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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

When Kate becomes the lead counsel for a case against a Big Pharm company MPC which has
allegedly been making migraine drugs causing brain tumours, she becomes involved in very dangerous situations and several mysteries. Who has killed the scientist who was going to be a witness in her case? Why are leading documents in the case going missing? When she starts getting physically attacked, she is forced to get security and finds herself attracted to Landon, who has his own security firm.  But Kate is so busy, her budding romance almost seems like another problem, especially when Landon isn’t a Christian like her…

Ethan, MPC’s leading defence lawyer, is a friend of Kate’s but is he willing to let ambition make him cross the line into unethical behaviour? At the very least, he wants to take advantage of her idealism and he knows that she does everything by the book.  He is put under great pressure by MPC.
This is an exciting story which keeps one reading as Kate attempts to get to the truth of the case and keep one step ahead of Ethan and MPC.  I also enjoyed the romance. However, the story sometimes got rather technical for a lay reader, I felt, and it also seemed contrived at times.  I also thought that the ending was far-fetched until I read an article in The Australian which made me think again! Who knows what is going on behind the scenes these days?

I enjoyed this legal thriller and I am interested in reading more by Rachel Dylan.

I received this free ebook through the Bethany House Blogging Program in return for an honest review. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility Jane of Austin by Hilary Manton Lodge

Jane and her two sisters Celia and Margaret have huge problems. Their father has skipped the country because of possible fraudulence and they are forced to close their beloved tea salon because they can't afford to pay the new landlord.  Their only hope is to take refuge with their cousins in Austin, Texas, a long way from beautiful San Francisco. Celia also still misses Teddy, her ex- boyfriend.

When Jane arrives in Austin to stay with her warm-hearted cousins,  she meets Callum, an war veteran who has lost his leg, and Sean, a handsome blond singer. Of course, she falls for Sean very quickly, but is he really what he seems...?
There is also the problem of finding a new property for their tea business.

This is a clever,  original and well-written modern American version of Sense and Sensibility written from the points of view of Jane and Callum, with tea quotes at the beginning of each chapter, recipes of Southern food and atmospheric descriptions of Texas.  Jane and Callum are both lovely characters, although Callum is understandably fairly bitter at the beginning of the book because of his war experience and his problems with some of his family.  The love stories are moving and it was interesting to read a version of Jane Austen's classic which is set in America. The only flaw is that there were a lot of characters and I found this confusing.

This book is also a tea-drinker's delight! As an aside, I liked the fact that Jane never drank coffee - very unusual for an American, I should think!

I received this free ebook from Blogging for Books in return for an honest review.

How to Listen So People Will Talk Build Stronger Communication and Deeper Connections by Becky Harling

Are you often distracted by social media when you should be listening? Do you sometimes look shocked when your child tries to tell you something important? Is it hard for you to handle conflict?
Then you need this book! As Maya Angelou said, 'The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear'.  Becky Harling has lots of excellent advice from a Christian perspective to help you improve your listening skills. She also fills the book with useful anecdotes, prayers and exercises. 

Harling writes about the importance of reflective listening.  This will help you to find hidden ulterior motives, such as jealousy or insecurity. She suggests asking yourself about your feelings and what you were looking for.  This is especially useful if you are inclined to offer unsolicited advice. This is very easy to do!

I found the chapter on conflict the most helpful.  Her advice includes finding a point of agreement, letting someone vent and asking for clarification.  Sometimes, you have to deal with toxic people, however, and she suggests ways to do this.  Unfortunately, I am not sure if this book is going to help readers who have to try to cope with deliberately obstructive people, and that is probably it's only flaw.

I received this free ebook through Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Alexander Hamilton's Revolution His Vital Role as Washington’s Chief of Staff by Phillip Thomas Tucker

  Phillip Thomas Tucker restores Hamilton’s legacy in this timely book. Alexander Hamilton was an illegitimate child from a poor background in the West Indies who had a troubled youth, yet he rose to great heights in colonial America and played a big part in the Revolution. ‘Irrepressible and brilliant’, the young man became Washington’s unofficial chief of staff, liaised with the French, including Lafayette, and provided important military  advice to Washington and to Congress. Hamilton also fought in the Revolutionary Wars and  finally gained ‘battlefield glory’ in the most crucial victory of the war. The young lawyer who spoke fluent French unfortunately made many enemies, including General Lee (Robert E. Lee’s father) and, famously, Aaron Burr.

