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The Neglected Garden -by Suzanne Winterly-Feb.09,2019

Overall I liked this book. It had some good twists and turns. The premise was really good but occasionally I wondered if the protagonist had a brain. A good example of this is when she is trapped and (trying not to have a spoiler here) she pulls out her cell phone and threatens to call someone for help. She was WAY past that idea. She could have possibly had a way to reach out for help had she not given her only secret away. The main character is Gilly who is a landscape designer. The story of her falling in love with the homeowner she is working for (Marc) who also happens to be a rich and handsome widower with a young child is a little rote, but the story is still well-written and has a lot of other good characters added that make the story a good read. As I said earlier, there are also some good twists in the book. I think that most of the characters are well developed and likable. There are naturally a few villains thrown in also, but they serve their purposes and the story is rather clever in the end. . I would recommend this book as a good solid read. 

4 Stars-****

Mother’s Child by Michael Conant

 Mother’s Child by Michael Conant.

I almost do not know where to start with this book. Mr. Conant is a gifted storyteller. It was a long and detailed story but worth reading every word. I was also amazed that this writer was a man as he portrayed females in a very realistic light. This book deals with a family, Mom, Dad, daughter and younger brother.

The little boy (Ernie) has a number of health issues that are largely unexplained, as well as completely undiagnosed. The Mom and Dad treat the symptoms and ask questions but never really seem to get any answers. Eventually, nosy neighbors and even nosier hospital workers become involved and it begins to go downhill from there. I do not like spoilers so I will not do that in this review. This family fights hard for their son and brother. He is a sweet little boy who really struggles with life but still manages to have a great sense of humor and love of life. This is a perfect portrayal of a hospital and Doctor who believe that they are more capable then anyone else and then using their power to force that belief on others.

One of the things that I really loved about this book was that the author was not afraid of the truth and was not stuck on tying everything up with a big red bow. I would highly recommend this book. 5 stars!  Thanks to the publisher for sharing this book with me to honestly review  

stars-***** 5

Mona Lisas and Little White Lies by John Herrick- 2019 published

I will have to admit that I did not love this book. Truthfully speaking I would not have finished the book except for the fact that I had agreed to read it on NetGalley. One of the things that threw me right off the bat were the names in the book. Lily is a beautiful auto mechanic. Ryder is an artist who falls in love with her even though he only interacts with her one time while she is extremely drunk. The unrealistic premise of the book is overwhelming. Not only does he paint her from his memory for years, he also manages to hold off any other long term relationship until she finds him. I will admit however that the story does improve over the span of the book. The first half was not good at all, where the second half picked up the pace as well as the overall story. This is not a book that I would recommend to a friend. I really wanted to like it. Thanks for the chance to read it.

My rating-2 stars **

Educated: A Memoir

Educated: A memoir by Tara Westover

This is a very hard book to review. It is deep and complicated. It is the story of the life of a young Mormon girl whose family is very strict and judgemental. They are also survivalists.

Tara who is the voice of the memoir is a very tough girl. She is stuck in a family of zealots and neglectful parents (who believe that they are good parents) as well as gifted spiritual leaders.

Tara’s Dad is careless with both himself and even more so with his children. His belief that everything is in God’s plan, is not an excuse for his negligence with everyone else’s well-being. I also believe in God’s plan but not to the extent that I can hurt others and expect that whatever happens is for the best and part of ”God’s Plan.”  

One of the saddest parts of the book is the ”homeschooling” that her Mom claimed to have done for her children. It was pretty much left to the kids, other than learning to read and very basic math skills. Amazingly, her Mom and Dad took credit for the education that several of their children achieved with advanced degrees. They were very much self-taught. The other limitation to their education was that only certain books were allowed in their home. If they did not follow the anti-government, pro-Mormon point of view, they were banned. This made for a very sheltered and skewed view of history.

The one thing that the parents were not participants in, was Polygamy. Although they did not practice it, they believed that in Heaven it would be the norm. This was kind of a surprising aspect of the book. It seems that so many Mormon books deal with that as a basis for their story. This was refreshing.

Tara went through so much in her family, inept and unstable parents, a mentally ill and dangerous brother, a poor education and on and on and on. The part of the book that really threw me however was when Tara finally got away from these people and constantly doubted herself and her sanity. She went way above what anyone normal would do to try to stay in good standing with her family. She was burned by her Mother over and over and still keeps going back for more even today. I do not understand how she could continually  put herself back in the bullseye knowing what would happen. Tara is a brilliant woman and I understand that she was a damaged person after growing up in this environment. I do not understand that at this point in her life she continues to reach out to her Mother, who has refused to acknowledge any wrong doing, and who continues to persecute her with the rest of her family.

This book is so complicated and I could write about it for hours. I would recommend that you read it, although it is very unsettling for lots of reasons.

*** stars -My rating for this book is 3 1/2 stars. 

 

The Story Teller’s Secret

The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani

Book published September 1, 2018

I listened to this book online  I would highly recommend this idea  The narrator is excellent.  

This is the second of two novels that this author has written.  I loved her first book. “Trail of Broken Wings” was a better novel than this one.  I liked this one but it was very involved and goes through multiple generations and was harder to follow.

This story begins with a troubled marriage and sadly 3 miscarriages. The first protagonist is named Jaya. In her unhappy state she decides that visiting India   from which her parents are natives, would be a good way to start healing from her marriage issues.

She learns so much about her family and especially about her Grandmother who was a Storyteller. These two books teach a lot about Indian culture wich I found fascinating.

The second protagonist in the book is Jaya’s grandmother Amisha. She is a traditional mother in India who gets involved with a new school and is desperate to learn. She also has a marriage that lacks fulfillment. 

Jaya also learns on her journey why her Mother has never been very loving to her growing up. She was a great Mother as far as taking care of her needs but was not at all intimate or loving with her daughter.  

In the end the story ties everything up nicely. For such a complex story, it is done well.

Overall I liked the book but did not love it. 

**** -4/5 STARS  


The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Published : 2019

 

The Perfect Child is a very interesting book. In the beginning a Surgeon ( Christopher Bauer) and a Nurse (Hannah Bauer) are married for several years and are unable to have a child. In the hospital the Surgeon meets a little girl (Janie) that has been found wandering in a parking lot, obviously severely abused, neglected and way underweight. The Surgeon then treats the little girl and is taken by her charm, as well as her need.

   The story progresses and the couple ends up taking her in while the social services department finds her a ”permanent home”. Of course, no one they meet is good enough for Janie  

   The story weaves around the couple, the birth mother, the birth grandmother and the social worker. Janie is a very interesting child. Sometimes she is friendly and outgoing, sometimes she doesn’t speak at all. Many times she has fits and tantrums that literally last for hours. She hoards food and toys. All of this is attributed to her abusive Mother and Grandmother, as well as possible unknown abusers. A child psychologist becomes involved and tries to get to the root of the problems and helps in the beginning. Unfortunately, one problem just leads to another and then another. 

   This book flows quickly throughout and is well written.  There are several twists and turns. I did figure out the ending well before the end, so it was not as much of a twist as we find in some books. I kept coming back to the book and was anxious to find out what happened.  Overall I would highly recommend this book.  

 

Rating-***** 5 stars

 

The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Reading on,

Cindy Carroll

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC

The largest privately owned home in the US. A must see   

Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connelly

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Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connelly

Published April 02,2019

 

This is Ms. Connelly’s debut novel and it is a winner! This book grabs you quickly and does not let go, 

At the start of this story a very driven woman in the final stages of becoming a Doctor (Claire) is dropping her little girls (Lily and Andrea) off at school,  She and her husband Glen are both very busy working parents. As Claire is driving them she begins to feel very ill. She had to take a vaccine the day before at the hospital and is having a terrible reaction to it.  

Next begins every parents worst nightmare. She is forced to pull into a service station and runs into the restroom and is very dizzy and vomiting having a very severe reaction. Lily and Andrea are sound asleep in the car. When she comes out, her car and the girls are gone. 

It just so happens that two very bad characters have taken the car. As the male in the pair knows that his female partner has lost a child and really wants to be a Mom, he seizes this as a way to get her to go along with him stealing the vehicle. His intentions are to sell at least one of the girls.

The poor Mom is distraught and is taken by ambulance as she is so very sick  When the husband (Glen) arrives he helps join the search but to no avail.

This begins the very complicated story and search for the girls. The ensuing story of the relationship between the parents and the inevitable blame and guilt seem very realistic.

One of the things that I loved about this book was the way that everything does not end up neatly tied into a pretty package. There are both tragedies and triumphs. It has both highs and lows. 

I very seldom stay up half the night reading a book but with this one I did. I call it ”great book insomnia”. This one is worth it. I can hardly wait for Ms. Connelly’s next book.

I want to thank her publisher for the advance copy that I was given of this book.

 

Rating-*****-5 stars

 

 

Books in Asheville

I have been lucky enough to live in Asheville, NC for over 20 years.   What a beautiful place to live.  If you have never visited, please come.  The Mountains are lovely and we are so fortunate to have the Biltmore Estate, as well as the Grove Park Inn.  

My passion is reading! 

Cindy Carroll

What are we doing?

 

 

Reading is the best hobby ever! It takes us to places we have never been before and to meet characters that we would never have met.  

It is truly the most relaxing thing that you can ever do.  I wish everyone could understand and love it like some of us do.  

I am going to share with you my love of books! I will always be fair to a book and will try to find some great ones for you to enjoy too.  

If only there were more hours in the day to read!

Thanks for following along.