Diane's bookshelf: read

Urban Aviary: A modern guide to city birds
Life on Loan
The Look-Alike
The Lullaby Girl
Don't Even Breathe
Only One Life
Lake Season
I'll Never Tell
Moon Water
A Cold Trail
Tracking Game
The Janes: An Alice Vega Novel
Things You Save in a Fire
How to Create Your Website: For Writers and Other Clueless Souls
The Beekeeper's Cottage
Fire Storm
The Pachinko Girl
I Will Make You Pay
Change of Heart: A Seashell Cottage Book

Diane's favorite books »

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Jane Thynne The Words I Never Wrote... Heartbreaking and Tragic!

The Words I Never Wrote by author Jane Thynne is one of the most heartbreaking novels I have read! The current day narrator is Juno Lambert, a young photographer who discovers an unfinished novel in the case of a 1931 Underwood typewriter. Juno is at a crossroads in her life and becomes entranced with learning more about the life of the previous owner of the typewriter.
Cordelia and Irene Capel are sisters whose bond changed drastically in 1936 when Irene married a wealthy industrialist and moved from the family home in England to Berlin. Irene gets caught up in the social side of the prelude to World War II as she trusts her husband while the country politics and Hitler's influence changes the world. Cordelia is working as a secretary and fashion journalist in Paris and grows more concerned as she thinks Irene is blind to the conditions of human suffering around her. This leads to an estrangement of communications between the sisters during the war-torn years.
The story is based on the events which happen worldwide during Hitler's reign and the Nazi rage.
There are no happy endings in this story of the two sisters, even after the war. The book is brilliantly written and the author was very successful at grabbing my interest and then leaving me feeling shredded when I had finished the book.
Publication Date: January 20, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

"Seeking Solace"

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Perry Stone Angels Among Us: What the Bible Reveals about Angelic Encounters

Angels Among Us: What the Bible Reveals about Angelic Encounters by Perry Stone is filled with Biblical examples of angel encounters to men and women of the Old and New Testaments. I found the scripture references very informative. As a Christian believer, it is encouraging to read facts and theories about the messengers used by God in the past and also to understand the relevance of angels in our lives today.
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Debra Webb The Lies We Tell The Undertaker's Daughter, Murder and Unanswered Questions

The Lies We Tell by author Debra Webb is suspenseful and intriguing. This is in the series of The Undertaker's Daughter, Dr. Rowan DuPont, and is better understood if you have read the previous books, but it can be read as a stand-alone book. Rowan is seeking the hidden truths about her mother and her father and how involved they might have been as accomplices with a serial killer, Carlos Sanchez.   I am glad that Rowan and Billy are moving toward acknowledging the possibility of a relationship. Rowan has fears for her future and does not want Chief of Police Billy Brannigan to be caught in the murderous web of Dr. Addington.
I did feel Rowan's reluctance to disclose all the information she could with Billy about Herman and other characters in the book was a mistake and it became an aggravation. There are a lot of murders and very few answers in this book. It will be interesting to read the next book in the series.
Publication Date September 17, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Even Angels Weep"

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Stephen Moss Urban Aviary: A Modern Guide to City Birds

Urban Aviary: A Modern Guide to City Birds by Stephen Moss is a delightful and informative book highlighting some unexpected birds which have become comfortable in urban habitats. I really enjoyed the watercolor illustrations of the birds. The author has included historical information and some very interesting facts about the birds. The book is easy to read, has a beautiful presentation, and size.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photographs by Diane Lochala

Ashley Farley LIFE on LOAN...Change, Strength, and Hope

Life on Loan by Ashley Farley is a fabulous and encouraging story about two women who decide to change the direction of their lives! Two college friends unexpectedly meet in the Atlanta airport thirty years later and on a whim decide to swap homes for a month. 
Lena Browder has reached her limit with being a doormat for her family. She has lost herself over the years and has decided to run away for a month. Lena grabs her old camera before she leaves her house in hopes of rekindling her interest in photography. 
Olivia is running away from her life for a different reason. She has upset the pattern and plans for the two "Kates and the Scapades" she has blogged about for the past few months. The competitions and scandals of the women have drained Olivia of all her inspirations and energy. She is planning to run away and escape from the resulting drama when her most recent blog post goes live. 
I won't post spoilers but I LOVED this novel which is filled with so much emotion, hope, and strength among the characters who are thriving during a time of transition in their lives. I also enjoyed the photography and writing themes. 

