The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes

It is always a pleasure to see a five star review by as renowned a book reviewer as Ionia. This is high recommendation indeed.

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This is the monthly pick for October–and is one hell of a great book! If you are not familiar with She Reads, please take a moment to visit the website and see all of the wonderful things us ladies are up to–including promoting literacy.

The Girl You Left BehindThe Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the…

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Alison’s Automotive Repair Manual by Brad Barklay

AlisonsAlison’s Automative Repair Manual by Brad Barklay

Description from Goodreads

A widow in her mid-thirties, Alison has been mourning for two years. Now living in small town West Virginia with her sister Sarah and brother-in-law Bill, Alison is unable to move on with her life. Finally, she promises Sarah and Bill that she will start over—once she restores the abandoned, nearly ruined 1976 Corvette she found rusting in the garage and immediately loved. Unfortunately, Alison doesn’t know the first thing about cars, and the fact that the townspeople (with the exception of a cute demolition man) find a woman messing with automotive parts bewildering doesn’t help.

With beautiful frankness and surprising hilarity, Brad Barkley tells of a gutsy woman’s attempts to overcome loss, and fit into a close-knit community, in a triumphant look at grief, love, loss, and moving on.

I gave this book four stars out of five

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this book. This book was a relatively easy read, holding the readers interest and attention right to the end. I found myself wanting to know how things turned out between the main character Alison and the Corvette, Max, and the townsfolk. In some instances these relationships were resolved, but in others the reader was left to keep guessing. I would have liked a clean resolution to the relationship between Alison and Max, but this was left for the reader to decide.

It was the story of a grieving widow coming to terms with her loss and moving on with life. She did this through the rather unusual therapy of rebuilding an old car with absolutely no prior knowledge. She enlists the help of a young man that she soon finds herself developing feelings for. It is a heart-warming story of self-discovery and dealing with the loss of a loved one.

I loved the protagonist Alison and the growth of her relationships with not only the townsfolk, but also with the town itself, and the car that she was restoring. We are shown how she begins to heal and find a way to move on, through her work on the car, but also through the death of a friend. She grew to a greater understanding of the complex nature of a small town and the interpersonal relationships between the townsfolk, and also between the townsfolk and outsiders, of which she was considered one.

I found it a refreshing, fun read that always held the attention. It even came with handy tips about automotive repair, with a snippet from a Haynes manual, at the conclusion of most chapters. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a feel good book, dealing with the difficult subject of loss, in an easy relaxed manner.

This review is based on a digital review copy provided by Netgalley and the publisher.

Speaks the Nightbird (Matthew Corbett #1) by Robert R. McCammon

speaksthenightbirdSpeaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon


This is historical fiction and the first book in the Matthew Corbett series.

Published October 8th 2013 by Open Road Media (first published September 1st 2002).

Description from Goodreads:

Came the time when the two travellers knew night would catch them, and shelter must be found.

God and Satan are at war in the colonial Carolina town of Fount Royal, and even the citizens suspect that a witch is behind the tragedies that have plagued the town. The chief suspect is the beautiful and haunted widow Rachel. Traveling judge Isaac Woodward and his bright young clerk Matthew Corbett arrive to conduct a trial–and uncover the true evil at work in Fount Royal.

Additional information:

Kindle Edition, 816 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Open Road Media (first published September 1st 2002)
original title: Speaks the Nightbird
ASIN: B00F9H59Z0
Edition language: English
Series: Matthew Corbett #1

Highly rated on Goodreads with 4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  2,695 ratings  ·  329 reviews

Check this book out.

Find it here at, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere.

