Tuesday, December 22, 2020

2020 in Reviews... Books I've Reviewed in May 2020

 From the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road comes a captivating historical novel in which a convoy of student refugees travel across China, fleeing the hostilities of a brutal war with Japan

 “Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are . . .”
China, 1937. When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of students, faculty and staff must walk 1,000 miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the refugees who are at risk; Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure: a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.
The students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends creates unexpected bonds. Lian becomes friends and forms a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is arrested and another one is murdered, Lian realizes she must escape before a family secret puts her in danger too. Accompanied by Shao and his enigmatic maidservant, Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai in the hopes of reuniting with her mother.
During the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. This revelation comes with profound consequences, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits who embark on an exodus of their own, one that will change the country’s fate forever.
My Thoughts…
I was intrigued about The Library of Legends from the first time I heard about the book.   The idea of college students trekking across China amid a war with a 500-year-old collection of books all while trying to stay safe made me want to pick up this book as soon as I could.   Once I did pick up the book, I realized it was much more than just a story of college students and a library.   The folklore, the friendships, the angst, and the magical storyline pulled me in and kept me entertained until I read the very last page.    When I finished the book, I closed the cover and just thought about what a wonderful and historical story I had just read and how glad I was that I took my time, read every word, and enjoyed the book. 
The history shared in the story was amazing.  I did not know much about China in 1937 or their war with Japan.  I am sure it was something I had to memorize in history class, but it was not something I remembered.   After reading this book, the history will be something I remember and something I will look to learn more about.  The folklore is what really drew me in.   I was interested in how the folklore would play into the students reaching their destinations safely, how their relationships would grow, and how the story would end. 
Janie Chang wrote a book that has heartache, love, and family.   Chinese folklore and history were wonderful.  I recommend picking up your own copy.
**Thank you, Janie Chang and NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. 
Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

From the author of The Salt House and This Is Home comes a profound novel about the power of community and a small town’s long-buried secrets as a group of New England islanders come together for a recently orphaned girl.

On Ichabod Island, a jagged strip of land thirteen miles off the coast of Massachusetts, ten-year-old Sky becomes an orphan for the second time after a tragic accident claims the lives of her adoptive parents.

Grieving the death of his best friends, Leo’s life is turned upside down when he finds himself the guardian of young Sky. Back on the island and struggling to balance his new responsibilities and his marriage to his husband, Leo is supported by a powerful community of neighbors, many of them harboring secrets of their own.

Maggie, who helps with Sky’s childcare, has hit a breaking point with her police chief husband, who becomes embroiled in a local scandal. Her best friend Agnes, the island busybody, invites Sky’s estranged grandmother to stay for the summer, straining already precarious relationships. Their neighbor Joe struggles with whether to tell all was not well in Sky’s house in the months leading up to the accident. And among them all is a mysterious woman, drawn to Ichabod to fulfill a dying wish.

Perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Leary, My Kind of People is a riveting, impassioned novel about the resilience of community and what connects us all in the face of tragedy. 
My Thoughts…
Leo comes to Ichabod Island to be the guardian of his best friends ten-year-old daughter after they were killed in a car crash.  He comes from busy big town Boston to an island where the neighbors are all in your business, gossip runs wild, people don’t hold their tongues and always know what is best for you, and the place that he was born but never really fit into.   But mostly there was a sense of community, of love, and support.   The people of Ichabod Island genuinely love Sky and want what was best for her.
The characters are not perfect.   There is alcoholism, mental illness, cheating but there is also love, friendships, hope, and family.  Each character was likable in their own unique ways, some harder to like than others.   They were real, they were true, and they each had their own reasons for being how they were, and I was not the person to judge them.  I was curious as to their backstories and where their lives would lead them.   There was anticipation with each new chapter as to what mystery would be shared and who it would affect most. 
Lisa Duffy is a must-read author.  I recommend reading all of her books. 
Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Spunky southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney tackles a thorny murder while away on a girls' weekend.

Sarah Booth and Cece are in Lucedale, Mississippi, where the newly-pregnant Tinkie is treating her friends to a girls' weekend at the fabulous new Bexley B&B. The facials, organics, food, and fitness coaches are supposed to be phenomenal, but Tinkie's primary aim is to attend the Sunrise Easter Services at the incredible Palestinian Gardens, a miniature Holy Land that spreads over 20 acres and has recreations of all parts of Jerusalem—and to speak with the Biblical scholar, gardener, and creator of the Palestinian Garden Daniel Reynolds.

After waking up at the crack of dawn for the service the three friends wander around the gardens, taking in the wonder of entire cities in miniature and the acres of the Holy Land, with the River Jordan winding through it all. The day is brightening when the find themselves at the Mount of Olives—with a dead body.