Publication Date: October 8, 2019 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Evening Tranquility"

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Erica Spindler The LOOK-ALIKE Murder, Mystery, Persecutory Delusions

The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler is a very good mystery with a bit of suspense. Stumbling across the body of a murdered student on campus ten years earlier has Sienna Scott with unanswered questions. She was sent away by her father to live in London with her grandmother after she had given her statement to the police, but now she has come back home. The murderer has never been caught, which leaves Sienna wondering if she should have been the target. The white parka she was wearing on that snowy night as she cut across a deserted campus matched the same one Madi was wearing.
Sienna's mother suffers from a psychosis which is Persecutory Delusions with paranoiac episodes when she fails to take her meds. She feels there are people out to get her and she is obsessive about staying in the confines of her home. Sienna's half brother, Bradley, has carried the load of responsibility for her care since his fathers' death.
I won't post spoilers, but there are several suspects for the murder of Madi. Several characters have their own secrets which causes Sienna to become suspicious of them all for differing reasons. Or is Sienna becoming like her mother Vivienne, looking for killers in each person she sees?
The story is very good, but it I did get aggravated with Sienna for going to the police with each theory she had for each person caught up in this investigation. She did seem to become manic with her suspicions. Once you accuse a person of a possible murder, you break part of your personal connection to them and it is hard to repair a relationship after such distrust.
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Denise Hunter Lake Season INSPIRATIONAL Family, Secrets, and Romance

Lake Season by author Denise Hunter is a precious and heart-touching inspirational romance. Molly and Levi are siblings who make the choice to give up their personal plans to accommodate Grace, their youngest sister during a time of their greatest grief. Their parents had been renovating the one-hundred-year-old home for an inn before they were killed in a horrible accident. A week before the scheduled opening of the inn, Adam Bradford, an anonymous author is in Bluebell seeking a place to stay as he writes his next novel. He meets with Molly and assists her in assembling an accent table for the lobby when she initially confuses him for a handyman. I won't post spoilers but there is a wonderful mystery in the book which leads to a very unexpected connection to Bluebell for Adam.
A grieving family, a lost love letter, and a writers' quest all make an awesome link to bring closure for unforgotten loves.
Publication Date: November 12, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Pam Webber MOON WATER A blood Moon is coming and DARKNESS is on the way!!!

 A Blood Moon is coming and DARKNESS is on the way!!!

Moon Water by author Pam Webber is WONDERFUL! I enjoyed reading this story of 1969 teenage Nettie and her close friend Win. Nettie is an honest-hearted high school girl who has very strong opinions about good and evil, right and wrong but is not able to give her boyfriend Andy a definite answer if she will love him forever. She honestly can not promise forever but Andy is hurt and they take a break. I thoroughly was immersed in the counsel of Win's Grandmother Nibi who is a Monocan medicine woman. I loved and respected the bridge of Christian beliefs and the Native American beliefs of spirituality and the soul.  Nibi is concerned about the darkness which she feels is coming with the approaching Blood Moon. The story is set in the time preceding the onslaught of hurricane Camille and this story is based on the aftermath of destruction in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Grandmother Nibi has challenged Win and Nettie to make their own dreamcatcher following the Native traditions of a medicine woman. She tells the girls it will be a source of protection in the coming darkness. Nibi gives guidance as needed and the two girls try to complete the process of gathering the items and making the dreamcatchers. The girls' adventures and learning experiences are very interesting.
Also, Nettie wants to be Baptised into her church. Her pastor feels she is not spiritually ready for the serious commitment of the water baptism. Nettie is disappointed and a bit frustrated. She is required to start counseling classes each Wednesday night after service with an associate of the church Even though she is learning about how her attitudes and beliefs affect her faith, Nettie becomes suspicious of Mr. Danes motives. I won't post spoilers, but the coming catastrophe is heartbreaking! I held my breath as I read some scenes.
There were so many wonderful thoughts, explanations, and Christian beliefs along with the Native teaching that I had highlighted many passages of this book. As I said in the beginning, it is WONDERFUL!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photographs by Diane Lochala

Blood Moons

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Robert Dugoni A COLD TRAIL A Tracy Crosswhite Mystery Murder, Fraud, and Greed in Cedar Grove

