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Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Christmas Basket

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. The Christmas BasketThe Christmas Basket by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Silver tea set was what sparked a row between two friends that turned into a family feud between the MacDowells and the Suttons. Mary Sutton lent Real Estate Agent, Sarah MacDowell, a family heirloom which once belonged to her grandmother—a silver tea set. Sarah had lent it to another Real Estate Agent whom Mary couldn’t stand for her Open House. The tea set was stolen and Mary never forgave her friend for losing her beloved tea set. This sparked a grudge between the two friends that went on for years, affecting everyone in their households and the community at large.

Their children, Noelle MacDowell and Thom Sutton bore the brunt of that grudge. Both children fell secretly in love with each other since high school. They planned to confront their feuding mothers and announce their plan to elope.
Both mothers were dead set against the idea. Nineteen year old Noelle stood up to her mother, Sarah, and stormed out of the house to meet her beloved Thom at the pre-arranged meeting place, only to find out that Thom had stood her up.
Hurt, betrayed and writhing with anger, Noelle moved to Texas vowing never to return to Rose, Oregon again. She wanted to forget about Thom Sutton.

But when her sister, Kristen, announced she was getting married to Jonathon, she asked her sister, Noelle to come to Rose to discuss wedding plans. Adamant to return to the place where her heart was broken, Noelle felt trapped. She didn’t want to return to Rose and come face-to-face with the man that broke her heart; but then again, how could she miss her chance to see her sisters. Boarding on a plane, she returned to Rose to face her past. Yet how could she forget what happened ten years ago when everyday would be a painful reminder every time she ran into Thom.

When Sarah MacDowell was asked to be in charge of the Christmas Baskets, a charity project for the Country Club where she planned to have her daughter’s wedding reception, she didn’t know she was going to run into her loathed enemy, Mary Sutton. Melody, the Club’s secretary, arranged for the two enemies to work on this important project. Their mission was to shop for six needy families and fill six Christmas baskets by Christmas Eve to take to the Salvation Army on the evening of Christmas Eve.

At a Christmas party, Noelle and Thom reunited. Their love rekindled after the two of them cleared the air. It was all a misunderstanding that ended their love ten years ago. Now, more in love than ever, they vowed to get together and try to put an end to their mothers' feud. Together they joined forces to search for a replacement silver tea set to end the feud between their two mothers. Thom proposed to Noelle and she accepted. Together they went to confront their mothers and announce their engagement. But will their mothers, sworn and loathed enemies, put behind their wrath and come to accept their children’s Engagement?


Friday, 4 October 2013

Lessons Learned

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. Lessons Learned (Great Chefs, #2)Lessons Learned by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Italian celebrity chef Carlo Franconi is a charismatic ladies man. He can charm women by his mere smile! His latest book, The Italian Way, is a best seller and publicist Juliet Trent helps him to promote his book. To Juliet Trent this assignment is the best so far; it can be her ticket to opening up her own Public Relations firm. Together, Trent and Franconi travel the US on a book tour. By the end of the tour Trent turns Franconi into a celebrity chef sensation. Even to a guarded, career woman as herself, Carlo Franconi, with his sexy looks and cooking talent, is hard to resist. Yet Carlo is a ladies’ man and Juliet cannot afford to fall head over heels for a man who loves so many women. The thought of ending up like her mother who fell in love with a man who left her eventually, Juliet Trent is bent over backwards to avoid the same fate. Over time and plates of linguini and spaghetti, Juliet Trent falls in love with Carlo Franconi. Can she resist his charms and learn the lessons he has to teach her or will she fall into temptation and indulge in his love?
This was the first Nora Roberts book I’ve read. I liked the book. The characters are believable and well-rounded. It is a light, romance novel that will have you falling head over heels in love. Who can resist a sexy, Italian chef, good food and sex? I am looking forward to read more of Robert’s work.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Halloween Fiction

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. Something WickedSomething Wicked by Lynn Bohart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Near Halloween, FBI agents O’Malley and Allen investigate the disappearance of three men who have all mysteriously disappeared without a trace in the small town of Colorado named Cisco Lake. They search the Scooter pumpkin patch, and adjacent farm, home of a strange boy named Demitre Rumonov and his blind grandmother, owners of the pumpkin patch. The villagers claim that the grandmother is a witch. Something sinister lurks in the pumpkin patch. Can agents O’Malley and Allen solve the mystery?

