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Miami Days, Havana Nights by Linda Bennett Pennell – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Miami Days Havana NightsMiami Days Havana Nights by Linda Bennett Pennell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miami Days, Havana Nights is the followup to Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, by Linda Bennett Pennell. It isn’t listed as a series, but I think a lot of character background can be gained from reading them in order. I quickly fell in love with this book, as it was an interesting story (2 actually) and a bit of history. The chapters alternate telling the story of Sam Ackerman and Liz Reams. At the end, they merge, and you get a full picture. While I did like that, because its 2 stories, set nearly 100 years apart, at times I was annoyed I couldn’t see what happened next for another chapter. It was hard to alternate, only because it keeps you in suspense a while longer.
Sam is a teenager when he witnesses a murder, and is quickly sent off for his protection. He didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to his mother, and was sent across the country with not even a change of clothes. But its better than being killed or locked up, so he makes the best of it. He falls in love, to someone forbidden, and must try to cut ties with the mob, but seems to keep getting pulled back in.
Liz is a history professor, who’s passion is researching American Crime. She likes to research the unknown, every day man, and write their story and connection with the mob. She is led on quite the dangerous adventure this time, trying to obtain more research.
Highly recommend this one. I hope there are more to come in this series! I want to see what happens with Liz and Hugh!

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reviewed by @way2gosmartguy

The River Fairy’s Wish: A Lyrical Fairy Tale by Cyrena Shows – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

The River Fairy's Wish: A Lyrical Fairy TaleThe River Fairy’s Wish: A Lyrical Fairy Tale by Cyrena Shows
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The River Fairy’s Wish is a cute little book by Cyrena Shows. I love the illustrations by Anastasia Yatsunenko, they are very colorful and vibrant. The book is described as a lyrical fairy tale which is exactly what it is. While i was reading it to my children, I liked that the story was like a song, that kept adding on line by line, page by page. By the end they were reading/signing along. I can say by children ranging 3-9 all enjoyed it.

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The Fisher Men X-ing Lines (Fisher Men Book II) by Rebel Nicks O’Dey – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

The Fisher Men X-ing Lines (Book #2)The Fisher Men X-ing Lines by Rebel Nicks O’Dey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Fisher Men Xing Lines is book 2 in the Fisher Men Series by Rebel Nicks O’Dey. It is advertised as a stand alone, however, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as a stand alone. I feel like the first book gave so much background and introduction to the characters. I got kind of frustrated at the first 1/3 of the book because I felt like it was summarizing too much what was going on. I love how much Rebel goes into the details and the characters, and I was missing that. However, by the end, when it was new material, and not events that overlapped book 1, I felt that. I had a feeling Connor and Rika were going to hook up, even in the first book, and I have to say, I am not disappointed. The story was great, and had some intensely steamy scenes. I had a hard time following Rika’s investigative story. There were a lot of participants, related in various ways, and it took a long time for me to fully understand who everyone was and how it all linked together. Props to the imagination needed for that. I recommend this book, but not as a stand alone. The first book gave so much background, and was amazing, so do yourself and favor, and just read them all.

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Discovery (The Orphan Train Saga Book 1) by Sherry A. Burton – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Discovery (The Orphan Train Saga Book 1)Discovery by Sherry A. Burton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Discovery, the first book in the Orphan Train Saga, was amazing and I cannot wait to read the next book! I am officially hooked. Sherry Burton’s writing was amazing, and I didnt know Orphan Trains was a real thing until the very end of the book. I googled it and am now very curious to learn more. The story was so well written, I wouldnt be surprised to learn that its based on real people’s lives. The way the diaries were discovered was exciting, and the content was heartbreaking.
Cindy enherited the storage unit that held all of her grandmother’s belongings, after her mother was tired of paying on them for years. Cindy also paid for years, before finally deciding it time to go through them. She had most of it set out to sell, to make some money and recoup the storage fees, but the one item she decides to take home, opens a whole lot of secrets and mystery. It was a treasure hunt of sorts, leading her to some journals with very emotional stories.
I don’t want to give anything away, but highly recommend this book!

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Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel by Linda Bennett Pennell – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Al Capone at the Blanche HotelAl Capone at the Blanche Hotel by Linda Bennett Pennell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel was not what I expected, but I loved it anyway. I was hoping for some intense mobster story, but instead what I got was much deeper. Linda Bennett Pennell wrote with such feeling, there were some scenes I was nearly tearing up. While the story is linked to Al Capone, it is not a story about him. It focuses more around complicated relationships in the 1930’s. Those between black and white friends, made complicated by the times. Lovers who are being torn apart due to mixed races. And people finding out who they truly are, deep down. I highly recommend this book, but I give caution, there is a graphic lynching scene, that had my stomach turning. The characters in this book are simple on the surface, but the more we dive in, the more we become in tune with their daily struggles. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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Finding Ruth: A Daughter’s Quest to Discover Her Mother’s Past by Cynthia Hamilton – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Finding RuthFinding Ruth by Cynthia Hamilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finding Ruth: A Daughter’s Quest to Discover her Mother’s Past is the only thing I have read by Cynthia Hamilton. It’s not the type of book I normally read, but it sounded really interesting. It must have been hard for her to write such a lengthy and honest telling of her mother’s life. It wasn’t an easy one, full of glamour, but I bet what she learned explained a lot about her childhood. At times this was hard for me to read, knowing it was a true story, not a sad fictional story of hardship. I did continue to wonder throughout, why Ruth continued to marry, when one marriage after another fell apart. But it was a different time. I cannot speak to how it would have been to be a single mother in those times. I wish more time was spent on the later years, since the description’s mention of Alzheimer’s is what drew me in. It wasn’t brought up until the very end, but I still really enjoyed the story. I never got bored, and kept wanting to know what happened next and if Ruth would ever get her happily ever after. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biographies about non-famous people. It was a captivating story and I give props to the writer for sharing such a hard story.

