Author Archives: Ruby Lee

Pieces of My Life by Rachel Dann

A journey she never expected…

Pieces of My Life Rachel DannTitlePieces of My Life
Author:  Rachel Dann
Publish Date:  May 17, 2017
Genre:  Romance
Source:  NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Publisher’s Description:

Kirsty is happy. Really, she is. After five years with her boyfriend, Harry, she’s ready to take things to the next step and turn that spare room into a little nursery. And she thought Harry was too.

Only, it turns out that Harry’s ‘big news’ is actually not that he wants to try for a baby, but that he wants to travel to South America – with Kirsty! She’ll just have to trust that after their trip of a lifetime, Harry will be ready to settle down for good.

Arriving in hot, steamy Ecuador it soon becomes clear that Harry is hiding something. Something that he’s been hiding for years. And as Kirsty’s dreams are at risk of shattering, she begins to pick up the pieces of the life that she’s put off for so long…

Spoilers Ahead.  *BEWARE*


Ruby_Lee_100Ruby Lee says…

A few weeks ago, on a long car ride, I had a good discussion with a friend about the reputation of the romance genre and books that are classified as “Chick Lit.”  Many people feel that these genres have nothing important to say.  I argued that it depends on the author and not the genre to give a book meaning.  Pieces of My Life is the perfect example to support that argument.

Before I read Pieces of my Life only 45 books out of my 696 read books on Goodreads hadbadge5v5 5 star ratings.  After reading this brilliantly designed story, there are 46. Rachel Dann weaves together a story that speaks about social justice issues for women in Ecuador, South America, reconnecting with a distant father, a young woman’s journey to find herself, and intrigue of a great love story.

In most books, I would argue that these are too many themes for one book, but Dann has the magic ability to make them flow together flawlessly.   She creates rich and deep characters that come alive in a reader’s mind.  When the book ended, I immediately began to miss them.

Amazingly, this is Dann’s first book which leads me to wonder where she has been all this time.  If this is her first try, I can’t wait to see what’s next.  We might have to add higher numbers to our rating system.

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We Remember

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

– By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae  
     Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

Ruby_Lee_100When I was a child, I remember walking around my grandma’s small town with her and my sister selling paper poppies for a donation to the American Legion Auxiliary.  I always had a wonderful experience talking with people and being with my grandma. However, I didn’t understand the impact of the act of asking a person to buy a poppy.  Looking back, I remember how sometimes voices would get softer or hands would tremble as they retrieved money from their billfolds.  Were they thinking about their own experiences in the Armed Services?  Were they remembering a friend or family member that never came back?

The popular phrase is that freedom isn’t free.  There are right. It is paid for by the blood, sweat, tears, and time of millions of Americans going back to the first person to give his life in the American Revolution.  Today, we honor all of those that went before us and made the path for our freedom and all of those that still fight today to keep it.  I encourage each of you to attend the Memorial Day service being held in your community.  The services usually are not long and you will have the chance to remember and recognize the heroes from your area.

Thank you to all who have served or are serving for our country.

Thank you to all the families of these amazing heroes

Thank you to all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  We remember you.

May God bless you all.  May God bless America!

It’s been over a year since I posted my last review. It boggles my mind that time moves that fast. I originally stepped back for a couple of months as I changed jobs and cities. But one change led to another and life continued to throw its little surprises at me. All of the sudden, it has been a year. I know that I just have to get back on this horse because if I wait for life to slow down, I will be in my early 90’s before I post my next review. So here I am.
Lucyfer and Izzy have changed a lot in the last year. Lucyfer is still slightly dark and demented but I think Izzy is giving her a run for her money. In a year, Izzy has transformed from her sad, malnourished kitten form to Izzy the hulk cat. I have no documentation about the breed of cat that Izzy may be because she was found starving in a bean field, but now we are pretty sure she is at least 50% Maine Coon which translates to big. We have our first yearly check-up with our new vet on Wednesday and I am interested in her reaction to Izzy’s growth spurt. I am a little afraid she will tell me that Izzy is actually part Bobcat.
Since I didn’t want my first post to be all about me and my 2 minions, I thought I would share a little of what I have read in the last year. I hit a milestone with my 1000th book purchased on my Kindle. It was a little mind-blowing for me to think that I have enough books on my Kindle to keep me reading for a decade.

 

I have finished the first two books in Mira Grant’s Feed series and they are incredible. I listened to the Audible audiobooks and would highly recommend them. I will write a complete review on the series once I finish the third book.

 

 

 

Amanda Steven’s The Sinner, the fifth book in the Graveyard Queen series, was a very prominent read for me in the last year. I just finished the final book in that series and a review will be published shortly.

Jill Shalvis began her Heartbreaker Bay series much to my delight, and I am look forward to the Trouble with Mistletoe being made into a TV movie for the 2017 Holiday Season. I am also completely caught up with Bella Andre’s The Sullivans series. If you are a reader looking for a new series to invest your time, The Sullivians will not disappoint. It may be a little daunting to look at the number of books but I promise that it will be worth it.
My biggest and most pleasant surprise came from the Calendar Girl series by Audrey Carlan. Just when you think you have a series pegged, it surprises you by delivering rich, deep characters painted by superb writing. The twists in this story are unexpected and it shows that you can’t judge a book by its genre.
So that is my year in a nutshell. I hope that reviews will be following this post shortly and if I fall off the earth every once in a while know that I will show up again soon.

