Review: Changing Lanes by Kathleen Long

changing lanesReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Abigail “Abby” Halladay and her fiancé purchased a condo in Paris, New Jersey. She’s at her parent’s house when she meets an old friend, Mick. Kathleen writes a great scene where Abby’s back in her bedroom for the first time in a long while – reminds me of some of my days that I’d like to forget. There will be several times during this book when Kathleen will have you in stitches. – just make sure you don’t have food in your mouth at the time.

Mick O’Malley has come back to Paris to take care of his mom. Kathleen has written a story that I think some people will be able to relate to. She also has Abby’s mother keeping a special type of journal that she writes in – I think this is a great idea for a parent to do (you may want to steal the idea if Kathleen doesn’t mind).

A reoccurring theme is the fact that a lot of the characters like to reminisce. This is a great way to connect with your past and to remember the people we love and those no longer with us. Spend as much time as you can with the people you love because you don’t know how much time you’ll have with them – look at what happened in Sandy Hook and Boston.

I found this a hard book to put down – you come to care for the characters and want to know that everything works out for Abby. Frankie is the teenager that you may have been when you were that age. Nan is the grandmother I miss and long to see again. One character that I can really relate to is Detta.

Detta is a woman with the beginning signs of dementia. My mother had a disease that is similar but different. She had what’s called Lewy Body’s disease. Think Alzheimer’s but with hallucinations. My mother had a problem when we watched the cooking shows – she thought they were cooking for her. She had a stroke which just complicated things. Kathleen’s story brought tears to my eyes as I remembered what we saw my mother go through the last three years of her life. But I also appreciate that this character was there.

I think that we need to stop getting angry at people and telling them that they don’t understand. Instead, we need to educate people and hope they make a donation that will help to find a cure – or at the very least to slow the progression of this terrible disease. Statistics show that only five percent of people ages 71- 79 have dementia and it then jumps to twenty four percent for ages 80 – 89. What’s more surprising is that there are five million people, in the United States alone, that have Alzheimer’s.

This is a very inspirational story. There’s love involved but romance is not the main theme. This is Abby’s life and how she had the chutzpah to make a change. The book has no sex in it and it doesn’t need it. Kathleen was smart to leave it out because it would have changed the path of the book if she had included it. If you have any imagination, you can always add your own scenes in. I hope you will give this book a try – you just might start reminiscing about your own family.

[Rating:5]

Buy: Changing Lanes

Review: Compromising the Marquess (The Forsters, Book 1) by Wendy Soliman

Compromising the Marquess(1)Heroine: Leah Elliot and her sister are near destitution and live by the grace their graceless aunt and well-meaning but easily subdued uncle. They lost everything when their father died in a fire. His precious and expensive book collection went up in smoke. When Leah’s sister got sick, Leah turned to a family friend and started selling ton secrets to his gossip rag to survive. Knowing that their lives are not as stable as they seem, Leah is tempted to sell a few more secrets from their uncle’s country estate. The juiciest ones around seem to center on the Marquess.

Hero: Hal Forster is the Marquess of Denby. He worked for the British government during the reign of Napoleon as a spy. His secrets may be juicy, but they are meant to stay secret. When his French asset is killed, Hal rescues the man’s son and the manservant who helped smuggle the boy to safety. Not fooled by Leah’s disguise as a boy, Hal keeps a close eye on her. When her gossip opens up the possibility of social damage he convinces her to help him undo it.

Review: I love the cross-dressing heroine trope. It’s always fun and quirky. Not that the girl on the cover of the book could ever be mistaken as a boy, but the idea is still cute. I could have done without the sick and fragile sister. A healthy sister over her sickness would have been fine. I loved Hal’s willingness to aid Leah and uncover what really happened with her father. As far as the main mystery goes, I loved who the traitor ended up being. I figured it out two seconds before the big reveal. Wow. I also liked how Leah reveals clues to Hal about her location and what he might encounter when he comes to the rescue.

