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A BEAUTIFUL POISON: A Historic Novel ~Lydia Kang

Friday, August 18th, 2017

TLC Book Tours  sent me a copy of A BEAUTIFUL POISON for review and it was a curious little story that turned into a very interesting tale about Allene a recently engaged eighteen year old living in New York City with her wealthy father.  The timing is centered on the facts that WWI is still drafting young men into service and a Spanish influenza outbreak has taken a powerful hold on the residents of the city and causing havoc.

At her engagement party a young woman dies, it becomes apparent that the guest was poisoned.  Allene engages the help of her 2 friends, Jasper and Birdie, and also turns up the volume on her old fascination with chemistry.   Yes!  Indeed it was a poisoning.  Jasper finds an apprenticeship with the Coroner’s Office located at Bellevue Hospital.   The history and the skill at sleuthing are finely displayed without the assistance of computers or even telephones!  The doctor’s work is revealed and the hospital’s developing services are proudly shared.

Lydia Kang is a doctor who studied at Bellevue Hospital.  She loves chemistry and answering questions with another question to research; her characters display her deep interests in history, chemistry, and problem- solving.  It is a celebration for a period in history that is maybe unknown to the rest of us and yet unfolds within the confines of this story.  Birdie has a very difficult job, which is killing her with a different poison and the story definitely gives a good lesson in the role of women in this society and the radical differences between the wealthy and the poor.

Good story telling and quite an interesting read.  A BEAUTIFUL POISON is not highly suspenseful because it took a great deal of time for the characters to communicate and for a number of people to be identified as being poisoned.

I recommend this story for the history lesson and the details of society at this post -Golden Era period of time in our history.  A very readable story I believe the teenagers I know would enjoy this slice of history and mystery very much.

About Lydia Kang

Lydia Kang is a physician and author of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine. She completed her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and currently lives in the Midwest, where she continues to practice internal medicine.

Related reading:
The Worthington Wife
Fudge and Jury
The Garden Plot

THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT: A Review ~Kate Hamer

Monday, August 14th, 2017

I could not put THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT down; I had to read well into the night as this abduction – suspense story just held me captive.  When I did go to bed, I was still thinking about the story and how I might resolve it, as I did not skip to the end to see how it concluded.  The writing was superb and I think many, many people will want to read this story and then Hamer’s next and next and next book.

“Compulsively readable…Beautifully written and unpredictable, I had to stop myself racing to the end to find out what happened.” —Rosamund Lupton (Sister)

A smart and dreamy little girl no longer wishes to hold onto her mother’s hand at the book festival and as the fog rolls in she starts to wander into stories, that she finds under the sales table – the two are separated and a feisty man leads the child away.  The fear and sadness of the mother just filled my whole being and I was deeply hooked into story

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 2016
  • Costa Book Award for First Novel finalist
  • Dagger Award finalist

As a new single parent, the mother is worried and anxious about all the responsibility and she worries that her daughter, 8-year-old Carmel, will wander off and that she will not be able to pay the bills and get all their needs manifested.  The father has a new partner and has not appeared for a long time in their lives. Carmel is trying to sort out her new life and she has a very perceptive view of the world, her mind does wander and she notices details.  They both want to figure everything out and move forward.

The book goes from Mother to daughter as the story progresses and it is fabulous how Carmel works at remembering her Mother and all the wisdom that was imparted.  Her mother’s mind is always trying to connect with where Carmel might be and they are always working on finding RED in their lives.  The police have given up the search and there is a remarkable connection, as both mother and daughter cannot totally believe the other might be dead.

I do not believe I would have chosen this book to read and then it would have been my loss for sure.  So I say thank you to TLC Book Tours for asking me to read and review this remarkable story – THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT.

About the author:

Kate Hamer’s first novel ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’ was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, the John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been translated into 16 different languages. Kate won the Rhys Davies short story prize and has short stories published in a number of anthologies. She’s written articles and reviews for The Independent, The Sunday Mail and The New York Times. Kate grew up in rural Wales and now lives with her husband in Cardiff, UK.  Her second book is The Doll Funeral (PW August 21,17 review)

Kate Hamer Twitter
Kate Hamer Goodreads

Related:
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IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO: How I Rescued My Marriage With (Almost) No Help From My Spouse—and How You Can, Too ~ Winifred Reilly, MA, MFT

Friday, August 11th, 2017

IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO is a wonderful read and I had a hard time putting it down.  I have been to marriage therapy several times with my partner and it was always so disappointing because he would not make any changes and just found it an excuse to demand that I do all the work and announce he wasn’t going to cooperate.   This was just not acceptable and I did not enjoy being attacked verbally when we were paying for the session.