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Love Me, Dreamy (Love Me Series) by Laura Burton – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Love Me, DreamyLove Me, Dreamy by Laura Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Me, Dreamy is the first book I have read by Laura Burton. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that it was part of a series, it just sounded interesting. It is the 3rd book of the Love Me series, but can be read as a stand alone novel. I don’t normally read paranormal, but I liked YA and the book sounded interesting. It was a normal story of two people meeting and having an instant attraction. About halfway through, things started to get weird. At first I was really confused, but as the story wrapped up, it cleared, and I really enjoyed it overall. So if you are reading, and get to that point, KEEP GOING! I promise, it’s worth finishing.
The story is about Amelia and Toby, two people who meet by chance in a park one day. They hit it off, and decided to hang out. Soon after, things start to get weird, as they are followed by men in black suits. They seem to show up everywhere, at first watching, then chasing?? Can that be right? Amelia decides to take a risk and follow Toby, because she has an electric attraction to him. But before long, she discovers Toby is hiding things from her. Things are making sense, but Toby promises he will explain everything, later. She decides to trust him, and literally puts her life in his hands.
I won’t say anything more, because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. But I recommend this book, and plan to check out the first 2 in the series.

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Beau & Bett by Kathryn Berla – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Beau and BettBeau and Bett by Kathryn Berla
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The description of Beau & Bett drew me in, as I like reading retelling of fairy tales. Kathryn Berla says this is a modern retelling of beauty and the beast, but I didn’t really get that feel. I mean, Bett was called The Beast by kids at school, but aside from that, I just felt like it was a YA romance novel about two teenagers developing relationship. Regardless, I really enjoyed the story. I was pleasantly surprised the narrator of the book was Beau, since so many of these books are told from the girl’s point of view. The author has a wonderful way of writing, so we can envision the story unfolding. I look forward to reading more of her stories, because I really enjoyed it. The characters are great, and I love that they each have a back story as well as hidden traits we uncover along the way.
Bett, formally known as Bettina Diaz, is a spoiled rich kid, but isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She may change her clothes several times a day, and get a new car because her old one got some dents and scratches, but she is also a rancher, down to her core. Beau is, for lack of a better term, poor. His father is a picker, who is out of work due to injury, and his mom is a caretaker or maid. He is a teenager who spends much of his spare time babysitting his younger siblings and helping around the house. He is thrown in another world when he find himself having to work off debt to Bettina’s family. She seems so different, lives in a whole other world, in fact. But Beau cant help but feel drawn to her. Maybe its because of her social awkwardness, but it feels like something more. There were some surprising twists along the way, and I liked that it kept me guessing.

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Happily Ever After – Brothers of Camelot Style by Necie Navone – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

Happily Ever After - Brothers of Camelot StyleHappily Ever After – Brothers of Camelot Style by Necie Navone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Happily Ever After- Brothers of Camelot Style is the sequel to The Only One by Necie Navone. It continues the story of Drake (Fitz) and Isabella (Bella) as they get married. Bella vowed she would marry him one day, when she was just 4 years old, but after being ripped away in her teens by her mother, they both kissed that dream goodbye. But then years later Isabella returned and claimed what was hers. Drake used to live by the motto “One and Done,” never sleeping with the same girl twice. Now he is vowing Bella is his “One and Only.” The story takes place the week of their fairy tale Camelot style wedding. I love all these stories, and adore the whole bunch of Camelot men and their Camelot Wenches. Their friendships and family ties are wonderful, and each character has their own personality. They tease each other mercilessly but its all done with love. I highly recommend this whole series, and recommend you read them in order to get the full background stories.

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My One Love (The Brothers of Camelot Book 2) by Necie Navone – Review by Elizabeth Sanchez

My One Love (The Brothers of Camelot Book 2)My One Love by Necie Navone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My One Love is the 2nd book in the Brother of Camelot series by Necie Navone. It should be read after reading the My Life Series, but I think you could possibly skip Happily Ever After. However, you shouldn’t, because these books are amazing and you should read them all! I seriously want a movie series made about these books. I have gotten so connected to the characters and love them all. This book continues the story of Grayson and Lexy (aka Aless). Lexy and Grayson met as teenagers, and 8 years later they reunite and instantly have that same spark they felt so long ago. Its almost like it was love at first sight, but they quickly learn love might not be enough. Relationships take work and sacrifices, and compromises. But both are so strong willed and stubborn, will they be able to make it work out? Read this story to see what happens between Lexy and Grayson, and get a deeper introduction to the other characters. I hope Navone writes Hawkins story next! Until next time…

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