[Rating:4]

Compromising the Marquess (The Forsters)

Review: Color of Loneliness by Madeleine Beckett

Color of LonelinessReviewed by Sandra Scholes

The Story: A young copy editor, Myra has to make a life changing decision to move to Oregon as she has no remaining family where she is after a recent death. Her hope is to find comfort around others, and make herself feel better after this soul searching period in her life. She also has no need to stay where she is anyway, as it isn’t as though her ex-boyfriend, Trent is any good for her when she hears gossip about him having cheated on her.

Myra Sommers: As the title suggests, Myra’s moving to a new location means she has little or no contact with others in her neighbourhood, and that is what makes her feel so lonely, and isolated, and through the story that grows, which makes it a bit depressing. Her lonely life is about to be lifted though when she has to get a man around to do work on her house, and that is when she meets Dylan.

Dylan Lawson: He’s not happy about all the women in the town lavishing him with unwanted attention. He acts like a man who doesn’t like to talk to others, and has a bad attitude that he uses to put the women off of him immediately, but that doesn’t seem to happen to Myra.

Is It Any Good? Madeleine makes the readers wait until the main characters get into a romantic clinch, but there is nothing wrong with that when the story fills in most of the characters traits. As I mentioned before, it is in some ways depressing, but that is the writer showing how her character is coping with a move that could cause her more problems in the long run.

[Rating:3.5]

Buy: Color of Loneliness

Review: Going to the Bad (A Lily Hawkins Mystery) by Nora McFarland

Going to the BadReviewed by Karin

I was offered this book by LRP. It is not really a romance. It is more of a mystery. This is the third in a trilogy, that may include a fourth book at some later time.

I have not read the first two books. There were a few hints within the book of situations in the other books, but not a lot of catch-up. The book can stand alone.

I thought perhaps it might be as funny as the Stephanie Plum books, but surprisingly there was very little humor, at least in this book.

The story
Lily Hawkins is a TV ‘shooter’ — shooting video as a TV reporter in Bakersfield, CA. The action all takes place in approximately one day from 8 am Christmas Eve day to 4 pm Christmas day.

And then she finds that her beloved Uncle Bud has been shot in her own home. It is clear that he likely will not survive. He has a shady side to his character, but his charisma has always got him through.

Meantime she uncovers a story that goes back 50 years that involves Bud.

The characters’ lives intertwine in surprising and interesting ways. Her fellow reporters at the TV station are all somewhat eccentric, but she has all the station’s facilities at her disposal as she tries to figure out the twists and turns.

Bodies pile up.

Be aware
Parts of the story involve meth addiction and the production of meth; also mention of childhood sexual abuse; elder abuse and dementia/Alzheimers.

No romance
Lily’s boyfriend Rod comes across, to me at least, not particularly likeable. He has made a promise to Bud when he found him shot. He assumes this will keep Lily safe and allow her to continue to love Bud, even though she knows he has flaws. In many ways he’s not really there for her. (I don’t know the back story.) But also Lily is not particularly warm with him. She is concerned when she finds him missing. But it isn’t what she assumes, and in the meantime she is fighting for her life.

My take
I found it sort of dark and gothic. There’s a creepy, decrepit farmhouse. A lot of the action takes place in fog.

Have you read any of her books? Have you read this one? How does it compare?

[Rating:2]

Buy: Going to the Bad (Lilly Hawkins Mysteries)

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Review: Reluctant Protector (Protectors Series, Book 1) by Nana Malone

Reluctant Protector Nana MaloneReviewed by Karin of Savvy Thinker

Cassie Reeser’s brother has engineered her to be a genetically altered person, and not only herself, but others also. She has been virtually kept prisoner, though she has tried to escape. This time, she makes it out in the trunk of a car belonging to Seth Adams, a former war correspondent. When she tells him her tale, he hardly believes her, but soon they are running for their lives, against the ruthlessness of her brother.

Cassie must protect Seth, because he has no idea what he is up against. And she has promised to free the others held by her brother. This is Cassie’s one chance to experience life outside of a laboratory. Cassie and Seth make a good pair – and the sex is hot. Moved a little fast for me, but on the other hand if the alternative is death, well, move fast indeed!

A solid read. Very enjoyable.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Reluctant Protector (Protectors Series #1)