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Draw 500 Fabulous Flowers: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers
Draw 500 Fabulous Flowers: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers
by Lisa Congdon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.76
48 used & new from $7.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great little book, October 12, 2014
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Besides being useful, this is such a cute and sweet little book on drawing flowers. The book is full of 500 flowers to inspire the artist and they can be interpreted and expanded on in any way you want. I'm glad the other reviewer mentioned that "How to Draw a Tulip" is the same book because I almost ordered that one, but I went ahead and ordered the one on drawing cats, one of my favorite subjects.

This is a fun and useful book to inspire the beginning artist or one who is more accomplished. I certainly recomment it.


I'll Walk Alone: A Novel
I'll Walk Alone: A Novel
by Mary Higgins Clark
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
420 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A huge case of identity theft, October 12, 2014
Mary Higgins Clark's books have always been ones I've turned to when I want something light to read, and as another reviewer so correctly put it, "comforting." "I'll Walk Alone" is a story of identity theft that involves the kidnapping of a three-year-old child from his stroller while in the park with a babysitter. The mother of little Matthew is an interior decorator who is making a name for herself in New York, and is in competition with another famous decorator for the job of decorating some high-priced apartments in a highrise building with a good address.

Alexandra, better known as Zan, gets through her days with difficulty because she wants her son back so badly, and her ex-husband, Ted, who is a PR agent to celebrities, tends to blame Zan for not being a careful and watchful enough mother. Soon Zan's bank account is emptied out and the supplies for her proposed decorating plans are ordered and delivered, costing tens of thousands of dollars. Someone has stolen her identity and as she goes along trying to find out who has her son, she encounters blame, mistrust, suspicion and a near breakdown.

I read most of the book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I really liked the character of Zan and also the elderly priest. There are other characters that I am very fond of but I won't spoil the story or surprises. Unlike some of the reviewers, I didn't figure out until late in the book who the perpetrator of these crimes was. The book is suspenseful, clean, and typical of Mary Higgins Clark's writing, and that also means a good mystery. I haven't read all of her books yet, but I'm going on to another one soon.

Highly recommended.


Because She Loves Me
Because She Loves Me
Price: $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent tale of murder, jealousy, doubt and trust, October 12, 2014
Mark Edwards' "Because She Loves Me" is the first of his books I've read. What a story! I couldn't put it down and was hooked right from the first page. It is a very well-written tale of a man recovering from a detached retina when he meets the girl of his dreams. Andrew Sumner hasn't had a lot of luck with the women in his life, but Charlie, short for Charlotte, seems to be too good to be true. The two of them have a passionate, intense affair until Andrew begins to wonder who is at fault for the accident that befalls him and for murders that mysteriously occur.

The story deals with the topics of jealousy, trust, doubt and the obsession of one person for another. The characters are well-developed throughout the book and I definitely liked Andrew and his sister, Tilly. The book is full of twists, but I wasn't prepared for the ending. Overall, I loved the book.

Highly recommended for mystery,thriller and suspense readers, but the book contains adult subjects and language for parents' information.


All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story; so many kinds of light, September 19, 2014
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"All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr is one of those books that I want to go back and reread because I missed a lot the first time. I was so absorbed in the story that I flew through the book and now I need to go back and savor the beauty and metaphors that I missed the first time. It is a wonderful book, full of characters that I really cared about and who were developed over the course of the story, becoming real and difficult to leave at the end.

Marie-Laure is a blind girl who lives with her father in Paris during the German occupation of France dueing WWII. When it becomes too dangerous to stay, she and her father take to the countryside and make their way to the walled city of Saint-Malo where great uncle Etienne lives a reclusive life and the housekeeper is like a mother to Marie-Laure, and both becomes part of the Resistance. While there, she meets Werner, a boy who from childhood was only interested in radios, electricity, and taking apart things and putting them back together good as new. Werner was chosen to be a student at a very harsh technical school after being part of the Hitler Youth program.

The story of these two people and others, as well as the secret of a diamond that is in the possesion of one of them, is a story that is not easily forgotten. It isn't just the light that Marie-Laure can't see, but so many other types that are present, as well. Written beautifully, lyrically and very readable, this is one of my very favorites of the year so far.

Highly recommended literary fiction.


A Cold and Broken Hallelujah (Long Beach Homicide)
A Cold and Broken Hallelujah (Long Beach Homicide)
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A crime novel with a message, September 9, 2014
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I was drawn to this book because of the title. Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah", is one of my favorites and I thought that the song might pop up somewhere in the book to justify the title, and it does. The author, Tyler Dilts, didn't just give a title to the book without meaning.

