A Hole In Texas

By: Herman Wouk

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The long search for the Higgs Boson is over! Doesn’t sound like the beginning of an entertaining book, but it is. Guy Carpenter is a long suffering physicist who since the super collider in Texas has been shut down has settled into life as a NASA researcher with a wife and two kids, one a new baby. He is sent to Washington to meet with a Senator about some funding needs.

From the second he meets Myra, a movie star turned congresswoman, his life is changed dramatically. Suddenly the Chineses scientist who was his first love has discovered the Higgs Boson and is on her way to Washington. Guy gets caught up with a Hollywood movie production and a romantic scandal that threatens his marriage.

The story is a fun page turner and who can resist Hollywood, Congress and Science all coming together with a love story. A very clever combination and a good read.



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By: Sigmund Brouwer

If you have read any of my reviews, you know that I do love to read historical fiction. This was doubly interesting too me as it was historical fiction about a time and a place that I have not read much about. Saffire is set in Panama early in the construction of the Panama Canal. Before you even get in to the story, the politics and the society and the way that the newly independent Panamanians relate to the Americans that have come and built cities to support the construction of the canal are fascinating. One of my favorite parts is the secret that lies behind the mayorial campaign of Odalis (SPOILER ALERT……….

Odalis is actually Odelia and her campaign is a fight for women’s rights)

Now to the story, James Holt is a bona fide cowboy straight out of Buffalo Bill’s wild west show and the Dakotas. At the request of Teddy Roosevelt, James has come to Panama for an unknown reason and a large amount of cash, enough to pay off the debts on the ranch. Upon his arrival he meets and is intrigued by an orphan named Saffire. Saffire is a wily connected street girl, who is in search of her mother, who she does not believe has left her behind.

James journey to fulfill both his mission given by the president and to help Saffire often get him in to trouble and entangle him with the powerful people on both sides of the Zone (where the US workers live and are protected.

Just the right balance of history, romance and mystery, Saffire is a great read and will take you to a place and time you probably haven’t thought much about.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.


The Hamilton Affair

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By: Elizabeth Cobbs

Before he was killed over his honor by Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton had a life, with work and a thriving family. Although Aaron Burr pops every now and then, the fatal encounter is not the point of the book and is basically just the ending. This story is mostly about the relationship of Hamilton with his wife, Eliza. From the time that they first met until his untimely death, which left her a widowed mother of a whole passel of children.

Hamilton appears more human in this overly flowery depiction of his life. He seems to struggle with the pressure of building a new government and cannot manage to balance those pressures with his family life. He ends up having an affair with a woman who seems to entrap him and try to use it to ruin him politically, but it is a small part of the story.

I have not see the musical, so I can’t compare, but it is a sweet fictionalized story in which you will recognize several names and stories from your history book. If nothing else, you will love Eliza, she is a fantastic heroine!


English Manor Murder

By: Leslie Meier

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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

This was my first time reading a Lucy Stone book and if it weren’t for Lucy Stone herself, I might have enjoyed it more. This is the 23rd book in the series though, so maybe there were just not many places left to go. In this edition, Lucy is invited to go and stay at an English Manor with her friend Sue, who is assisting the Earl with a hat exhibit. Which is weird to start out with, who invites someone they met once in a museum to come and stay with the in another country. But it does bring the story to a beautiful location complete with a stately manor and accompanying gardens.

This being a cozy mystery, there is, of course a murder (well two, but they really just ignore the first one) and a cast of suspects and police detectives. We don’t really get to see into the murder investigation very much and Perry the Earl and his hat show fade into the background as well. We mostly hear about Perry’s brother in law and elderly aunt who are absolutely horrible people.

Lucy spends very little time sleuthing, which I expected more of, this being a cozy mystery. Mostly, she whines about her son moving away with her grandson (and no time at all missing the two kids who are still at home.) There isn’t much need for the sleuthing anyway as it is pretty obvious who the murderer is from the start.

There were just no characters to like in this book or root for, most of the time you have to remember who they are. I think I might give Lucy another chance to see how she is back home in Maine, but this one is a no go!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Parts 1 & 2

By: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

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I held off on reading this one, although I picked it up on the first day. while I finished re reading the other seven books. I have been a Harry Potter fan from the first and was skeptically excited about this new story with my favorite characters. And that was the problem, these were not my favorite characters.

First, the format was a play script, so it was a little difficult to get in to the story with the scene and place changes. Once you got in to it, you didn’t notice it as much and it flowed better. The format didn’t seem as bad as I had at first thought it would be.

The story was ok, time travel and visiting some of our favorite moments from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The characters were the downfall of the whole thing. Harry was a shallow jerk, Hermoine kept changing the whole time and was soppy about Ron, who apparently lost all of his intelligence in the 19 years that had passed. It was almost sad to have to read about these versions of our old favorites.

If this is your first Harry Potter book, it should be enjoyable. If you are an old time Harry Potter fan, I would skip this one, as hard as it is to resist a new story, and go back and reread the old ones.


A Fine Imitation

By: Amber Brock (visit author’s web page here)

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Vera has spent her whole like doing what she “has to” according to her mother, her husband and society. Her story is told in alternating chapters, one from when she was a senior at Vassar and one years later as an adult in New York. The adult years are set in the building that Vera’s husband built and in which she lives in the penthouse. The cast of characters in the building are a wonderful bunch and they seem to have a tea or a dinner party every day. I loved reading about the party where the overworked maid poorly cooks all the food!

Vera’s college days center around her totally unsuitable best friend, Bea and all of the trouble that they get up to together. Their adventures end in a betrayal by Vera and they don’t speak after that, although they continue to run into each other in New York.

A wonderfully written story, you come to care about Vera and whether or not she can make the decisions that will lead her out of her society life and into a new adventure. A great period read and goes by quickly.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.



By: Julian Fellowes (click here to go to author’s website)

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Yes, that Julian Fellowes! And if you are expecting a Downton like story, complete with upstairs-downstairs intrique, you are in the right place. Belgravia centers around two families who share a secret that is in danger of coming out. Set in 1850s London, Charles Pope, was raised by a country minister but he is actually the grandson of two of the more prominent families, one old money and one who has built his fortune along with half the new buildings in London.

If he is found to be legitimate, he will displace his cousin as heir to the Earldom. This creates a secret network of lovers and servants that all get involved in getting to the truth and finding out who the mysterious stranger is.

A fun, intriguing story that takes you upstairs and downstairs and even among the working class of London. The characters are a little shallow, but this is probably done on purpose to portray the world of the gentried. A great read, but it might have been better to hold on to until my beach trip.


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