Monday, February 26, 2024



A gorgeous debut, laced through with magic, following four generations of women as they seek to chart their own futures. Evangeline Hussey’s husband is dead―lost at sea―and she has only managed to hold on to his Nantucket inn by employing a curious gift to glimpse and re-form the recent memories of those around her. One night, an idealistic sailor appears on her doorstep asking her to call him Ishmael, and her careful illusion begins to fracture. He soon sails away with Ahab to hunt an infamous white whale, and Evangeline is left to forge a life from the pieces that remain.

Her choices ripple through generations, across continents, and into the depths of the sea, in a narrative that follows Evangeline and her descendants from mid-nineteenth century Nantucket to Boston, Brazil, Florence, and Idaho.


I am one of those people who read Moby Dick without having too. That is right, I picked it up on my own, without a teacher telling me I HAD to read it. I also really enjoyed it. So when I read the description of Tara Karr Roberts Wild and Distant Sea, it caught my attention instantly and I knew I needed to read it.

Wild and Distant Seas takes on a different search then Moby Dick, it is the search for the famous Ishmael of the original story, not the legendary white whale, and the search is conducted by his females decedents. If you have read Moby Dick will might recognize Evangeline Hussey as the Inn Keeper. Wild and Distant Seas begins with her and Ishmael and travels with a bit of magical realism through his and hers female line.

Roberts has written and impressive debut with this one. It is choked full of rich historic detail and beautiful characters that are woven flawlessly throughout the generations. This alone will keep you reading and turning those pages to learn the characters unforgettable stories.

This was a fantastic story, I can not stress that enough, and it was a joy to get lost in . The writing will transport you to the locations and time periods and you will live in them. If you like Historical Fiction, literary fiction, or just take offs of stories you have read in the past, pick up the Wild and Distant Seas. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024



Georgiana Milford may be a wealthy heiress without title, but even she has her limits. It’s vexing enough to be courted by every fortune-hunting noble during the Season—goodness, you’d think she was hiding a gold mine beneath her skirts! But this is not to be condoned. Because during a merry two-week party at a lord’s country home, she’s forced to endure her father’s greatest enemy and the most wretched duke in all of England: the Duke of Despots.

Theo St. Clair has hardly been the Seventh Duke of Desborough long enough to straighten his cravat, yet the ton are already nipping at his bootstraps. Starting with the Milford family who are convinced he’s exactly like his blaggard of a father. Unfortunately, nothing tempts the scoundrel in him more than the prospect of kissing the prim-and-proper-ness right off Georgiana Milford’s lovely lips...

Now they’re trapped together, forced to wear polite smiles while they trade acidic barbs and pretend to ignore the growing tension charging the air between them. But while there is danger in ruin, it’s the devastating secret her family has been hiding that will shatter Georgiana’s world…


I can still remember the first Historical Romance book I read, it was Kathleen Woodiwiss's Shanna. Anyone remember her? Back in the day of the ripped notice covers? Showing my age I am sure! I worked in Washington DC at the time and rode the train, the line ( orange ) that I rode seemed to have readers on it and many times when they finished a book they would leave it on the seat for the next reader to pick up ...that is where I found Shanna. I thought what a great way to pass the time while I set there. I found that I enjoyed a bit of romance mixed in with my thrillers and I began sprinkling it into my reading...when I needed a break from what I was reading or I just needed something different. They were, and still are fun, and entertaining, and for the most part light.

How ( Not ) To Hate A Duke, the newest book by Jennifer Haymore was my recovering from surgery book. I wanted something that would keep me entertained, but also something that would not tax my steroid and pain meds brain. I didn't want to have to think about what was going on, or try to figure out a puzzle, and this book was absolutely perfection for that.

The Milford's and The St. Clairs live on adjoining estates, Daughter Georgina ( Milford ) and the new Duke Desborough have grown up hating each other due to a feud between the family. They are thrown together at a country house get away, where they get a chance to know each other. 

I loved the characters in How ( Not ) To Hate A Duke, Georgina was sweet but she was also a strong woman. I loved the way that Haymore made her progressive, not a weak whiny lady of the time. Theo was of course a swoon worthy Duke, he was moody and had a quiet demeanor  that could come off as aloof or even at times, sad. Haymore knew how to make the sparks fly between the two, you often felt the tension between them, but you could also feel the thaw as it unfolded.

The story was well written and entertaining. It was easy to read and quick paced. It also had everything I needed and want in a Historical Romance ...enemies to lovers, probably one of my favorite romance tropes. The men in waistcoats, tight britches, and tall riding boots, women in fanciful gowns, parlor games...oh could they get steamy, and of course family secrets and drama.

Was How ( Not ) To Hate A Duke predictable? Yep, most, if not all romance books are. I think it is why I love them, they give me some sense of comfort, 90 percent of them give me a happy ending and the rest will rip the soul and heart out of my chest. Even at that, I love them.

So for my romance readers out there..pick up How ( Not ) To Hate A Duke, it is a fun, heartfelt, lightly steamy read, and if you are not a romance reader, it would make a great palette cleanser between your regular reads if needed. I can't wait to go on a search for more Jennifer Haymore books!

Friday, February 2, 2024

Book Review: One Big Happy Family By Jamie Day


The Precipice is a legendary, family-owned hotel on the rocky coast of Maine. With the recent passing of their father, the Bishop sisters--Iris, Vicki, and Faith--have come for the weekend to claim it. But with a hurricane looming and each of the Bishop sisters harboring dangerous secrets, there's murder in the air-- and not everyone who checks into the Precipice will be checking out.  

Each sister wants what is rightfully hers, and in the mix is the Precipe's nineteen-year-old chambermaid Charley Kelley: smart, resilient, older than her years, and in desperate straits.

The arrival of the Bishop sisters could spell disaster for Charley. Will they close the hotel? Fire her? Discover her habit of pilfering from guests? Or even worse, learn that she's using a guest room to hide a woman on the run. 


Charley is a maid at a historic Maine hotel named Precipe, one that has been in the same family for years. She lives on the grounds in a small almost closet like room to save money and pay for her grandmothers nursing care. When the owner, George dies, his three daughters and their families defend upon the hotel for the reading of the will, during a hurricane no less.  Charley is worried about her job, will they fire her if they find out her secret, worse yet will they find the local girl that Charley has hiding in the hotel rent free, and also will she be able to pay for her grandmothers care if she loses her job, should the sisters decide to shut down the hotel.

This book started out very strong for me. I enjoy a good lock room mystery/suspence, especially if you throw in some morally gray characters, and this book had plenty of those. The setting was great, an old hotel on the rocky shores of Maine. It was moody, mysterious, and with the hurricane baring down on them, it felt dangerous.

However, I really liked none of the characters in the story. The sisters especially, were just vile and unlikable, even main character Charley had several things I found I really unliked about her, especially her obsession with peoples looks that seems to occupy most pages in the book. Bree, the girl that Charley was hiding in the hotel , to quote Taylor Swift “ I knew you were trouble when you walked in“

The book was divided into four parts, and the parts each had short chapters, which is always a plus in my book, mostly because I have a hard time closing a book in the middle of a chapter. I will say, I thought the book went on longer than it needed and I got bored with it near the half way mark. There were a lot of family in the book, with a lot of backstories, much I felt was not always necessary to the story.

There was a few good twists in the book, but I felt the ending was predictable  and ended rather quickly.

One Big Happy Family had all the trappings  of a great mystery, but to me it missed the mark, however if you are a fan of a lock room mysteries, don’t overlook this one, it might just be the summer read you are wanting.