This interesting and detailed book which describes Hamilton's rise to power, his friendship with Washington, and his frustration about being trapped in his position is well-worth reading if you like American history and biographies. It made me want to read more about Alexander Hamilton. I did get a little fed-up when I first began the book, however, because I found it a bit sycophantic and remember wondering whether Hamilton had any faults! (He finally turned out to have a very few, including a quick temper). Apart from this, it was an excellent account of this American hero’s youth.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

A New England Affair by Steven Carroll

This is a luminous and beautifully written novel about Emily Hale and her love for 'Boston Tom', i.e. the famous poet T.S. Eliot.  This is part of a series about the couple by Steven Carroll and this one is just as good as the one I read years ago.

Tom and Emily famously enacted a scene from Jane Austen in the early twentieth century  and fell in love,  but Tom went to England and suddenly married someone else without even telling Emily. The marriage was extremely unhappy to say the least and Tom and Emily started meeting again secretly in England and the USA.

By Thomas Stearns Eliot with his sister and his cousin by Lady Ottoline Morrell.jpg: Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873–1938)derivative work: Octave.H - Thomas Stearns Eliot with his sister and his cousin by Lady Ottoline Morrell.jpg, Public Domain,

Steven Carroll has created a deeply sympathetic character in Emily, who struggles with her love for Tom, wondering if there is 'some flaw in the crystal'.  Now a drama teacher, she looks back on her life recalling their love affair and trying to come to terms with her situation and why she never gave up on him.  Is she partly at fault for not taking the leap when they first seemed destined for marriage? 

This book is rather deep and profound, and Carroll uses 'stream of consciousness' writing much of the time, so it isn't really a good idea to read it as an ebook. I strongly suggest that you buy the book!

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books by Marta McDowell

This is a lovely companion to the Little House on the Prairie books which shows Laura's love of nature, including the beautiful flowers and abundance of wildlife in the American West, and describes the history of the family's journey to the West.  The author also writes about her own relationship with nature and her search for Laura's past. The gorgeous illustrations and photos help readers imagine Laura's life.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Life on the Victorian Stage Theatrical Gossip by Nell Darby

This is a useful reference book for those studying the Victorian stage, but it wasn't the type of book one reads for enjoyment.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Tudor Fashion by Eleri Lynn Yale University Press

This is a very detailed and well-research reference book for anyone interested in the history of fashion with excellent pictures and illustrations.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Free Speech on Campus by Erwin Chemerinsky, Howard Gillman Yale University Press

This is a clear, well-written,  thoroughly researched and persuasive book about the importance of free speech on campus and the idea that places of higher education should encourage independent thought and the ability to challenge ideas.  It is quite academic and the authors go into some detail about the meaning of the First Amendment, the history of free speech, the definition of hate speech, protests and the modern liking of students for trigger warnings.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Your Shelf Victoria & Abdul (Movie Tie-in) : The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant Shrabani Basu

The Munshi by Rudolf Swoboda

Abdul Karim felt very excited when he first stepped on England's shores. Only 24, he had been chosen to be one  of Queen Victoria's Indian servants.  He soon introduced her to the colour and glamour of this 'Jewel in the Crown' by making her curries, teaching her Urdu and telling her stories about his homeland.  She quickly made him an unofficial 'secretary' and he helped her with her paperwork and even began meeting powerful people.  She lavished her Munshi and his family with attention giving them several houses in the UK and extensive lands in India. The Queen also conferred several medals and honours on handsome Abdul,took him on many trips to Europe with her Household, and had his portrait painted by famous artists. She even discussed Indian politics with him!

The Queen's family and staff were mostly horrified by all this attention being given to a lowly Indian clerk and feared that he would become another John Brown.  There were also worries that his good friend was sympathetic with the independence movement. The Queen attributed their dislike and jealousy of Abdul to racism and snobbery, and much of it undoubtedly was, but he did not do himself any favours. He could be rude to other staff, spared no expense (of taxpayer's money) and he stood on privilege.

This is a riveting and well-written story which I read very quickly, because I was keen to see what happened to Abdul. Shrabani Basu was lucky enough to obtain Abdul's diaries (a tale in itself0 so much of this book is based on new information.  I am looking forward to the film!

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

$16.00 USD, $22.00 CAD
Trade Paperback
Biography & Autobiography \ Historical