Cruising Attitude

Heather Poole

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This was a fun, easy read about the trials and tribulations of being a flight attendant. My flying days are over, but I enjoyed reading this book about air travel through the eyes of a flight attendant. Mostly I wondered why anyone would want to be one. It looks very glamorous to the casual observer, but since most people exhibit their worst characteristics under conditions that are less than ideal, one quickly realizes that flight attendants come in for more than their share of abuse.

They have a dangerous, difficult job. We are fortunate that there are people willing to perform it. I’m glad I’m not one of them.

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The Cult Next Door

Elizabeth Burchard

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I first heard of  the Black Dog Cult on a podcast called The Grift. Elizabeth Burchard talked about how for years the leader of this cult dominated her life. She gave him all of her time and attention and thousands of dollars. Every decision was subject to his approval.

It’s was easy for me to look down on Burchard, until I remembered some of my own insecurities and bad decisions I made when I was young. Then I realized that it was luck, not my own good sense that preserved me from falling into a situation like Burchard, who was only 17 when she joined.

When one is young and vulnerable, some bad decisions lead to lifelong situations that are very difficult to get out of. Some get married to a person that is wrong for them. Some get religion. Some join a cult, not realizing what they are getting into.

That was the case for Burchard. The leader of the cult was everything she was not: strong, decisive, and self-assured. She accepted his leadership blindly and followed him for years, until a friend helped her to see the absurdity of his teaching and the bad effect it was having on her life and her bankbook. He took and took and never gave back. Finally, she was able to break free of his influence. This book is a result of her looking back on her life, in and out of the cult.

Thanks to NetGalley for ARC.

To Command and Collar

Cherise Sinclair

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This book, #6 in the Shadowlands series, continues the story arc started in the previous book, Make Me, Sir. Wanting to infiltrate the organization that traffics in women, Master Raoul helps the FBI by going undercover. Instead of following the plan, he recognizes Kim, and buys her.

In order to further the FBI’s plan, Raoul takes on the task of helping Kim regain her strength. Working with the damaged women brings out his protective side, and together they walk Kim back to health.

Second Sight

Amanda Quick

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After one night of passion, Venetia Milton is stunned to read of Gabriel Jones’ death. However, the sizable fee she earned by photographing the artifacts belonging to the Arcane Society is enough for her to embark on a career as a society photographer. Taking on the persona of a widow, ‘Mrs Jones’ is doing quite well. Then Gabriel Jones miraculously returns from the dead, ready to take up his life as her husband.

Of course, this barely scratches the surface of an intricate plot involving artifacts, secret society, and several attempts on Venetia’s life.

Quick never makes a misstep threading her way through the intricacies of plot, all the while weaving a skein of thread around the growing love between Venetia and Gabriel.

After the Wedding

Courtney Milan

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One thing I like about Courtney Milan’s books is their unpredictability. Her characters are all different from what I am used to reading. She seems to have an inexhaustible variety of problems and situations at her finger tips.

This book, unlike some I have read, have two characters who are not at all sure they love one another. Sure, they feel a physical attraction. Certainly, there is mutual respect and friendship, gratitude even. But love? Love, surely, is something quite different. It takes them quite a while to realize that all these elements are present when you love someone.

The hero, who is black by the way, is looking for a love like his parents had. Slow building over the years, not something that can happen in a matter of weeks.

The heroine has never felt love. She thinks she merely doesn’t want to be abandoned again. Of course she loves him. She would love anyone who gave her half a chance. She has been so beaten down by life, she is willing to go with anyone who has a kind word. This can’t be real love.

Both of them are slow to recognize love when it is staring them in the face. But they figure it out. Eventually.

Thanks to Netgalley for ARC.

Den of Wolves

Juliet Marillier

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In this, the third of the Blackthorn and Grim novels, circumstances threaten to tear them apart. A young girl has been placed under Princess Flidais’ care, needing Blackthorn’s attention. At the same time, the girl’s father hires Grim to help rebuild a home, fallen into disrepair, on his property. It is some distance from his home with Blackthorn, but the money is too good to turn down. It doesn’t take long for Grim to realize that there is more to the job than meets the eye.

