" moments. I was expecting something that would tug at my heartstrings and have some humorous moments and neither happened. I did grow to have some appreciation for the character of the mother, but found myself lukewarm (at best) about the protagonist. While I did finish it and found it an ok read, I won't be spending time nor money to seek out other books by this author.

One Plus One: A Novel
One Plus One: A Novel
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Readable, enjoyable but not memorable, September 26, 2014
As this is the first novel I have read by this author, I have nothing to compare it to. I can't tell you anything about it being better or worse than her other books nor can I share about whether it is formulaic or not. What I can share is that the novel is very readable and largely enjoyable if you suspend disbelief at some of the plot that doesn't hold up under scrutiny. Looking for pure entertainment, it was good but there was very little that had much depth or meaning. One of the most telling things about the book is that I finished it a week ago and had to look at the product description to remember what it was about --- it really didn't stand out or stay with me over time.

As I said in my title: Readable, Enjoyable, but not Memorable

How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Book 9)
How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Book 9)
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
50 used & new from $15.15

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)
Price: $5.98

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
91 used & new from $12.78

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.


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.

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