Then I took Nonviolent Communications workshops with Dr. Marshal Rosenberg and I found out that I could make lots of changes just through my own efforts and energies; processing my thinking and actions alone could change the dynamics with my partner and my children.   I started working on myself.  It was good work, it was not easy and it was so worth it.

IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO, moves this theory forward and makes the hard work of marriage something that one person can tackle and promote change and success.  This is not a workbook for those folks suffering with physical abuse, rather it is for those couples who are caught up in those circular arguments that never find resolution and make a marriage wearing and the partners wanting to call it quits.   This is even for those folks who may think their marriage is hopeless.

“Feel like you live on the verge of ripping your partner’s head off and shoving it down the neck hole? It Takes One to Tango is for you. Author Winifred Reilly not only explains why marriage is so predictably frustrating, but more important she reveals how you can turn the tide without your spouse’s help or even consent. Using her own marriage as a litmus test, Reilly offers a pragmatic alternative to subjecting an unwilling participant to years of pricey, unproductive marriage therapy or talking yourself blue in the face.” — Jenna McCarthy, author of If It Was Easy They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon”

Marriage is very hard work and takes a great deal of energy.  Families need good communication skills and adults that are not fighting all the time.  IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO can break the tough routines and allow a marriage to become vibrant and flourish.   It is not about creating the perfect marriage.  It is about change and finding the love again. I cannot highly recommend this book enough; I am sharing it with my book groups.  It is such a pleasant read and very satisfying for the DIY enthusiasts.

I did like very much that Reilly uses her own marriage, which has survived 40+ years and her own work as part of the process she shares.  We don’t truly want perfect marriages – we want alive and healthy marriages!

TLC Booktours, sent me a copy of IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO for review – Fabulous read!    Thank you.

About Winifred Reilly

Winifred M. Reilly is a marriage and family therapist, with a private practice in Berkeley, CA.  She has been committed to helping couples and individuals build strong, loving relationships for more than 35 years. Winifred is the author of the relationship advice blog Speaking of Marriage, and her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, xoJane, and The Huffington Post.

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NEW

THE INNKEEPER’S SISTER: A Southern Romance and Historic Mystery Novel ~Linda Goodnight

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

THE INNKEEPER’S SISTER is certainly a wonderful beach read and I tucked it into my gear for a long weekend of wave watching and page turning.  I am not a great fan of Southern Romance and yet Goodnight’s characters are quite real and not so sticky sweet and the historic mystery was a nice glimpse into the reconstruction period after the Civil War.  (It did not omit that slavery was an issue – thank goodness for that)

About the Author:

“NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.” (TLC book tours page)

Linda Goodnight Web:
Linda Goodnight Facebook:
Linda Goodnight Twitter:

THE INNKEEPER’s SISTER is also about recovery after a child has been abducted and how life goes on years later.  Two sisters have purchased an old orchard and have refurbished with skill the house into a stunning bed and breakfast.  This gives them purpose and vision and keeps Julie moving ahead and making new plans.  For Valerie it is not so important to her and she understands the value of the endeavor, but she longed to be a professional dancer and now she cannot move ahead in that direction.  She has started using alcohol to cope with her secrets and continue to hide.

Grayson Blake is a developer and he and his brother find old landmarks to refurbish and turn into 5 star restaurants.   He has come to Honey Ridge and Old Peach Orchard to revitalize an old Mill and develop a new destination restaurant.  The new construction is halted because a pile of bones has been discovered in the basement of the mill near the water wheel.   Grayson stays at the bed and breakfast and reconnects with a high school friend.  Together they find old sheet music that is actually a code that leads to some answers about the mystery and the history of the farm.

The Civil War elements of the story expose the new possibilities for the former slaves and share the details of the farm’s own love story and the role of the house as a hospital for soldiers.  Very interesting.

Over the years of reviewing books, I have read another of Linda Goodnight’s stories and thought it was quite good.  There is a caring quality to the stories and some down to earth good solutions to problems.  Time does not heal all wounds but it is certainly part of the recovery process.

I think many folks will enjoy this story and the gentle touch of the author.

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