A Cold Trail by Author Robert Dugoni is the seventh book in the Tracy Crosswhite series. Tracy is a smart and fearless detective. I have really enjoyed this series of books and how Tracy was able to find answers about the murder of her sister. She is now home on maternity leave but is asked to unofficially help in a cold case in Cedar Grove where she and Dan are staying while her house is being renovated to make room for baby  Daniella. This causes some problems for Tracy and Dan, but she just can not resist looking into the murder of Kimberly and the possible link to the death of Heather from years past. She hopes this will answer the cloud of suspicion which hangs over Finlay and he will be able to go back to work with the Cedar Grove police department. After reading the complete book I could understand how Dan's current case for one of the owners of the Market Street business district had suspicions of fraudulent motives as the city was purchasing and reselling the historical buildings which seemed to have been abandoned for current business. Even though the court case proved to be linked to a planned scheme, it did take away from the suspense of the overall plot of the book. It overshadowed Tracy's strengths and abilities. Of course with a two-month-old baby, Tracy can not be in the middle of an action-packed thriller, but I did find this book lacking the pace of the previous books in this series. The rescue of Therese by Tracy was the most exciting scene in the book. It will be interesting to see what the next book will hold for Tracy and Dan.
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

"The UnExpected"

Margaret Mizushima TRACKING GAME Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries Mattie Cobb and ROBO

Tracking Game, (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #5)  by author Margaret Mizushima is a suspenseful mystery with two of my favorite deputies, Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner, Robo! A Saturday night dance is interrupted by the calls for the police and firefighters in the town of Timber Creek, Colorado. When Mattie arrives on the scene she notices the driver of the van, Nate Fletcher has bled-out from gunshot wounds even though his van is on fire. As the volunteers and response teams deal with the van and transport Nate's body, Mattie takes Robo into the perimeter of the scene in hopes of finding clues as to the shooter. The story gets more intense as the relationship between Mattie and Cole develops amid the mysterious hunt for a huge cat in the mountains. The motive for the murder of Nate Fletcher becomes more clear as Mattie and Robo go further into the wilds searching for killers and an endangered wild beast which should have never been in those mountains!
I have enjoyed this series very much. It was so sad in a previous book when Mattie's brother from California was killed. Hopefully, more answers will be forthcoming about Mattie's family and she will also be able to trust Cole with her heart. The book cover is beautiful and the title is so appropriate!
Publication Date: November 12. 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

Friday, August 9, 2019

Louisa Luna The Janes An Alice Vega Novel ... WOW Action Packed Justice

WOW, Action-Packed Justice!

The Janes by author Louisa Luna is a non-stop thriller with Alice Vega as the main character. I enjoyed the first of the Alice Vega, PI series, Two Girls Down, and The Janes continues the fearless fight for justice. Alice is hired as a secret consultant by a joint task force of the San Diego Police Department and a branch of the DEA. Two young girls/teens have been found murdered and left in odd places. They appear to be victims of a sex trafficking organization. There is no identification for the young Latino girls so they are referred to as 'The Janes' for Jane Doe. Because of the reference numbers on internal IUDs, Vega knows there are more girls in the city which are being used as sex slaves. Alice Vega calls in  PI Max Caplan to help her with this case. Vega and Caplan are perfect together! I enjoy reading a strong woman character who is smart and also very brave. During some of the altercations with the bad guys, I could not help but laugh at how resourceful Vega was when she needed a weapon. Go VEGA! Poor Cap, I was very worried about him!
Enough hints for you, now read the book, it is awesome!
Publication Date: January 21, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"A Silent Valley"

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Katherine Center Things You Save in a Fire A Wonderful Drama Filled with Emotion!

A Story of Heroes, Pranksters, and the Bonding of  Firefighters and Paramedics! 

Things You Save in a Fire by author Katherine Center is a heart-touching book which had me feeling a wide range of emotions. Once I started reading the book, I could not put it down or stop until I had finished the book. Cassie Hanwell is a firefighter in Austin, Texas who is receiving an award for valor. She did not plan the beat the crap out of City Councilman Heath Thompson, but when he grabbed her bottom as he presented her plaque she just could not help herself! This episode is so funny but it leads the way to understand a very serious event which happened to Cassie on the night of her sixteenth birthday. Her mother left Cassie and her father for another man on the afternoon of Cassie's birthday and later that night a horrible thing happened to change her life forever. Cassie is tough, self-reliant, an excellent paramedic and fearless firefighter. Emotionally she has barriers and walls she will not allow anyone to cross in order to protect herself.  Her future takes an unplanned spin when she receives a call from her estranged mother. Her mother's request is timed just as Cassie has to choose a new direction for her future.
I enjoyed reading of the camaraderie of the firefighters, the codes of conduct, and about how Cassie learns about forgiveness. As she learns to forgive herself and to forgive her mother, Cassie is unknowingly preparing to learn to forgive a stalker on a larger level.