I loved this book. Main character, Danny Beckett, is a member of the Homicide division of the Long Beach Police Department in Long Beach, CA. Danny has seen some grisly cases but the one he is called out for this time is one of the worst. A homeless man has been burned to death by three teenagers who are now in custody. Danny doesn't just throw himself into solving a case and putting people behind bars, but also takes an interest in the victims. Who they were, what their stories might have been and what the remains and their possessions say to him helps him to know the person not just as a victim who died a violent death, but as someone who had friends, family and dreams. How this particular victim died hits very close to home with Danny.

The author did a very good job of developing his characters and keeping the storyline flowing. I was caught from the first page and really cared about the characters, some of whom are homeless people who made their way into my heart. Other police personnel are interesting, human and supportive to Danny and to the story.

I liked this book so much that I downloaded the first and second books in the Long Beach Homicide series. "A Cold and Broken Hallelujah" is the third book, but it reads well as a stand alone novel, too. The other two are A King of Infinite Space (Long Beach Homicide) and The Pain Scale (Long Beach Homicide).

Dilts is an author that I will keep my eye on for new releases since I liked his style of writing and the message that comes across from Danny Beckett as he goes about his investigations. I'm glad I've found another author to look forward to reading.


Solitaire
Solitaire
Price: $13.86
44 used & new from $7.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice first solo album, September 6, 2014
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This review is from: Solitaire (Audio CD)
Charlotte Jaconelli was part of Jonathan and Charlotte, a male and female duo on Britain's Got Talent. With differing interests in music, they have each gone their separate ways and "Solitaire" is Charlotte's first solo album and a very good one.

Where Jonathan's choice is opera, Charlotte is more interested in musical theatre, so on this album there are songs from shows and two opera pieces. Her lovely soprano voice is maturing and getting stronger and it seems to be better than it was on the duo album "Perhaps Love." I enjoy listening to this album for the showcasing of Charlotte's voice and I also love the songs she chose for it. Most of them are slower songs and more subdued, but the last song, "I Could Have Danced All Night" is a real showstopper and a great ending to the album. Charlotte really hits her notes right on key, no matter how high or low they are. Her voice is versatile and lovely.

The album cover is pretty, too. It has a beautiful picture of Charlotte and brings the idea of solitary home with the title of "Solitaire" and the fact that she is wearing a diamond solitaire pendant and solitaire earrings. It's like she's saying, "I'm on my own and loving it."

Highly recommended.


Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle For Survival at the South Pole
Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle For Survival at the South Pole
by Jerri Nielsen
Edition: Paperback
330 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A story of finding home, friends and belonging, September 5, 2014
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I've always been interested in life and exploration at the Poles and in other cold places, so Dr. Jerri Nielson's story of her year as physician at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in 1999 was a perfect book for me. I remember when this story made the news. The book is detailed and tells the story much better than any news report could.

Dr. Jerri Nielsen was a bit dissatisfied and uncertain about her life as an emergency room physician in Cleveland, Ohio and needed a change. She happened to glance at an ad for a doctor needed at the South Pole for one year and made the decision to apply. She was off to one of the harshest places on Earth to be the physician for the people who wintered over at the South Pole's scientific station where temperatures reached -100F. It was there that she found the warmest and most important people and experiences of her life.

From her BioMed clinic, which was very outdated, she treated the ills of those who worked at the Pole and became one of the most-loved on the staff. The friends she met there became friends for life and the big machine mechanic,"Big" John Penney, became her dearest friend. I think that Dr. Nielsen found what she craved at home and that was a sense of belonging. She often felt that she never wanted to leave the Pole or her newly made friends there.

While there, Dr. Nielsen found a lump in her breast. It needed to be biopsied, so she did that herself
with the help of others there who she had trained to know some medical procedures in case she became too ill to function. Supplies were dropped off by plane in order for her to do the beginning chemotherapy along with the aid of a doctor back home and this was accomplished by satellites and computers allowing Dr. Kathy Miller to instruct the procedure for the chemo. After a while it became apparent that Dr. Nielsen had to be "rescued" from the Pole in order to get the care she needed for what had been determined as breast cancer. When the temperature reached -58F a plane could then land to evacuate her.
No planes can take off or land if the temperature is below -58F. When the polar winter was over she was evacuated.

I can easily read this book over again. It is written so that I felt that I was with Dr. Nielsen and the others at the Pole and could feel her love for all she did and had there. The book is very hard to put down and if not careful, one can zoom through it and miss a lot, so reading it more slowly is advised. There is a lot to this book that is unforgettable. Very highly recommended.


