The time may help: Five Good Minutes of Mindfulness

Reduce Stress, Reset, and Find Peace Right Now

by Jeffrey Brantley; Wendy Millstine

#FiveGoodMinutesofMindfulness #NetGalley

I am always intrigued by books that offer to help me to be more aware and centered. So, I definitely wanted to give this title a look. Certainly in our current crazy and stressful world, learning how to not get swept up is a reasonable goal.

The author has excellent credentials. He works at Duke University in an integrative medicine program. His book drew me in with sections on Slowing Down and Relaxing, Appreciating Who You Are and What You Have, and last, Connecting to Others and the World Around You.

Readers can go through this title in order or browse. Either way it is a helpful, easy resource to use. The activities that are included will encourage readers to slow down and reset. Try them first thing in the morning as the author suggests. Also, allow for practice. It can be surprisingly difficult to be mindful for five minutes.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.


by Derek Thompson

#WESTCOUNTRYMURDER #NetGalley Pub Date 26 Jan 2022

Derek Thompson has written many novels, although this is my first read by this author. It is the second book to feature Detective Craig Wild.

In this British mystery, Wild finds a body in the car. His investigation is stymied when he realizes that he does not know the victim’s true name. Also, his one clue may well be false. It is that the murder victim is holding a book by author Juliette Kimari. She denies knowing the victim. Is that really true?

How difficult will it be for Detective Wild to solve the case? Read this one to find out. However, note that I found it to be somewhat slow moving.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Note: Potential readers, this book is just 99 cents for the e book version.

An Unlikely Spy by Rebecca Starford is an e book bargain for 1.19.22

#AnUnlikelySpy #NetGalley

To begin at the end, although readers should not do this as there are spoilers, I learned that this novel is based on real people and real events that occurred in the build up to WWII. The story is well told and engrossing.

Protagonist Evelyn was raised in what seems to be a “typical” British home. Her father had a job, her mother was a homemaker and, while not terribly well off, the family managed well. Evelyn , who was intelligent, moved away from her family’s sphere. First she went to a boarding school and later was an Oxbridge graduate. She studied German at university, a helpful language for the time in which the novel took place. Evelyn’s best friend Sally is from a wealthier and more upper class and influential family. They happily included Evelyn in their world. Sally’s cousin Julia is her own woman and a bit of a black sheep. The novel revolves around these three women but with many other characters as well.

What happens when Evelyn becomes involved in war work? What starts out as a secretarial job leads to much more. Readers learn about this and the consequences that Evelyn’s decisions and actions have for her.

One thing that the author does extremely well is to portray the anti-Semitic and pro German attitudes of a group of British citizens. On their own, with Russian emigres and more, they wanted a world in which Hitler was ascendant. This made for some chilling reading.

Another well done aspect of the story was its presentation of work done in MI5. Where did women fit in this? How were agents supported (or not)? These issues add to the intrigue of this story.

What happens to the Unlikely Spy both before and after the war? Read this involving novel to find out.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Dearly New Poems by Margaret Atwood is an e book bargain for 1.19.22

I may be one of very few people never to have read anything by Margaret Atwood.  I am so happy to now have had the chance to spend some time with her poems.

The poems are reflective and often moving.  One of my favorites was called Blackberries.  It is about fruit, growing older and generational connections.   Another elegiac poem called Blizzard is about the poet’s mother getting older and how hard it is to let go.

Ms. Atwood covers a wide range of topics in this collection.  It is definitely worth either reading straight through in order or dipping into.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay is an e book bargain for 1.19.22

In May 2019, Katherine Reay’s novel The Printed Letter Bookshop was published. Her new book, Of Literature and Lattes can be read on its own but will be enjoyed most by those who have read The Printed Letter. The setting in Of Literature and Latte is the same town as in the prior book and readers catch up with the lives of some of the characters from that book as well. However, the novel also has its own plot and some new characters.
In this book Alyssa has left a job with a company that seems to be based on Theranos and that similarly explodes for her. With nowhere to go and under investigation, she returns to the town where her parents (characters in The Printed Letter) live. Alyssa has to figure out what to do with her life and with her unhappiness.
Jeremy has come to Winsome to run the kind of coffee shop that many of us dream of, one that values community and great beans that make great drinks. However, the shop is struggling as is Jeremy. One ray of brightness is his daughter but his daughter’s mother is threatening to leave town.
Janet, from the prior novel. is trying to have a life in which she has stronger relationships with Alyssa and Seth, the man she first married, and is again seeing. It is complicated.
The stories of these characters come to life and I think that readers will care about them. I did not find Of Literature and Latte to be as strong a novel as The Printed Letter but I am pretty confident that this author’s many fans will be eager to engage with this title.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this read in exchange for an honest review. By the way, I love the cover.

What a place to stay! Hotel Portofino by J.R. O’Connell

#HotelPortofinoBook #NetGalley

Readers who are fans of Upstairs, Downstairs or Downton Abbey are almost certain to enjoy this sprawling, involving historical novel. It is already set to become a TV series on Masterpiece Theater in the U.S. and on other international networks as well.

The book has a wonderful setting in the town of Portofino on the Italian Riviera. The hotel that Bella runs is exquisitely described. (I am ready to book my room). The time period is pre-WWII and Mussolini is becoming someone with whom to reckon.

There are many characters in the story. Some are family of Bella, some are guests and some are those who work for the hotel. Readers will eagerly read all of their stories and watch to see how the characters interact with one another.

There are too many people to list here. Below are some:

Bella is the daughter of a wealthy industrialist and the owner and proprietor of the hotel. Her husband, Cedric, is from the aristocracy and does not really respect her although he enjoys her money. Bella has a connection with Henry. How will this play out?

Bella and Cedric have a daughter and granddaughter. They also have a son, Lucien. Lucien, to his father’s dismay, is a striving artist who may not want the “family pile.” Lucien has been scarred both literally and figuratively by events in WWI. A close friend of Lucien’s is Nish, a medic in the war.

Lucien’s father hopes that he will marry Rose. Rose is the daughter of a former love of Cedric. Will he? What will be the repercussions of his decision?

Some of the many guests are Rose and her mother, a querulous older woman and her niece, and an Italian count and his son.

Staff include the cook, Betty and her daughter. There is also Paola, who unlike some of the other staff, is Italian. Readers also meet Constance who arrives as a nanny.

How will all of these characters evolve over the course of the story? How will they be impacted by life at the hotel and, also, by what is happening in the world? Read this enthralling saga to find out.

I experienced a real treat with Hotel Portofino. I alternated between reading the book and listening to it when I was out and about. The audio book narration was so well done. All of the characters came to life and, as I did chores, I escaped to a fascinating place. Whether the choice is made to listen, read, or do both, give this one a place in the TBR.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

An inspiring read: Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream

by KT Johnston

#Jubilee #NetGalley Pub Date 01 Feb 2022

Jubilee tells a gorgeous and inspiring story that will be adored by horse lovers and also by those who enjoy uplifting stories. It is a biography about Lis, a talented rider, who developed polio. Lis was told that she would never ride again. But the human spirit can do more than others can possibly imagine as readers discover here. Follow Lis and Jubilee in this story that is set in the 1940s and 50s. There is an incredibly touching moment in this story; wait for it.

In this title, readers learn that horse and rider needed to work together effortlessly. To me, it appears that the author and illustrator did this as well.

I loved this book and am eager to share it with readers.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.