This was such a wonderful book and I appreciate the Advanced Reading copy I received from St. Martin's Press and MacMillian Publishers.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

Emma Davies The Beekeeper's Cottage Drama, Family, & Romance,

The Beekeeper's Cottage by author Emma Davies will touch many of your emotions as you read the story of Grace and Amos. Grace is a beautiful woman who loves her home and gardens, enjoys beekeeping, and is ready to ask her selfish husband for a divorce. She has had enough of Paul's lies and infidelities and all she wants is her home with some peace of mind. Amos is a very intuitive stranger who offers to work and help at the flower farm in the village of Hope Corner. As the friendship between Grace and Amos deepens, Grace wonders if Amos is carrying a burden and a secret, maybe he is trying to escape from an event or memories. Life for Grace is becoming more difficult as Paul refuses to allow Grace to have her house. It is the way he can hurt her the most. Paul's boss asks Grace to host a business house party for very important clients. He makes an agreement with Grace that he will persuade Paul to allow Grace to have her house if his company wins the new contract. So it is 'Game On' as Grace, Amos, and her dear friends Flora and Ned try to help. During all the work to freshen the house, beekeeping, and tending friendships, Grace realizes what is most important to her life.
The Beekeeper's Cottage is a wonderful and encouraging summer read!


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Garden Visitors"

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Nancy Mehl Fire Storm Kaely Quinn FBI Profiler #2 Suspense, Inspirational

Kaely Quinn, Profiler Book 2

Fire Storm by Nancy Mehl is the second in the Kaely Quinn Profiler Series. I really like the first book, Mind Games and in this second book, Kaely goes to visit with her mother who is in treatment for cancer. This second book has suspense and a case to solve, but there are also conflicts Kaely has with her mom. Her brother Jason has asked Kaely to put aside her hurt feelings in the fragile family relationship and come help him care for Marcie as she undergoes an experimental treatment. During this family crisis, Kaely gets drawn into a case of finding an arsonist in the town of Darkwater, NE. How many people will die before she can understand the motives and pull together a profile of the person responsible? I enjoy this series and look forward to the next book.
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Fire and Ice"

Monday, July 29, 2019

Teresa Driscoll I Will Make You Pay ... A Psychological Suspense

I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll is a psychological suspense which is told in two views, one from the stalker and one from the victim. Of course, both characters have been a victim in the past. Alice Henderson is a journalist who is working on a campaign which affects the tenets of Maple Field Housing. The flats are dilapidated and unsafe for habitation. They. need to be torn down and the tenets moved to newer and better home units. Alice has helped with the community publicity and has not encountered any opposition to the tenets being moved. On a Wednesday, Alice received a threatening call at her office. Could this be a prank or is it serious? The next Wednesday another threat arrives at the office which can not be mistaken for anything other than malicious intent. Alice's fiance, Tom,  calls in a PI to help with the police investigation into Alice's stalker.
I won't post spoilers but the mystery is well written and the young victim who is also narrating his story is heartbreaking. I could not help but shed a few tears as Alice describes her love for her mother and the relationship between her mother and with her sister Leanne. A few months ago I held the soft hand of my mother as she struggled to breathe as her time drew near. The author had to know the feelings of an adult child trying to say goodbye to write it so perfectly.
Publication Date: October 10, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

Catherine Ryan Hyde STAY Beautifully written! Friendships and Dogs

Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a beautifully written story which broke my heart in some scenes and then made me smile! It is the summer of 1969 and Lucas Painter is fourteen with many worries and questions. He doesn't understand why his parents argue each evening, or why he hasn't heard from his brother Roy who is serving in Vietnam. The last letter he received from his nineteen year old brother raised more questions than answers. Most of the letter had been blocked out or redacted which lets Lucas know his brother has seen something terrible. Lucas also has a best friend Connor who seems very depressed. He refuses to go out and stays in his room. One day as Lucas walks through the woods close to his home, he sees a small cabin and then there are two huge dogs approaching him. His impulse is to run and surprisingly, the dogs join him, not in aggression, but just for the joy of running! Lucas returns to the cabin for a run each morning or evening and the dogs love him. One day as he reaches the cabin he sees the dogs are pawing the door and seem to be upset. He looks through a window and sees an older woman in her bed and she is unresponsive to his knocks on the window.. This begins an unlikely friendship with a woman who has become an outcast in his community. As Lucas shares his problems with the strange Zoe Dinsmore, he learns valuable life lessons and he goes beyond all that is expected of him to help Connor, Roy, and also, Zoe. As I read the book. the word "Stay" became so haunting and real as I was hoping the fractured characters in this story could be convinced to face their biggest problems and "Stay".
Publication Date December 3, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Booker: A very cool dog!"