I enjoyed this short Halloween story. It certainly put me in a Halloween mood. The book reminds me of Children of the Corn by Stephen King and Pumpkin Head, two very scary films. I will certainly never look at pumpkins the same way. The characters of O’Malley and Allen reminded me of agents Scully and Mulder from the X-files. The book was only thirty-six pages; perhaps it could have been longer. It was definitely a good story. The author, Lynn Bohart, is an Indie author who has written several other novels, Mass Murder, Grave Doubts, and Your Worst Enemy. She has written everything from brochures to newsletters as a non-profit executive with a Masters degree in theatre.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Remember Me

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. Remember Me?Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last thing that Lexi Smart remembered after waking up at a hospital after a major automobile accident was a night out with her friends the night before her Dad's funeral. Upon waking in hospital, however, she discovers that it's 2007 and she can hardly recognize herself. Her friends used to call her snaggletooth because she had crooked teeth but now, to her amazement she has perfectly straight and polished teeth, awesome nails, a gorgeous body, chestnut hair and wait.......is that a designer bag on her nightstand? Not only that, but she discovers that she's now twenty-eight, married to a drop-dead gorgeous man, lives in a penthouse and is now the boss at the Flooring Department at the company she used to work for. Who is this stranger and what has she done with her twenty-five-year-old body? She can't remember a thing about her life after that night out on the town with her friends in 2004. She was told that she had a terrible automobile accident and is now suffering from amnesia.

This book was written by Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic books. I read Shopaholic Ties the Knot and loved it. I certainly loved Remember Me! I couldn't stop reading it....it was a page turner. There's a few twists and turns in the plot that shocked me and made me wonder...'did that really happen to Lexi?' I can't wait to read the author's other works. A former financial journalist, Sophie Kinsella turned to fiction writing in 2000. Her book, The Secret Dream world of a Shopaholic' was published in 2000. The author lives in London with her husband and family.



Thursday, 11 July 2013

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. The Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin, #1)The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Page Turner

Retired Public Relations, Agatha Raisin, has bought herself a cottage in the Cotswolds. Since she was a little girl she loved the Cotswolds. Now she has finally bought herself a cottage in Carlsey and getting to realize her childhood dream of living in the picturesque villages of Cotswolds.

When Agatha discovers that there is a Quiche Competition in Carlsey, she enters it hoping to win it and gain the admiration of her neighbours; but when someone dies after eating a slice of said quiche, Agatha is involved in a murder investigation. In the style of Agatha Christie's Marple, Agatha Raisin takes it upon herself to solve this murder mystery and clear her name.

I enjoyed this book very much. It made me laugh in places. The story takes place in my own neck of the woods, which added to its charms. I will be definitely reading more of this author and more Agatha Raisin books. Written by a prolific author, Marion Chesney, from Glasgow, this series of mystery novels (22 in the series) is quite a page-turner. Just like Agatha Raisin, the author has a cottage in the Cotswolds.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Starlight by Debbie MaComber

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. StarlightStarlight by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Karen McAlister meets a man at a Christmas fete hosted by her godfather, Evan. She falls head-over-heels for Rand Prescott, a professor at the University. Enchanted by the champagne, Christmas lights and stars, Karen fell in love with this man.

Before meeting Prescott, Karen thought her life was complete; she didn't need a man to complete her....much to the dismay of her Scottish father, Matthew who was dead set on Karen meeting the right fellow, marrying and producing a grand-daughter.

Rand Prescott vowed never to fall in love. Being partially blind at a young age, he never really got over the death of his father. He blamed himself for his father's death. Rand vowed to erect barriers from any woman from stealing his heart........until he met Karen McAlister who brick by brick managed to destroy the very barrier that Rand erected long ago.

Starlight was one of Debbie's first novels, published over thirty years ago. I really loved this book. It was a page turner from day one. I literally cried in the middle of the book; It so overwhelmed me. I've never ever felt moved to tears by a book but this one truly moved me. Debbie Macomber has a way with writing romance novels that really takes you home!






Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in ParisThe Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jenny Colgan has done it again! She has concocted another sweet morsel of a novel in The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris.

When an accident in a chocolate factory in the North of England left thirty-year-old Anna Trent lying in a hospital with two missing toes, she thought her life was never going to be the same again. That was before she knew that her French Teacher, Claire, was in the same hospital room as her. Claire, a patient with terminal Cancer, kept Anna company whilst in hospital. Then she made Anna a proposition of a life-time: To work in a chocolate shop in Paris owned by the only man whom Claire ever loved, Thierry Girard--a master chocolatier.

As the sun rises over the Pont de Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is busy making chocolates the old fashioned way--by hand. As she mixes, blends and tastes the finest chocolates in Paris, the Chateau Chocolat sells them to the grandes dames of Paris.

As the story unfolds, you get to meet and love Claire as she tells the story of her younger self who was sent as an Au Pair (Nanny) to Paris to mind the children of her mother's life-long pen pal, Madame Legarde. While in Paris the young Claire meets and falls in love with the town's master chocolatier, Thierry Girard, owner of the prestigious Le Chateau Chocolat. The pair fall helplessly in love until Claire has to return home to England to resume her studies, leaving behind the man she truly ever loved.

Years later, through Anna Trent, Claire and Thierry meet again and relive their romance for one last time. This book made me cry in places and made my mouth water. I fell in love with the book's characters, the chocolate and the city that brought this book to life. I have always wanted to see Paris and this book transports me to the city of light and romance without having to purchase a ticket. At the end of the book Colgan features a repertoire of chocolate recipes guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds. Each recipe is tested by Colgan herself.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Fools Rush In

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, #1)Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thirty-something Bella Rossi is about to have her life turned topsy-turvy when her Italian turned Texan family hands over the family Wedding Planning Business to her. As a Wedding co-ordinator Bella lands her first job....to organize a Texan-themed wedding for one of her clients. The only problem is...where is she going to find a DJ who can play Texan music with a family whose taste in music is anything but eclectic; they only like and listen to Frank Sinatra.

When fate and a misunderstanding introduces her to DJ Neely, a handsome Texan from Splendora, Bella falls head over heels with him, literally. DJ Neely saves the day, and Bella. He agrees to be the Disc Jockey and introduces Bella to the rest of the Neely Family. But will DJ and his family accept Bella and her crazy Italian family? With a pizza- making uncle with ties to the mob, a crazy broom-wielding aunt, a barking-mad dog named Precious, a bad-mouthed parrot named Guido, an insanely jealous ex boyfriend, and an insane delivery of 80 cowboy boots, will Bella ever get to hear Wedding bells of her own? There's loads of 'Boot Scoot'n' fun and crazy antics to keep you turning the pages. The story is written in the first person by Bella Rossi as she gives an account of her first Texas Wedding as a Wedding Planner and her encounter with DJ Neely and his family.

There are many underlying Christian morals or themes in the book. One quote that keeps resounding in the book is: "Where there is life, there is hope." One of the themes in the book is hope...hope that, in spite of the chaos in our lives, everything will turn out just fine. Another theme is that we should surrender our fate to God....to put our relationships in God's hand and not worry about the small hiccups. Another theme within the book is embracing change, as Earline's favourite bible passage states:

2:8-13 The voice of my Beloved God! Behold, he conquers the mountains (triumphant over adversity,
obstacles), (9) he beckons me to come, leaving my fears behind (to trust His good leadership). (10) I will arise, I will come away with You. (12) The Lord is doing a new thing, the season of singing has come (the
new Songs from Throne), the harvest of the nations is at hand. I will arise (I will leave my fears behind).
~Song of Solomon 2:8-13

This is book one in the Wedding by Bella series. I loved the book! It made me laugh in places and put me in a good mood. There's lots of rooting' tooting action and adventure in this book, not to mention some good 'ole fashioned beauty secrets. Janice Thompson is a Christian Romance writer living in Spring, Texas. She started out writing screenplays. I can't wait to read the rest of the Wedding by Bella series.