The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare

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source: purchased
title: The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke 1
author: Tessa Dare
genre: regency romance
pages: 368
published: 2017
first line: Emma Gladstone had learned a few hard lessons by the age of two-and-twenty.
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:
When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

my thoughts:
My first read of 2018 was a good one. The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke 1 nicely kicks off Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series. It is regency romance with a beauty and the beast vibe to it.

The Duke of Ashbury has been badly scarred at war and lives his life in solitude with his servants as company. He was engaged but it was broken off after he returned from the war. Emma Gladstone is the seamstress that was working on the Duke’s bride to be’s wedding dress and now that the wedding is off, she finally shows up at the Duke’s doorstep hoping to collect the money they owe her for the dress. The Duke has been thinking that he needs an heir to leave his wealth to and he wants to find a wife. When Emma Gladstone comes knocking at his front door the timing can’t be more perfect. He makes her the offer. Marry him and she will be set for life with his wealth, all that he asks for is she provide him an heir. He believes himself unlovable due to the scarring.

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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

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source: free review copy via the publisher
title: Pretty Girls
author: Karin Slaughter/ Twitter
pages: 573
genre: crime fiction/mystery/thriller/suspense
published: 2015
first line: When you first disappeared, your mother warned me that finding out exactly what happened to you would be worse than never knowing.
rated: 5 out of 5 for a thrill ride with twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat
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blurb:
Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

my thoughts:
Oh my goodness, this book! It has had me on the edge of my seat since last week. I could not read it fast enough, and when I did read it, I didn’t want to stop.

If there is a book that might make you faint while reading, it’s Pretty Girls. It was a thrill ride of emotions, truly. I finished reading it last night and at 573 pages there was not a dull moment.

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The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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source: purchased
title: The Silver Linings Playbook
author: Matthew Quick {Twitter}
pages: 289
published: 2012
genre: fiction
first line:  I don’t have to look up now to know mom is making another surprise visit.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending―the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

David O. Russell’s adaptation of The Silver Linings Playbook features Bradley Cooper (People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive) in the role of Pat, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, and Jacki Weaver. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”-quoted from amazon.com

my thoughts:
Matthew Quick tugged at my heartstrings with The Silver Linings Playbook. We get the story through the eyes of thirty-something Patrick Peoples who as the story begins is finally going home after a few years stay in a mental hospital. Pat’s mom fought hard to get him out and as part of his release agreement he has to continue seeing a therapist and continue taking medications. When Pat gets home to New Jersey you see the dysfunction in his family. His father, his brother and himself are all die-hard Eagles fans. Football is a constant in Pat’s life and it is one of the few things that makes him happy and feel normal again. It is also the main thing that allows bonding time with him and his Dad.

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I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

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source: purchased
title: I Am Legend
author: Richard Matheson
published: 1954
pages: 161
first line: On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when the sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:

It seems strange to find a 1954 vampire novel in Millennium’s “SF Masterworks” classic reprints series. I Am Legend, though, was a trailblazing and later much imitated story that reinvented the vampire myth as SF. Without losing the horror, it presents vampirism as a disease whose secrets can be unlocked by scientific tools. The hero Robert Neville, perhaps the last uninfected man on Earth, finds himself in a paranoid nightmare. By night, the bloodthirsty undead of small-town America besiege his barricaded house: their repeated cry “Come out, Neville!” is a famous SF catchphrase. By day, when they hide in shadow and become comatose, Neville gets out his wooden stakes for an orgy of slaughter. He also discovers pseudoscientific explanations, some rather strained, for vampires’ fear of light, vulnerability to stakes though not bullets, loathing of garlic, and so on. What gives the story its uneasy power is the gradual perspective shift which shows that by fighting monsters Neville is himself becoming monstrous–not a vampire but something to terrify vampires and haunt their dreams as a dreadful legend from the bad old days. I Am Legend was altered out of recognition when filmed as The Omega Man (1971), starring Charlton Heston. Avoid the movie; read the book. –David Langford

my thoughts:

Hello blog friends, I have been MIA and missed you all these few weeks but I did manage to read I Am Legend and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I’ve been busy with the usual work, family and just enjoying the summer. We even went on a mini-vacation to the beach last weekend. I’ll share pics on a Sunday post soon and I’ll be blog hopping this weekend and catching up.

Anyway, I picked I Am Legend out of left field really, it wasn’t a book I even planned on reading anytime soon but I found myself in a reading slump and this one helped get me out of that.
Richard Matheson wrote I Am Legend in 1954 and he set his futuristic post-apocalyptic thriller in 1976. The protagonist is Robert Neville, who has lived alone for a few years after losing his wife to a virus that infected most of Earth’s population and turned them into the living dead. The virus was thought to have been spread by mosquitoes after a war. Neville lives boarded up in his home, drinking often to ease the pain of his lone existence. He ventures out during daylight in search of food and supplies while also killing vampires. He spends his days trying to figure out the virus and how to cure it. I felt bad for him from the start. You get to see his past through a few flashbacks. I felt that Matheson wrote Neville’s loneliness and desolation masterfully and he was really creative with his storyline.

Horror he had adjusted to. But monotony was the greater obstacle, he realized it now, understood at long last. And understanding it seemed to give him a sort of quiet peace, a sense of having spread all the cards on his mental table, examined them, and settled conclusively on the desired hand.
p. 101, I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

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Crescendo by Amy Weiss

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I am an Amazon Affiliate
source: Free review copy via Amazon Vine
title: Crescendo
author: Amy Weiss (Twitter)
published: Hay House, Inc. May 2, 2017
pages: 208
genre: fiction/magical realism
first line: Once upon a time-
rated: 5 out of 5 stars amazing
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blurb:
“Til death do us part,” Aria and her husband swore. But death came much too soon.

When tragedy strikes one summer night, everything is taken from Aria: her family, her future. Desperate to find meaning in life after loss, she and her beloved mare leave their home in search of something—anything. It feels like the end of her life. It is the beginning.

If she can find her way through the forest of grief, she will discover an incredible adventure waiting on the other side. Hers is no ordinary journey—it is a journey into the nature of the soul. Each step takes her further into uncharted lands. The cave of darkness. The lake of time. The human heart. Each place she goes and each person she meets has a new lesson to teach her, and soon she comes to learn the most astounding one of all: her loved ones have never left her. They are with her throughout the lifetimes. They are eternal and immortal.

And so is she.

And so are we.

My thoughts:
I finished reading Crescendo last week and I am still thinking about it.
This is a beautifully told story about life, loss, grief and love. It is a small world because years ago I read Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives by Brian Weiss, who I found out is Amy Weiss’ father. If you haven’t read Many Lives, Many Masters I recommend it also, it is an incredible true story about past life experiences and reincarnation. Anyway, I’m digressing here a bit. Crescendo also revolves around the idea of past lives. Isn’t the cover pretty? It matches the story perfectly. As I was taking that picture, my dog Huey photo bombed it, top left. He has perfect timing.

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