Perhaps Love
Perhaps Love
Price: $11.22
55 used & new from $5.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Two of the finest, August 23, 2014
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This review is from: Perhaps Love (Audio CD)
I absolutely love this album. I'm disappointed that Jonathan and Charlotte have gone their separate ways, but considering the caliber of their voices, it is inevitable that these two highly talented young people with beautiful voices need their own solo careers. But on this album they sing together so well and complement each other's voices that it seems natural that they might go on forever as a duo. Their song choices are varied with opera and pop songs in the mix. I was very happy to hear that the orchestra keeps it a bit subdued so that there is no competition between it and the singers, and each can be heard for its beauty.

Where these two voices really shine is in their solo pieces. Jonathan's tenor voice soars and his education in classical music so far becomes apparent. Charlotte's lovely soprano voice rings crystal clear as she shows her range and ability.

Jonathan and Charlotte sing not only with breath and vocal chords but with their hearts and emotions which makes their music very real. I can't wait to hear more from these two fine talents.


Nerve
Nerve
by Dick Francis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.09
43 used & new from $2.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Dick Francis is the Best, August 16, 2014
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This review is from: Nerve (Mass Market Paperback)
"Nerve" by Dick Francis is one of his earlier novels and so far, from the ones I've read of his forty or so horse-racing mysteries, this one and "Banker" are my two favorites. In this one we meet a young steeplechase jockey named Rob Finn who has been on a winning streak. Rob comes from a family of sophisticated, accomplished and well-known musicians who tend to look down on Rob's chosen profession as a waste of time.

Although winning was nice for a while, coming in last on horses that are expected to do well becomes discouraging to Rob and some others who have lost their jobs as jockeys and their entire livelihoods. It just doesn't make sense. Working as hard as he can to get these horses to win just isn't working. Rob intends to find out why.

Written in the first person and narrated by Rob Finn, I love what I always love about Dick Francis's books. His characters are what really make the stories and I never fail to love the main protagonist. They are always likeable and someone I'd love to know and talk with in real life.
Dialogues are so natural that one can forget about reading a book and seem like part of the story and conversations. Francis takes a while to get to the heart of the mystery, but in doing so he introduces his characters and makes sure we know them well enough before putting them in the middle of a crisis. When the real elements of the mystery and plot do hit, the reader has no regrets over a few extra pages of getting to know the characters and essential parts of the setup.

I'm on my way to reading all of the Dick Francis novels and can't wait to read the next on my list. Highly recommended!


Caribbean Fire (Manny Williams Series Book 7)
Caribbean Fire (Manny Williams Series Book 7)
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manny's Vacation in Cozumel, August 12, 2014
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If I were Rick Murcer's neighbor, I would be afraid. Very afraid because of the diabolical plots that such a creative mind comes up with. We'd have to sleep in shifts. "Caribbean Fire" is the seventh book in the Manny Williams series by thriller writer, Rick Murcer, and it's enough to keep you up all night reading until the end to find out what happens.

This book was just up my alley because of my interest in the Maya, Aztec and Inca cultures. "Caribbean Fire" centers around the Maya but only when Manny and Chloe decide that it's time to take a much needed vacation, just the two of them, to Cozumel, Mexico. No work, just fun and time to enjoy each other without Manny having to run off to solve a crime. When Sophie and the rest of the crew find out about it, it isn't going to be just Manny and Chloe, but despite a little bit of disappointment on Manny and Chloe's part, they all set off for a great vacation time in Cozumel.

Manny's fame as a profiler is well-known, and he is asked by the Mexican police to spend just a few minutes with his team looking over a crime that has been committed and to reach a quick decision about a profile for a killer who is on the loose in the vacation spot. They do just that, and come up with more ideas than the Mexican police have thought about, and their resources are limited for several reasons. A little extra help doesn't hurt. It might just take a few more minutes away from vacation than what the BAU group had expected.

Back at home, Jen, Manny's daughter, Ian, the new baby that Chloe and Manny recently had, and Chloe's mother are all at Manny's home with the baby being cared for by Jen and Chloe's mom. For most of the time they are out of touch with Manny and have their own set of serious problems that they must handle in order to stay safe and to keep the baby from harm. The family dog helps, too. Going back and forth from Cozumel to Michigan keeps the suspense rolling since each chapter is a cliffhanger of its own. In Cozumel, the descriptions of ancient ruins and the jungle atmosphere allow the reader to step right into the scenery that Manny and the others view, and the beach isn't bad, either.

In "Caribbean Fire" a new character and member of the BAU is introduced. Belle seems to be an interesting and very smart new member, but I felt as I read that she may be hiding a secret or two. So far she seems to be integrating herself into the rest of the group pretty easily and is not intimidated by Sophie's actions or her driving.

This is a very enjoyable and often frightening, suspenseful book that I highly recommend. However, if you haven't read a Manny Williams thriller, I suggest starting with the first in the series and read them all. They're that good!


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