Meanwhile, Blackthorn is finally offered an opportunity to help bring the man who imprisoned her to justice. The problem is that in order to make it in time to testify against him, she will have to leave Grim behind. Torn between her desire for justice and her growing love for Grim, who is in danger, she is faced with an impossible decision.

Unlike most series, Marillier wraps up the loose ends with this book. Much as I loved Blackthorn and Grim, I would be content if this is the end of them.

Tower of Thorns

Juliet Marilier

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So, on to the second book in the trilogy. Prince Oran and his wife Flidais, who is pregnant, ask Blackthorn to help them to aid a noblewoman who has sought help in ridding her land of a monster. The cries of the monster are nearly driving people mad, and no one can reach the top of the tower where he is because of a hedge of thorns that surrounds the base. Grump as ever, and accompanied by Grim, she agrees to help.

She unlocks the secret of the tower with the help of the fae, but there is no happy ending for anyone in this sad tale. The main attraction is the growing depth of the relationship between Blackthorn and Grim.

Dreamer’s Pool

Juliet Marilier

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I started this trilogy in the middle. Tower of Thorns turned up on one of my low-cost subscription lists, and I bought it. I hadn’t finished chapter one before I knew that I had to read the first book to learn how the unlikely partnership of Blackthorn and Grim had come to be. So I put aside Tower of Thorns and ordered Dreamer’s Pool from the library. OMG. So good. I put aside all my usual reading until I had finished all three of the books in the trilogy.

Blackthorn, a bitter, wounded women is set free from her captivity by one of the fae. He puts two conditions on her freedom: she much stay within the boarders of the kingdom of Dalriada, and she must offer her help to whoever asks it. At the end of seven years, she will be freed. Consumed with hatred and a desire for revenge upon the man who unjustly imprisoned her, she agrees. Followed by Grim, a fellow prisoner, she moves to the kingdom of Dalriada and sets herself up as a wise woman, a healer.

Smallfolk come to her for healing, but it is when the Prince of Dalriada asks for her help, that she is challenged to the maximum of her powers. Intrigued by the story of his betrothed, a woman who seems so different from the one he grew to love through her letters, she begins to unravel the truth.

When I finished this book I couldn’t wait to start on Tower of Thorns to find out what happens next.

Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer

Barbara Ehrenreich

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We’re all going to die one day. No matter what we eat, or how much exercise we take, or other anti-aging choices we make, the inevitable is our final end. Barbara Ehrenreich turns her eyes on the various fads and fancies and concludes that it matters more how much life we put into living.

At the bottom is our belief that we have control over our bodies. She debunks this myth by her in-depth look at life at the cellular level, something over which we have no control at all. Cells make decisions on their own that are not always constructive and may even be harmful to the larger organism that is our body. Why they do this is little understood today. So eat all the kale you want, exercise if that’s what you like, but it doesn’t matter in the end.

The Crossing Places

Elly Griffith

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I like to read several books at once, reading a chapter then moving on. Occasionally, a book so grips my imagination that I stop all other reading and give it all my attention. This is one such book. I put all my other reading aside and concentrated on this book until I finished it. Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t go to buying books for my Kindle, unless they are cut price, so I have to wait until my name comes to the top of the waiting list.

I can’t quite put my finger on what I like about this book. One thing that I enjoyed was spotting the bad guy from the start. I never can tell who the murderer is until the big reveal, but this I fingered him from the start. In a more remarkable circumstance, I remember who it was. I like to read mysteries more for the characters of the main characters, which means I forget the murderer immediately and can reread the mystery for the pleasure of the interaction of the main characters. This one has both—the puzzle and the joy of the main characters. I’m including the salt marsh as one of the characters. I love her descriptions of the land.

I usually am very critical of the writing, but in this case, I was so roped into the story, that I was willing to overlook the occasional clunky sentence and awkward use of present tense. It is a debut novel, after all. I’m sure her writing will improve as she settles into the series.