Daniel identifies the dead man as local lawyer Perry Slay, who was well known for his sly and underhanded dealings, and had plenty of people out for his blood. When Erick Ward, a local pharmacist, is arrested, Sarah Booth takes the case.

As the bodies pile up like a pillar of salt and the suspect list grows as long as the River Jordan, Sarah Booth, Cece, and Tinkie must resurrect the truth before their own lives—and that of Tinkie's unborn child—are endangered. 
My Thoughts…
Holy smokes, what else can go wrong for these three ladies?   They run a PI business, go on a girls retreat and find dead bodies, poisoned people, get shot at, and are hired by a man with so many secrets that you can’t keep them all straight.  
The Devil’s Bones was fun to read.   The story had me smiling and laughing all while trying to figure out exactly who the bad guy was.    I had to change my guess a couple times, but the story did not require me to think hard.  It was easy to figure out who was who, and who was not what they seemed.   I liked that the characters had fun, enjoyed life, and were true to their friendships. 
This is the first book I have read in the series, although it is #21, and it was easy to know what was happening.   I feel like there may have been a couple back stories that would have helped me catch on a little quicker, but I still liked what I was reading.  I may go back and read some of the first books, but I know that I will be looking for book #22 and on so that I can keep on these crazy fun ladies.
Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copies on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Publisher's Summary

Fall in love at Bayside, where sandy beaches, good friends, and true love come together in the sweet small towns of Cape Cod. Bayside Summers is a series of standalone steamy romance novels featuring alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They're fun, flirty, flawed, deeply emotional, always passionate, and easy to relate to.

Hold on to your hat for Violet's wildly hot love story! Lizza is up to her old tricks again, and Violet is in for the surprise of a lifetime! 

Two years ago Violet Vancroft was a nomadic artist who never wanted to put down roots, and Andre Shaw was a prominent Boston physician whose roots ran too deep to unearth. Their love didn't stand a chance - or at least that's what Violet believed when she received a plea for help from the sister she'd never really known - so she snuck away like a thief in the night. 

Now Andre travels the world setting up new medical clinics, and Violet has finally found the family she'd always craved and the roots she'd never known she wanted. When their paths cross unexpectedly, it's not the reunion either one imagined. But they've never stopped loving each other, and after the dust of anger and hurt settles, passion ignites even hotter than before. As the end to Andre's time at the Cape nears, reality sets in, leaving them no closer to a future than they were before. Violet and Andre are forced to dig deep to discover if they're destined to live apart forever or if true love really can conquer all.
Bayside Summers is part of the Love in Bloom romance collection by New York Times and USA Today best-selling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. While each book may be listened to as a stand-alone, you might enjoy the entire Love in Bloom series. Characters from each sub-series appear in future books. Visit Melissa's website for family trees, series checklists, and more.

Binge listen the rest of the Love in Bloom series. Filled with heat, humor, and heart - and always a happily ever after - these steamy romances are perfect beach listens!

My Thoughts…

Audiobook Review…Dual narrators add so much to the listening of an audiobook.   Melissa Fosters seems to always pick just the right narrators for her stories.    Devra Woodward is the perfect female narrator but can seamlessly shift to a male tone when needed.   Aiden is the perfect voice for Andre but again, can bring the female tone to the story with no problem at all.    Devra and Aiden both brought the characters to life with their tones and were able to share the emotions the characters felt as they read Melissa Foster’s story.

eBook Review…No one should doubt by now that I am a HUGE Melissa Foster fan.   One of the things I love about her books is how the secondary characters are as much a part of the story as the main characters.   Violet has been a secondary character in the Bayside Summers books from the beginning and I have always been curious about her story.     With each Bayside Summer book, I read, I learned a little more about her but Bayside Escape is her story and her time to tell her tale and her time to find her true love and happiness.   

Violet has always been a tough as nails, do her own thing, live her own life girl.  Now that she lives at Bayside with her sister and friends, I get to see a softer (but not too soft) side to Violet.   I love how she does her own thing but always seem to have advice, an ear, or a shoulder to cry on for her friends.    I was excited to see her open her heart and let love in all while hoping that she does not lose her snarky attitude.  

Andre is the answer to who holds Violet's heart and from the first time she sees him at Bayside, there was no doubt that sparks were going to fly, and things were about to change for Violet.   I was worried when he showed up with Lizza but knew that he belonged to Violet.   He is perfect for her.   He supports her, loves her, pushes her, and lets her find her own answers when needed.    He knows when to ask permission and when to just lead the way.    Violets reaction to him is perfect.   The snarkiness comes out first then the love quickly follows.    

This is the perfect addition to the Bayside Summer Series.  With this series, each book is a complete story.   The characters make appearances in each other’s books but they each have their own book.   The books can be read in any order.  

Purchase your own copy on  Amazon:   iBooks   Audible: 
Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads

No comments:

Post a Comment