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The Magpies
The Magpies
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Things that go bump in the night, December 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Magpies (Kindle Edition)
The Magpies by Mark Edwards is one of those books that I started and didn't stop reading until I had finished the last page. I loved the book. It's a psychological thriller about a young couple, Jamie and Kirsty, who buy their first flat close to London and are so happy with their new home and hope to get married and start a family. The apartment building houses a few other neighbors, all who seem to be a bit odd, but nevertheless friendly. All goes well until the young couple begins to get unsigned letters of complaint about their music being too loud when they were playing it softly to begin with.

The real horrors come when Jamie and Kirsty are awakened in the middle of the night by strange noises and voices that they cannot explain. A terrible accident occurs and a neighbor's cat goes missing. Two dead rats show up on their doorstep and that's just the beginning.

Mark Edwards has written this book in a style that keeps the reader wondering until the very end of the book, and it's very hard to put the book down and pick it up later. All in all I thought it was a well-written book with very interesting characters, to say the least, and an excellent story line. If you like psychological thrillers with lots of suspense, then you should like this one. I've downloaded two more by this author, and Magpies is the second of Edwards' books that I've read.

Shelter Me
Shelter Me
by Juliette Fay
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.46
243 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A family's grief, December 16, 2014
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This review is from: Shelter Me (Paperback)
Juliette Fay's "Shelter Me" is one of the better books I've read lately. It is the story of Janie LaMarche who is a recent widow and is left with two small children. Janie's husband was killed in a biking accident and her grief and anger know no bounds. She has isolated herself from friends and family but her family still stays involved with her as much as possible.

In the midst of her grief, one day a builder shows up at her house with the plans for adding a porch on to the house. Janie had nothing to do with the porch and realized that it was a surprise gift from her husband and would be his last gift to her. Tug, the builder, understands Janie's grief since he has his own quiet sadness going on.

Part of the story is told through Janie's journal entries which are interspersed with the third person narrative. I enjoyed reading her personal thoughts and Janie was very real to me, as were most of the other characters. This book is well-written with very well developed characters. It isn't a fluffy, sappy story at all, but a genuine look at grief and how it affects one woman's life and the life of her family, friends and even her priest. Janie is down to earth, practical and is trying to keep her children's lives as normal as possible, but the difficulties she encounters with some of the pre-school mothers who are a bit diva-ish are the opposite of Janie. Janie's anger takes on a life of its own when her dressy neighbor is a bit late bringing her son home from a play date. She tolerates her ipecac-toting aunt who will come to Janie's aid whenever she is needed, ipecac or not.

Highly recommended.

Gray Mountain: A Novel
Gray Mountain: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Big city eyes are opened to small town poverty, December 16, 2014
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John Grisham is one of two or three authors whose books I usually pre-order. I've read 23 of the 27 he's written and although "Gray Mountain" gets 3 stars from me, I see no reason not to read future work by Grisham. I do think that his earlier books were the best.

This book was fine for me until about halfway through when it lost some steam. It seemed to get too caught up in the hikes to Gray Mountain and Samantha's love interest in addition to Samantha's lessons on learning her way through litigation and the courtroom. It was a lesson-a-day after a while. Personally, I did appreciate the social conscience that it took for Grisham to write the truth about the coal mining industry and his one character's struggle with black lung disease.

This book isn't what I'd call a thriller or even a mystery. It is the story of what happens when Samantha Kofer loses her job at a large New York law firm in 2008 and does an unpaid internship in a poor coal-mining town in Virginia in hopes of getting her job back. It becomes an eye-opening experience for her since she has never dealt with a small town before nor has she been exposed to the poor.

I enjoyed the book, but it just wasn't one of John Grisham's best.

Christmas Stories from Georgia
Christmas Stories from Georgia
by Dorothy Dodge Robbins
Edition: Hardcover
27 used & new from $8.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A variety of Christmas stories set in Georgia, December 2, 2014
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"Christmas Stories From Georgia" is a collection of sixteen short stories written by various authors from the state of Georgia and is edited by Dorothy Dodge Robbins and Kenneth Robbins.

