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Playing the Part

Playing the Part

My Review

Playing the Part by Jen Turano, is book three of the series, Class of Their Own. The story is written in such a way, however, that it can be a standalone book.

Lucetta Plum is an actress based in NYC and loves the role. She has had to survive a tough life and care for herself for many years. But Lucetta’s acting comes to a screeching halt when her stepfather and an overzealous fan concoct a nefarious plan.

Lucetta’s best friend, Abigail Hart, takes Lucetta to her grandson’s estate, and that’s where the fun begins.

Lucetta is both intrigued and alarmed at all the strange and secretive goings on at Bram Haverstein’s and is determined to get to the bottom of it.  Will she be able to continue her career? What is going on at Haverstein’s estate?

Jen Turano has done a great job, from the opening scenes to the curtain call, with the whimsical story of Playing the Part.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but must abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucetta’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, seizes the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to safety at her eligible grandson’s estate.

At first glance, Bram Haverstein appears to be a gentleman of means–albeit an eccentric one–but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.

While Lucetta has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, she can’t ignore the strange things going on in Bram’s house and the secrets he hides. As the hijinks and hilarity that Bram, Lucetta, and their friends are swept into take a more dangerous turn, can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?


When Lions Roar

When Lions Roar

My Review

When Lions Roar:  The Churchills and the Kennedys, by Thomas Maier, is a biography of two monumentally important families.  More, it is a biography of three generations, two countries and a century fraught with heartbreak and international catastrophe.  Most histories of great men and women dwell on their public lives, as their actions affect the destinies of nations.  Histories that show how war and international conflict consume the everyday lives, loves and hopes of families caught up in transformative history usually give us a worm’s eye view of struggling foot soldiers, laborers and housewives. However, When Lions Roar is a story of some of the twentieth century’s most consequential women and men, but as they (sometimes literally) write heroic history, we glimpse their petty prejudices (Joe Kennedy’s anti-Semitism), career disappointments, their jealousies and sometimes questionable ethics.  We rejoice in their marriages, some of which (Winston and Clementine’s) are devoted and faithful, some broken by infidelity.  We rejoice when the Churchill and Kennedy children achieve greatness in journalism or politics, and we grieve inconsolably when those children’s lives are taken by war, fatal accidents, alcoholism, suicide and assassination.  Every student of twentieth-century history knows it to be a time of heart-wrenching grief.  Readers of When Lions Roar experience grief personally, for the Churchills and the Kennedys, as their lives move through that century.

Although we partake of grief while we read, when we finish When Lions Roar, we are not left with sadness, but with gratitude and hope.  I myself lived through some of the Churchill-Kennedy dominated twentieth century.  There is no doubt in my mind that I have lived beyond their passing – in a relatively tranquil world, compared to theirs – because of their leadership and self-sacrifice.  For that I am grateful. It makes me want to pay it forward.

The eloquent speech of Winston Churchill inspired Great Britain to win World War II.  The gravitas and cogency of his books, every volume of which was read cover-to-cover by teenaged Jack Kennedy, inspired an American Presidency.  Words have the power to move and uplift.  For that I am hopeful.  It is why I read.

When Lions Roar is an extremely well researched and carefully footnoted book of 768 pages. The narrative portion comprises 643 pages, with the remainder being bibliographical material, endnotes and index. Some readers will find the endnotes and bibliography as intriguing as the text. However, don’t let the length of the chronicle deter you from reading this fascinating history of two major families of the twentieth century.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book

The first comprehensive history of the deeply entwined personal and public lives of the Churchills and the Kennedys and what their “special relationship” meant for Great Britain and the United States

When Lions Roar begins in the mid-1930s at Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s country estate, with new revelations surrounding a secret business deal orchestrated by Joseph P. Kennedy, the soon-to-be American ambassador to Great Britain and the father of future American president John F. Kennedy. From London to America, these two powerful families shared an ever-widening circle of friends, lovers, and political associates – soon shattered by World War II, spying, sexual infidelity, and the tragic deaths of JFK’s sister Kathleen and his older brother Joe Jr.  By the 1960s and JFK’s presidency, the Churchills and the Kennedys had overcome their bitter differences and helped to define the “greatness” in each other.

Acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier tells this dynastic saga through fathers and their sons – and the remarkable women in their lives – providing keen insight into the Churchill and Kennedy families and the profound forces of duty, loyalty, courage and ambition that shaped them. He explores the seismic impact of Winston Churchill on JFK and American policy, wrestling anew with the legacy of two titans of the twentieth century. Maier also delves deeply into the conflicted bond between Winston and his son, Randolph, and the contrasting example of patriarch Joe Kennedy, a failed politician who successfully channeled his personal ambitions to his children. By approaching these iconic figures from a new perspective, Maier not only illuminates the intricacies of this all-important cross-Atlantic allegiance but also enriches our understanding of the tumultuous time in which they lived and the world events they so greatly influenced.

With deeply human portraits of these flawed but larger-than-life figures, When Lions Roar explores the “special relationship” between the Churchills and Kennedys, and between Great Britain and the United States, highlighting all of its emotional complexity and historic significance.

The Preacher’s Lady

The Preacher's Lady

My Review

The Preacher’s Lady, by Lori Copeland, is book one of the Sugar Maple Hearts Series, and if it’s any indication, the series will be great.

Elly Sullivan has loved Bo Garrett and he her since they were very young. They promised to marry each other when they grew up. At age seventeen, the wheels were being set in motion when Bo decided to take a month off to see the world. Leaving behind a bewildered but trusting Elly, Bo didn’t return for over eight years.

Elly has settled into life without Bo and wants nothing to do with him. However, his family is like her own. As she struggles with what his return means to her, can she protect her traitorous heart from breaking? Can Bo be trusted? And what is her place in his family now that he’s returned?

Bo, during his years away, has lived a rough and immoral life. Can a man truly change who he is and what he’s become? Does Bo want to? And can he convince Elly that what she thought is not how things are?

Lori Copeland has written another endearing story, one based on a cranberry farm in Wisconsin during the 1800’s.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book

Acclaimed author Lori Copeland spins a tale of hope, understanding, and faith when God seems silent.

It’s 1855, and Elly Sullivan works on her family cranberry farm in Wisconsin. She’s pledged her unending love to Bo Garrett. 

At seventeen, Bo rides off for a month—just a month—to see a little of the world before he settles down with Elly. He falls in with the wrong people and the wrong life. His promises to Elly and the Lord are forgotten in a misspent youth. Eight years too late, he returns, having come to the end of himself and having rededicated his life to God. 

Can Bo convince Elly they were meant to be together despite all the bumps in their path?

Joshua’s Mission

Josua's Mission

About Book

Joshua’s Mission is a new standalone novel in the Plain and Simple Miracles collection from popular author Vannetta Chapman. These stories of love and family and Amish community in Oklahoma tell of the miracles that can happen when lives are lived in service to God and to one another.

Joshua Kline travels from his farm in Oklahoma to offer aid to an Englisch town on the gulf coast of Texas after a category 4 hurricane has ravaged the area. He brings his brother with him, who needs a change of environment. The last thing he wants for Alton is another brush with the law. He is pleasantly surprised when he hears that Becca Troyer, the bishop’s granddaughter, plans on joining their team.

What will Joshua find when he arrives in Texas? A lack of electricity, certainly, which poses little problem for the Amish volunteers as they help restore order from destruction. But a budding romance? A call from God? And a possible healing of his relationship with Alton?

Joshua’s Mission is a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.

My Review

Vannetta Chapman’s, Joshua’s Mission is book two in her Plain and Simple Miracles series. It can, however, be read as a stand-alone.

Charlie Everman, a resident of Port Aransas, Texas, is helping his friend, who is like a daughter, and her children evacuate because of an impending hurricane. Charlie has promised he’ll be right behind Alice and her children, but unfortunately, stays too long helping other friends evacuate and is caught in the hurricane.

Joshua Kline is the oldest child in his family. His younger sibling, Alton, is ten years his junior. Joshua is steady, responsible and reliable – everything Alton is not. In fact, Joshua has to rescue his brother from trouble one more time and is encouraged by his family and their bishop to take Alton on a mission with him to help restore Port Aransas.

Becca Troyer, the granddaughter of the bishop, is encouraged by her family, including her grandfather, to go on a mission to help rebuild Port Aransas.

As the main characters grapple with rebuilding after the devastation of the hurricane, they also learn to trust each other and others in spite of their differences.

I haven’t read the first in the series, yet I didn’t feel lost while reading Joshua’s Mission. The story is different from most Amish stories, in that it focuses on both the Englishe (non-Amish) and the Amish in about equal measure.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.