Book Review: I, Jane (In The Court of Henry VIII #4) by Diane Haeger

I,JaneThough her path to the throne was long and paved with treachery. Jane Seymour would win the heart of her king—and heal her own. Jane Seymour of Wiltshire is not meant to go to Court. Not a child like her, with her lack of beauty and no title. But family connections are enough to have her named to the bridal retinue of Mary Tudor. At the French Court, the plain and docile Jane meets the girl who will grow into her rival in years to come. The already charismatic and conniving Anne Boleyn.

Would she get to stay in the countryside she craved?

Soon back home in the English countryside, Jane wants nothing more than peace and quiet. And the devotion of her childhood protector, William Dormer. But his family vows to keep them apart And Jane is called back to Court to serve Katherine of Aragon, who is fighting for her life as Queen in the face of Anne Boleyn’s open seduction of King Henry VIII.

In those turbulent years, Jane will learn the value of loyalty and honesty, while holding fast to her convictions. And it is her unblemished soul that will slowly rise above the chaos—and turn a king’s head.

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Book Review: Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Eric Manheimer

Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital The inspiration for the NBC drama New Amsterdam and in the spirit of Oliver Sacks, this intensely involving memoir from a former medical director of a major NYC hospital looks poignantly at patients’ lives and reveals the author’s own battle with cancer.

Dr. Manheimer describes the plights of twelve very different patients–from dignitaries at the nearby UN, to supermax prisoners at Riker’s Island, to illegal immigrants, and zing.Wall Street tycoons.

Manheimer was not only the medical director of the country’s oldest public hospital for over 13 years, but he was also a patient. As the book unfolds, the narrator is diagnosed with cancer, and he is forced to wrestle with the end of his own life even as he struggles to save the lives of others.

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Book Review: A Dog’s Purpose (A Dog’s Purpose #1) by W. Bruce Cameron

A dog's purposeThis is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

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Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han

To all the boys I've loved before
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean.Who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt. Then sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed. Causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfrien. Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

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Book Review: Nappily Ever After (Nappily #1) by Trisha R. Thomas

What happens when you toss tradition out the window and really start living for yourself?

Venus Johnston has a great job, a beautiful home, and a loving live-in boyfriend named Clint, who happens to be a drop-dead gorgeous doctor. She also has a weekly beauty-parlor date with Tina, who keeps Venus’s long, processed hair slick and straight. But when Clint–who’s been reluctant to commit over the past four years–brings home a puppy instead of an engagement ring, Venus decides to give it all up. She trades in her long hair for a dramatically short, natural cut and sends Clint packing.

It’s a bold declaration of independence–one that has effects she never could have imagined. Reactions from friends and coworkers range from concern to contempt to outright condemnation. And when Clint moves on and starts dating a voluptuous, long-haired beauty, Venus is forced to question what she really wants out of life. With wit, resilience, and a lot of determination, she finally learns what true happiness is–on her own terms. Told with style, savvy, and humor, Nappily Ever After is a novel that marks the debut of a fresh new voice in fiction.

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Book Review: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julia Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul–and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master–a man her mother would never approve of–but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village. . .and to her mother’s tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England

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Book Review: Me Before You (Me Before You #1) by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

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Book Review: The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World by Leon Logothetis

The incredible journey of one man who sets out to circumnavigate the globe on a vintage motorbike fueled by kindness.

Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers. Incredibly, he makes his way across the U.S., through Europe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and finally to Canada and back to the Hollywood sign, by asking strangers for shelter, food, and gas. Again and again, he’s won over by the generosity of humanity, from the homeless man who shares his blanket to the poor farmer who helps him with his broken down bike, and the HIV-positive mother who takes him in and feeds him. At each stop, he finds a way to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways, by rebuilding their homes, paying for their schooling, and leaving behind gifts big and small. The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.

My Gemstone Rating:

This is positively one of the best books I have read in 2018 or anytime at all. I of course followed is up by watching the limited series as well and it was amazing. Watching as one man works his way around the world only on the kindness of strangers. It is at times sad, seeing where people have come. Where society has come to where we don’t go right to kindness. However, for the most part I smiled and I cried and I laughed and I was so happy to see that there is kindness there. One things that I could see within this story is that many times it is those who have the least that are the most willing to share. In other moments it was those who knew what it was like to have little who were the most willing to share what they had. There was a moment or two of those who had much who decided to share, but mostly it was the other genres.

I have had people call me a kindness warrior, so I suppose it should come as no surprise that I read this one. I can completely respect this project and I would love to see more people do it. The more people do it, the more attention will be brought to it as well. Kindness needs to be something that all of us remember and know about. If more people in this world took a minute to simply be kind in a moment when they were in a hurry or something else, the world would truly be a better place. Kindness matters.

As the 12th Doctor put it so well in a message to his 13th self..

Always try to be nice but never fail to be kind.

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Book Review: His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester by Jeane Westin

One of the greatest loves of all time-between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley-comes to life in this vivid novel.

They were playmates as children, impetuous lovers as adults-and for thirty years were the center of each others’ lives. Astute to the dangers of choosing any one man, the Virgin Queen could never give her “Sweet Robin” what he wanted most-marriage- yet she insisted he stay close by her side. Possessive and jealous, their love survived quarrels, his two disastrous marriages to other women, her constant flirtations, and political machinations with foreign princes.

His Last Letter tells the story of this great love… and especially of the last three years Elizabeth and Dudley spent together, the most dangerous of her rule, when their passion was tempered by a bittersweet recognition of all that they shared-and all that would remain unfulfilled.

I know there are many who chalk this book up to just being fan fiction and maybe for them it is, heck even for me I am willing to say there is a great deal of fan fiction involved. That being said I don’t mind fan fiction and when dealing with a relationship from so far away there will be a little bit of fan fiction. We know they had a special relationship and what is wrong with coloring in the lines a bit. There were times I found Elizabeth a little bit to much when it came to childishness and tantrums. I have a hard time picturing that is how she really acted. Royal blood and raised as she was, but it is of course possible.

There were some historical points that were not right, but if I wanted a complete bio I would be reading non fiction. Reading is an enjoyment for me and a historical fiction to me is about that entertainment mixed with the backdrop of history. So to me this book, was enjoyable. The pacing was good and the characters came alive on the page. To me that is the mark of a good book. So if you like historical fictions and don’t mind a few moments that are up and down as far as taking in the actions of characters I think you will enjoy this read. Give it a try.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Another of my 2018 catch up reviews, be prepared to see a few of these, lol.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Reading Everything, Everything for me was about making sure I read the book before I saw the movie or show based on the book. I am very dedicated to that little pledge. I wanted to love this book more then anything, sadly I just didn’t love it. On the bright side while I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It was a solid story line and a unique and interesting concept.

I think a few of the points being a little too obvious and a little bit slow would be my biggest reason as to why I didn’t fall head over heels in love with this one. Beyond that, it was a good read, I did enjoy it and I would suggest someone who likes an interesting, fresh YA concept take a look at this book.

For me, I enjoyed the movie more. It had a bit more of an emotional punch for me. That does NOT happen very often, though sometimes because of how behind I am in reviews it may seem like it does, LOL. Either way, whether you love the movie and want to check the source material or want to read the source first, or just read a solid book despite the fact I wasn’t totally in love I do recommend Everything Everything.

My Gemstone Rating:

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