The book begins with a memoir from the late Lillian Smith about a Christmas during the Great Depression when her poor family invited the local chain gang to Christmas dinner. It is a delightfully written memory of a Christmas that one family made the best of and shows us what the true spirit of Christmas is all about.

Born in 1848, Joel Chandler Harris wrote "A Conscript's Christmas" in which he created a humorous tale of two Confederate soldiers, one a captain and one a private, who ride horseback up Sugar Mountain to bring back Israel Spurlock who as Private Chadwick says, "They yerked him into army an' he yerked himself out..." The two of them must bring him back to the army right at Christmas, but not before they are subjected to the local trickery.

Author Janice Daugharty from Valdosta, Georgia, offers her short story "Once a Thief." Lovie, sucking her thumb, and Sister are being moved once again out of one of The King's houses and into another of his in the quarters, all done by "wheelbar" and on Christmas Eve. Mama backs up the parade with the dogs. Going to bed hungry and without Santa Claus was nothing new, but Sister didn't think it was right for Lovie to have to suffer this on another Christmas Eve. She finds a way to make Christmas a little brighter for them all. Sister, Lovie, The Count, Mama and Uncle King appear in other stories and books by Janice Daugharty.

The book ends with Chapter 18 from the much loved "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell. Scarlett yearns for a private moment with Ashley Wilkes in order to give him his Christmas present from her and in hopes of hearing his confession of love for her. Ashley must return to the war and all fear that he will not return. It made me want to start the book all over again.

I enjoyed these sometimes happy and sometimes dark short stories by excellent writers. The collection is varied enough that it isn't boring and covers a large span of time. An excellent collection of southern writers and their Christmas tales.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2014 11:58 AM PST

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
by Nujood Ali
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.92
594 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable story of a 10-year-old Yemeni girl, November 20, 2014
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This book is fairly short so I read it in one sitting. It is a remarkable account written by a very remarkable young girl who, at age 10, was married off by her father to a man who was 30 years old. As Nujood described him his fingernails were black, he smelled awful and his breath was foul. The agreement he had made with her father was that he would not touch his young wife until she had hit puberty, but he took that promise with a grain of salt and Nujood suffered greatly while at his home in her old village miles and hours away from her family in Yemen.

Nujood is a timid girl, illiterate, but smart and who knows what she wants. While visiting her parents for a little while, she managed to slip away and on foot sought out a way to get a divorce. The rest of this book reads like a suspense story as she moves through the system all by herself and finds the right people to help her.

It is an incredible story of one young girl's determination to achieve the goal she sets out to reach.

Highly recommeded.

LG REMOTE CONTROL OEM Original Part: MKJ36998126
LG REMOTE CONTROL OEM Original Part: MKJ36998126
Offered by NeoHomeSales
Price: $11.99
8 used & new from $8.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works like a charm, November 18, 2014
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I took a chance on thiis remote control after losing the orginal one. I think it was recycled with the newspapers. It is a bit different from the original, but still pretty close. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it, pressed a few buttons and it worked just like the original. No fooling around with codes or buttons, it just worked. The price also was very good. Very safisfied with this purchase!

Dove ProAge Hand Cream, 2.5-Fluid Ounce (75 ml)
Dove ProAge Hand Cream, 2.5-Fluid Ounce (75 ml)
Offered by British Grocery
Price: $9.70
3 used & new from $9.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Dove ProAge Hand Cream really works, November 18, 2014
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I love this Dove ProAge Hand Cream. I've been using it for a few weeks now, applying it to my hands before bedtime. I'm noticing a difference in the prominence of the spots on my hands caused by the sun. They haven't completely gone away, but they are significantly fading away. I don't have that many of them, but enough that I'd like to diminish what I have. The cream isn't greasy nor is it too thick. It softens the skin while doing its main job.