Donny and Ursula Save the World by Sharon Weil


Donny and Ursula Save the World by Sharon Weil

Description  from Goodreads

“THIS is the story of an orgasm. Or it could be said this is the story of an orgasm that never was, and then was, and once it was, it’s the story of all the ripples it set in motion. It’s the reiteration of the total fecundity slam dance, Big Bang Explosion that created the world.” Prologue – Donny and Ursula Save the World

Ursula was a woman who’d never had any pleasure “down there.” Donny was a guy who never passed up a chance. Hopelessly mismatched, they didn’t know the first thing about how to love, let alone how to become the unlikely heroes whose ignited attraction for one another would compel them to do things beyond their mere neurotic existences…

But when an agribusiness giant threatens to control the world’s food supply through their toxic GMO Freedom Seeds, Donny and Ursula join forces with outlaw guerilla gardeners, belly dancing feminists, gun-crazy survivalists, comic book heroes, Mushroom messengers, and even Mother Earth Herself, to rise up and save the day. And all because of some really good sex.

Donny and Ursula Save the World is the most importantly funny, sex-charged, wild romp, romantic-mishap adventure you’ll ever read, about what really makes the world go ’round.

I gave this book three out of five stars.

My thoughts:

I gave this book three stars out of five. I really enjoyed reading this as it was a fun, easy book to read. It was filled with humour, and had me laughing at the many random situations that arose.

The characters were interesting and there were many amusing interactions between characters that didn’t at first appear to share any similarities or particular character traits. Yet, they seemed to work together. The book seemed to be written in quite a tongue-in-cheek fashion, which I liked a lot.

The story had numerous sub plots, such as the underhanded dealings of big business in collusion with the government, the survivalists and of course Ursula’s attempt to achieve orgasm. The battle of the fake superheroes was amusing, to say the least. These all worked together to support the overarching plot of the book.

As I said, this was a fun, easy read and I would recommend it to anyone that wants something light and humorous to while away an afternoon with. It was not a literary great or filled with complex ideas, but then neither was it intended to be.

This review is based on a review copy provided by Netgalley and the publisher.

Common Sense

Just a very short post, as I want to ask a question. I find myself bemused by the term ‘common sense’. Could anyone tell me what is common about sense. I find that most of the time, people I come into contact with, be they random people in the street, other drivers or whatever, do not seem to have sense of any sort. Why do we say ‘common sense’? Sense does not seem to be very common to me at all.

Or is ‘common sense’ supposed to be that sense that is common to us all? Neither version fits well with the experimental data that I have been gathering recently.

So, dumb question, but if anyone can enlighten me I would be most grateful. Either that or just tell me to shut the fuck up and deal. Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments section if you prefer.

Bernhardt’s Edge by Collin Wilcox

berhardts edgeBernhardt’s Edge by Collin Wilcox


A moonlighting director finds his sideline more dangerous than he expected

Alan Bernhardt is just starting rehearsal when his pager goes off. No one in the small San Francisco theater minds—they know that to make it on the stage, you have to be prepared to do all sorts of odd jobs off of it. But this director’s job is odder than most. He works for Herbert Dancer, head of a boutique private investigation service. A corporate secretary has vanished with a sheaf of valuable documents, and it will take an off-Broadway sensibility to bring her home.

Bernhardt is just closing in on the woman and her boyfriend when he learns that she isn’t running for a profit, but for her life. To save her from the men who hired him, Bernhardt must find her and protect her—because his artistic vision does not include blood on his hands.                                

I gave this book four stars out of five

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. I found it very easy to read and difficult to put down. It was always moving forward, inviting me to keep reading, to find out what happened next.

This was an interesting thriller and I liked the fact that it took some time to find out the reasons behind the action and events of the earlier part of the book. I found myself eager to keep going, to find out why things had happened as they had.

This story had all the elements that constitute a good thriller for me, a good well paced plot, rounded, believable characters, suspense and action. There were also good reasons to account for the actions of the characters, at least in the eyes of those performing them. Added to that were twists and turns to pique one’s interest. I liked that it took time to find out whether the crux of the story was about murder, theft, blackmail or whatever. In the end it was a number of things, all cleverly linked through the characters and their interactions..

I really enjoyed the author’s portrayal of his characters, especially the protagonist, Alan Bernhardt. That he was an actor, moonlighting as a private detective was intriguing. I liked how he managed to draw upon his acting skills, and employ them effectively in his role as an investigator.

I would heartily recommend this for any fan of the intelligent mystery thriller. It was an enjoyable read that I found rather hard to put down.

This review was based upon a digital ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher.