Let’s Read!

One of the very best ways to travel is from your favorite chair. One of the very best ways to learn a new hobby or craft is from your favorite chair. One of the very best ways to learn new recipes is from the comfort of your table with a cup of coffee or tea in front of you…with your laptop, tablets, smartphone, or a real BOOK! Let's Read Together!

A Few Books to Consider...

Diane's bookshelf: read

Dead Stop
The Memory of Butterflies
Magnolia Nights
The Seed Woman
When You Come Home
Southern Gentleman
Somewhere a Rainbow
Call of the Mountain
The Edge of Tidal Pools
Dead Cold
Map of the Heart
In the Midst of Winter
Deadly Intent
Beneath the Trees
The Art of Hiding
The Space Between Words
The Memory of Butterflies
Chickadee Chickadee Bang Bang
Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church
Enigma


Diane's favorite books »

Chelsea Ward MODERN DRAWING A Fun and Easy Guide for Drawing!

"A playful and creative exploration of drawing and illustration for mixed media artists and other creative types " 
It's FUN!
Modern Drawing by author Chelsea Ward is one of the best I have read and used to help with my drawing. I enjoy to try simple drawings, but with the very clear and easy illustrations in Modern Drawing, I actually improved my sketches!
The shading techniques for drawing bottles or glass containers was the very instruction I needed for a more realistic portrayal of curved glass.
If you are looking for a good guide with very in-depth drawing techniques, but easy to follow illustrations, this is my recommendation. I am anxious to sit with my grandson and draw the examples together! Enjoy!

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Still Life in Glass"

Amy E. Reichert The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go A Wonderful story of Mothers and Daughters, and the Secrets they Keep


The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go by author Amy E. Reichert is a wonderful story with layers and depths of life and drama between mothers and daughters. Lorraine, Regina & Victoria, and May are three generations in one family of women who each have had a disappointment which has been life-changing. Lorraine's secret comes to light after she has a stroke and her daughter Gina asks Lorraine's best friend Roza to help her identify some people in some old pictures. A major secret is discovered in Lorraine's past and she is not able to talk and explain to her daughters about their father.
Gina is still grieving the death of her husband and just tries to get through each day with her teenage daughter May. She has always felt her mother cared more for Vicky and had resented her choice to marry Drew. Now Drew is gone. May thinks her mother Gina, does not understand her grief for her father. She rarely speaks to her mom since her dads funeral. She is having problems adjusting and feels it is her mom's fault.
Three women, all related, and all misunderstood by each other. Read on to understand how the depth of love and the healing revelations of the secrets can make a change in their relationships with each other.
A heart touching story which leaves the reader with a feeling of hope.
I thought it was cute how they each referred to the coconut oil...now are you more curious?
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved

"The Art of Letting Go"

Patricia MacDonald The Girl in the Woods Suspenseful, Mysterious, and Dangerous!


The Girl in the Woods by author Patricia MacDonald was very good for several reasons. I enjoyed the book not only for the psychological suspense but also for the questions it brought to my mind about the whole plot of the story. It reveals the challenges of Blair returning home where she had grown up in a less than ideal family situation. Blair has to face the grief of losing her only sister, Celeste, as she is dying from cancer. Celeste whispers her last words to Blair, a confession which indicates an innocent man has been in prison for years because of her testimony in the trial of Adrian Jones! Blair is shocked because Adrian Jones was convicted fifteen years ago in the death of Blair's best friend Molly.
Read along as Blair tries to right a wrong which was done to an innocent man by her sister. It is not easy to get those in authority to listen, believe, and become involved in freeing an innocent man in the death of a young girl. The story made me think, what would I have done in this situation? Yes, I would want to tell the truth to try and gain this mans freedom, but how far would I go to make sure the justice system took notice? Could she really believe the deathbed confession, or maybe Celeste really loved Adrian Jones and was trying to stir up a reason for him to be freed from prison? If this confession is true, then who killed Molly?
I enjoyed this book and once I started reading I could not stop until the end!
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"The Old Ivey house"

Karen Clarke The Cafe at Seashell Cove... Get ready for laughs!

Funny Scenes, Family, and Food!
The Cafe At Seashell Cove by author Karen Clarke is a delightful comedy with fun characters. Cassie Maitland has gotten fired from her job in London and goes home. She is mortified at the experience of losing her job as an event planner with a high profile company. No way is she going to let her folks know what has happened, so she just lets them think she is home for a holiday. So begins Cassie's misguided attempts to prove to herself that she can make changes to her parent's cafe and increase their clientele. Poor Cassie is a bit self-absorbed in her thinking and a bit short on the details as she starts planning new events at the cafe. Her parents had already made changes and have a very successful cafe and business they are comfortable with before Cassie came home. I won't post spoilers, but as you read the book you will laugh and you may cringe as things happen along the way to Cassie finding the truth of her own abilities and talents.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Art and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved

T.E. Woods The Wrong Sister...Psychological Suspense Sisters

The Wrong Sister by author T.E.Woods is a shocking psychological thriller which I really enjoyed. I don't post spoilers, but the beginning chapters of the book seemed to go along very mildly and simple, then the story begins to lead the reader to the hook. What if you were driving down a street and happened to see someone who looks very much like yourself? And a day or two later you see this person again, would you be curious enough to find the identity of your doppelganger? That is what happens to Tess.
As she begins to pursue the woman who looks almost identical to herself, Tess begins to question her past and why her mother suddenly left her at the age of twelve. She uncovers more events which bring more mystery into her life. The bizarre Mimi who thinks she and Tess must be identical twins adds the psychological twist to an unsettling suspense story which will have you reading until the last page without taking a break!
I did think the ending was a bit abrupt but other than that, I loved it!
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Falling From the Edge"

Mary Alice Monroe Beach House Reunion... The Rutledge Family Love and Forgiveness!

Beach House Reunion (Beach House #5) by author Mary Alice Monroe is about family drama, love, and family forgiveness. I have enjoyed reading each book Mary Alice Monroe has written. This book has more family drama for the three Rutledge women. Cara comes back to Primrose Cottage with a baby, Palmer and Julia are having serious problems, Linnea and Cooper each have distress about their futures, and even Big Girl makes an appearance.
The story is about reunions as family members and friends from previous books appear as older characters in this story. I won't post spoilers, but there is a lot of family drama, hurtful words, and later acts of kindness and forgiveness. This book exposes the escalating problem of Palmer's alcohol dependency and Cooper's drug use. The story touches on how devastating verbal abuse can be for family members. Just like families today: we love, we disagree, we forgive, we accept, and then we carry on!
It is always a pleasure to learn more about the sea turtles and beach conservation in each of the author's books.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Photograph by Diane Lochala

"Beach Days"

Elizabeth Blackwell On a Cold Dark Sea... What happened in Life Boat 21 ???


Sadly Beautiful, Haunting and Tragic!


On a Cold Dark Sea by author, Elizabeth Blackwell is a historical fiction which I thoroughly enjoyed! On the night of April 15, 1912, three different women have a lifesaving encounter on lifeboat 21, which has been let down from the sinking Titanic in the cold dark Atlantic.
Mischievous Charlotte boards the newest ship of the White Star Lines, the Titanic, with her husband Reggie, and his brother Georgie. Anyone watching would think what a nice little family, but sometimes things are not as they seem.
Esme Harper is with her husband Hiram on the Titanic as they make their way back to America after their honeymoon. Esme has a secret affair while on the ship with a young man she had met during her time in Paris. As lifeboat 21 is being dropped away from the sinking ship, Esme looks up and sees Hiram standing at the rail and then Charlie Van Hausen drops into the little boat.
Anna Halversson is a Swedish farm girl who has a chance to accompany her friends Emil and Sonja to the United States in the third class steerage on the Titanic. Sonja is going to America to be married to Joseph, Emil’s brother.   As the ship sinks further into the icy water Anna, Sonja, and Emil drop into the dark depths of the Atlantic and try to reach a lifeboat.
I won’t post spoilers, but more of the complete details of the tragic night unfold as the story progresses. Maybe there could have been more survivors in lifeboat 21. Read the story, it is haunting!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Clouds and Sea"

Lorin Lindner Birds of a Feather: A True Story of Hope and the Healing Power of Animals

Birds of a Feather by Lorin Lindner is an awesome compilation of true stories woven together about the power of healing for veterans with PTSD by learning to care for rescued parrots. I admire the author and those who have worked together on these projects to provide a place such as Serenity Park for the veterans and the birds. It is amazing how the acts of kindness in the caring for these birds made differences in the psychological balances for these veterans. If you are a bird lover, this book will touch your heart and you may shed a tear or two as you get acquainted with Sammy and Mango. I enjoyed the stories which are shared of the vets who allow the healing balm of nature and animal therapy help them through their anxieties.
This is a wonderful program and if you know of a veteran who needs a bit of encouragement, give them a copy of this book to read. It may be the start of new hope and lead them to a productive path for their own healing.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Majestic"

Sarah Maine Women of the Dunes A Generational Tale of Family, Myth, and Murder

Women of the Dunes by author Sarah Maine is a beautifully written story which covers three generations of women. Ulla, Ellen, and Libby are each from different time periods but connected by myth, murder, and blood ties. Libby is a present-day archeologist who has more than an educational interest in accompanying a group of students to an island in western Scotland where her grandmother Ellen told her stories of ancient myth, murder, and later sent her a gold cross hidden within the folds of the letter. Libby decides to take a trip to Ullanessm the island of mystery and ruins before the scheduled dig to get a feel for the stories she has been told and to decide what to do about the gold cross which must have come from the artifacts of the former Norsemen who lived there. I won't post spoilers, but the story is rich in the personalities of the strong women and how history seemed to repeat itself across generations in some of the events. This book brings together so many elements of life and conflict, such as love, family, religion, and greed.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Memories"

William Klaber and Philip H. Melanson Shadow Play: The Murder of Robert F. Kennedy, the Trial of Sirhan Sirhan & the Failure of American Justice


Shadow Play: The Murder of Robert F. Kennedy, the Trial of Sirhan Sirhan & the Failure of American Justice by authors William Klaber and Philip H. Melanson will leave the reader wondering many things about this event from a past era in US history. Nothing is ever as simple as it may seem, and this was no open and shut clear case of the man with the gun being the only guilty party.
In this book, the authors go behind the scenes and gather information which has been made available in a different political and media era. The more I read this book, the angrier I felt at our justice system and the few who control what they think the American Public wants to know or hear. It seems those with political power and money have again been able to shape the news to conform to their own private purposes. How do large pieces of evidence just go missing from the evidence holding rooms, and years later those missing items are cited as evidence for a theory in a new document? Because someone with money and power wanted to change the facts of the case.
My review should be about the content of the book, I know. But the authors have been very successful in raising doubts as to our perceived reality of what really happened, and to bring forward information the police, investigators, lawyers, and judges wanted to control.
I am glad I read the book and I have many questions which I know may never be answered.
I can remember when both Kennedy brothers were killed and the aftermath of anxiety and the disturbance people seem to feel. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated our school principal called all the students to the auditorium to pray for the family of the slain President and for our country. Later I remember watching on my aunts Black & White TV speeches Bobby Kennedy gave during the campaign. And when he was killed, my aunt called me in to watch the news coverage, over and over as she cried. When I asked her why she was crying so hard for someone she had never met, she hugged me and said, "I care because he was a human being trying to do good, he was some mother's child, and some woman's husband, it is very sad, because you never know what that person could have done for this country."
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"ShadowLawn, Columbus, MS"