I will definitely order this again. It takes a little longer to get since it comes from the U.K., but it's worth the wait.

Definitely recommended!

The Aviator's Wife: A Novel
The Aviator's Wife: A Novel
by Melanie Benjamin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.46
164 used & new from $1.24

4.0 out of 5 stars The hero and his copilot, November 14, 2014
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Known as "Lucky Lindy" Colonel Charles Lindbergh was the country's hero when he became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1927. Anne Morrow was a shy young woman when she met Charles at Christmas right after his solo flight. She was sure that he was going to fall for her older sister and wouldn't give Anne the time of day. To her surprise, the pilot was interested in her with her quiet ways and her adventurous spirit that matched his own.

As the author, Melanie Benjamin, portrays him in her historical biography, "The Aviator's Wife", he is shy, not very communicative and uninterested in anything but flying. His self discipline and at times, coldness, is very apparent,and this was the opposite of Anne's personality. She liked socializing with her family and friends, but for two very private people at home, they would spend most of their young lives trying to avoid the press and the public who clamored for a look, a word with them, grabbing their clothing and driving them to seek isolation if they could.

A lot of this novel is heartbreaking as the Lindberghs go through the loss of their first child in 1932, and Anne has to hide her deep grief from Charles because for him it's forge ahead because grief will do you no good. The next flying expedition is what counts and he has trained Anne to fly, and she is the only copilot he will accept beside him in his plane. However much and however well Anne can do all of these things, she is still known only as the aviator's wife. Wife of the hero, of "Lucky Lindy" and not for the person she is as an individual.

I enjoyed the book very much and read it in just a few days. I found it very hard to put down as the events that unfold are told in such a way that kept me on the edge of my seat and it was hard not to read it straight through. The characters are very well developed and the dialogue is believable. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read about this period in history and in particular about Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Price: $11.96
37 used & new from $7.69

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On his way to greatness, November 11, 2014
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This review is from: Tenore (Audio CD)
What a blessing to be given such a gift as Jonathan Antoine's voice and what a gift to be able to hear and enjoy it. I have looked forward to this album since I first heard about it and there is no disappointment in listening to it. For one so young, I think that Jonathan is destined for one of the great voices in opera.

Since his days with the duo of Jonathan and Charlotte, his voice has matured and gotten better, no doubt with the training he is going through, but the talent was there long before the music and voice education.

"Tenore" is a combination of mostly familiar opera pieces and other well-known tunes that he sings in English such as "Be My Love" and "Love Changes Everything." His voice is big and dramatically reaches the high notes with ease. "Panis Angelicus" is particularly lovely with a choir accompaniment.

If you like music and want to try a new voice you should love this album.

Very highly recommended.

Orphan Train
Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
191 used & new from $4.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Shared experience and an unlikely friendship, November 10, 2014
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This review is from: Orphan Train (Paperback)
During the time from 1854 to 1929 steam engines roared from the East coast to the midwest carrying cars full of orphaned children to find new homes. "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline chronicles the story of two orphaned children, Molly, a modern day girl and Vivian, who lives in the same town but is 74 years older than Molly.

The two women meet when Molly has to do community service for a small theft she committed and chooses to help 91-year-old Vivian clean out her box-filled attic. During this time the two women start talking and find out that they have more in common than they ever thought.

This is a very well written book that I read in one sitting because I was so emotionally invested in these two characters. The book alternates between the orphan train years of Vivian and the present day years with Molly's hard times in foster care and Vivian's memories that surface as the two women work on the packed attic. I really loved both characters and wished the best for both of them. I found it to be an extraordinary book full of experiences that I am sure were the real ones for many children who went west on the long-ago orphan trains. It is insightful, honest and truthful and at the same time sympathetic and bittersweet. The author definitely did her homework on the time period in our country's history that has largely been overlooked, but was the fate of thousands of orphaned children. It is heartbreaking to read what happened to so many of these children who counted on finding a new mother and father.

I highly recommend the book for general fiction readers and historical fiction readers.

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