A Walk On The Darkside by Corinna Underwood

Walk on the DarksideTitle: A Walk On The Darkside
Author: Corinna Underwood
Series: Darkside Chronicles, Book 1
Publish Date: October 30, 2012
Genre:
Paranormal Mystery
Source:
NetGalley and Author’s Request

Publisher’s Description:

Pearl Blackthorn is a novelist and investigative reporter for Darkside paranormal magazine. Armed with her digital recorder and accompanied by her friend and photographer Harry Raymond, Pearl is sent by her editor J.J Benson – affectionately known as Benny – to the four corners of Great Britain, (and sometimes further), to investigate stories of spirits and specters, demons and doppelgangers, prophecy and possession. The problem is, Pearl doesn’t believe in the supernatural; her creative imagination is tempered by a strong skepticism. She is immovable on her stand that there is always a simple, rational explanation behind every report of paranormal activity. But Pearl soon realizes that the intricacies of paranormal events are often far from simple and not always rational.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Ruby LRuby_Lee 100ee says…

I really did not know what to expect when I picked up my Kindle to begin reading this story.  Would this be horror?  Would I need to sleep with my lights on?  Would it be a torturous read that would completely ruin my Sunday night?  When you agree to read someone’s story that you know nothing about, you are never sure what you may get.  However, what I found was more beautiful than I could have expected.

This book is may up of several mini-stories that connect the theme of the entire piece.badge4v4  The stories were wonderful because each one was so very different from each other but they all helped to grow the main characters into wonderful three dimensional living creations.  I love Pearl and her skeptical mind but her heart that I think really wants to believe in the paranormal.  Harry’s enthusiasm enveloped me and I could feel him wanting to hang on to his ideas of the paranormal so he could continue to believe his dead wife did visit him to say good-bye.  Plus my romantic side desperately wants these two to fall in love, but remember that I look for romance everywhere.

The best part of these stories – the truly most beautiful part- was the writing.  Corinna Underwood is a master at weaving together words so that everything pops off the page at you in a style similar to how Stephen King uses his choices of words to be almost another character in his stories. I think she could probably make a cookbook captivating.

In the end, I had a great Sunday  night with A Walk on the Darkside.  I hope that the next book will be released soon because there are questions that need answers.  I am also glad that The Secret in the Sanctuary was the first story, and if you want to know why, you will have to read it yourself.


Lucyfer’s Corner

2 paws – Lucy Face My one complaint about this book is the lack of gore.  When Ruby told me we were reading a paranormal story tonight, I imagined all the nasty disgusting things in that book and how I could keep Izzy up all night by telling her the terrifying stories.  It was going to be great.  Then I read it and there is no blood or ectoplasm or anything that would even remotely keep that annoying little kitten quaking in her bed until sun up.  Now I am going to have to listen to her snore all night again.  What a total disappointment.


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What We Find by Robyn Carr

You can’t go home again.  – Thomas Wolfe

26154344Title: What We Find
Author: Robyn Carr
Series: Sullivan’s Crossing, Book 1
Publish Date: April 5, 2016
Genre:
Romance
Source:
NetGalley

Publisher’s Description:

Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman’s journey to finding the happiness she’s long been missing

Between the urban bustle of Denver and the high-stress environment of a career in neurosurgery, Maggie Sullivan has hit a wall. When an emergency, high-risk procedure results in the death of a teenager, Maggie finds herself in the middle of a malpractice lawsuit—and experiencing levels of anxiety she’s never faced before. It’s in this desperate moment that Maggie’s boyfriend decides he can’t handle her emotional baggage, and she’s left alone, exhausted and unsure of what her future holds. One thing is certain, though: she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can think to do that is Sullivan’s Crossing.

Named for Maggie’s great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide trails have been passed down through the generations and now belong to Maggie’s estranged father, Sully. Though raised by her mother and stepfather after her parents divorced, Maggie has always adored Sully—despite his hands-off approach to fatherhood. When she shows up unannounced in Sullivan’s Crossing, he welcomes her with opens arms, and she relishes the opportunity to rebuild their relationship.

But when Sully has a sudden heart attack, Maggie’s world is rocked once again. Consumed with his care, she’s relieved to find that Cal Jones, a quiet and serious-looking camper, has been taking over many of Sully’s responsibilities as he recuperates. Still, Maggie is suspicious of this mysterious man’s eagerness to help—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.

Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Ruby LRuby_Lee 100ee says…

I was a little hesitant to read this book.  I haven’t read a Robyn Carr book since the last book of the Virgin River Series a few years ago.  I can easily say that the Virgin River books are some of my all-time favorite reads.  I know I will go back to that series during different times of my life and reread all of them.  There is a timeless quality about them.

I knew that my brain would automatically compare any new books to her previous successes which is why I chose to wait with her Thunder Point Series.  I know I will read them one day but I needed time.  It may sound silly to some that a person could have such a connection to a series of books, but the real readers out there know what it’s like to say goodbye to fictional people that have become very real to you.  So I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure I could give What We Find a fair chance.

I felt the first third of the book to be a little disjointed and I didn’t feel a connection to anybadge3v4 of the characters.  I could see the story that she was trying to create but it just wasn’t happening in a smooth way.  But as the story progressed, the problems began to work themselves out.  I felt the characters begin to develop a life and some depth.  Halfway through, the book sucked me in and didn’t let go.

Overall, I enjoyed the story but it didn’t knock my socks off.  I do remember that I had a difficult time with the first Virgin River book so I will save overall judgement of this series until I have a chance to read a few.


Lucyfer’s Corner

0 paws – Lucy Face Nell wasn’t the only one that Ruby Lee left at home when she ran off to Canada.  She left me alone with Izzy, the happiest cat on the planet.  She gave me directions to read this book but I decided Izzy and a romance book were too many things for me to handle.  There is only so much one cat can take without having to start burying bodies in the backyard.


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