Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy Roman – a #BookReview

Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy RomanTitle: Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy Roman

Genre: Literary Fiction, Humor and Satire

Publication Date: August 8, 2014

ASIN: B00MJLN2SA

Print Length: 381 pages

Source: Free offering promo from author

Title and Cover: Just What I Always WantedGreat portrait catches attention

Book Blurb:

Cynthia Breault needs a new life.
She’s not miserable. She’s bored. Bored with her safe monotonous job; bored with her cautious loneliness.
Thanks to an unexpected financial windfall, Cynthia opts for early retirement at fifty, hoping to find a new passion. Soon, she thinks she’s found it – in the form of a failing boutique abandoned by its mysterious owner. And the shop is not the only thing the proprietor has deserted. There’s a very nice husband left behind as well.
It’s perfect.
Until Cynthia meets Shannon Miller. Shannon is fourteen, a tough and defiant casualty of the foster care system. And she’s pregnant.
Irresistibly drawn to this foul-mouthed, sarcastic, but vulnerable teenager, Cynthia rediscovers long-buried memories.
Suddenly the store seems unimportant. And hoping she can explain to the new man in her life – eventually, anyway – Cynthia takes the leap.
She offers Shannon a deal. With strings attached.
If they both get what they want, does it matter that their scheme is just slightly illegal?

My Review

Back when I started my blog, with absolutely no clue what I was doing (and that is still a topic for discussion), I found the blog, Not Quite Old. I could so identify and followed Nancy Roman immediately and lo and behold she was also writing and publishing a book. (I was trying to publish my grandfather’s manuscripts at the time.) I really enjoyed her contemplative writing style and thought if I ever had the money, I’d buy her debut novel which came out in 2014. Noticing she put it on a special freebie just after the first of this year, I jumped on it. I just knew it would be good. (Also recommended to my associate reviewer and his thoughts are below.) Was I right?

Oh yeah. Continue reading “Just What I Always Wanted by Nancy Roman – a #BookReview”

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The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary by Jean Grainger – a #BookReview

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerTitle: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary (The Tour Series Book 4) by Jean Grainger

Genre: Literature & Fiction, Irish, Sagas

Publication Date: December 24, 2018

  • ISBN-10:1792633327
  • ISBN-13:978-1792633324
  • ASIN: B07MD964MJ

Print Length: 332

Source: Direct author request

Title and Cover: The Homecoming of Bubbles O’LearyPerfect Old World depiction

Book Blurb:

A luxury stay in an Irish castle, a handsome, experienced tour guide, and a secret that has never been revealed. Life as manager of the magnificent resort of Castle Dysert on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast is never dull, and Conor O’Shea’s life to date has taught him to be prepared for the unexpected. Even he however, is not ready for the gang from Bubbles O’Leary’s bar in New York. A motley crew, from spinster sisters of a certain age, to exhausted social workers, they are all in Ireland for one reason. The fact that this bunch of unusual people arrive during Ireland’s biggest matchmaking festival just adds to the intrigue. But is everyone who they say they are? Are all their motives pure? Conor is ready to do his best to show the visitors his beloved Ireland, but his personal life takes a devastating turn and he finds himself torn, unsure how to proceed. Is the past best left there, or is there redemption to be found in opening old wounds? Wise and witty, heart-warming and deeply satisfying, Jean Grainger takes us once more on an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle.

My Review:

The Homecoming of Bubbles O'Leary by Jean GraingerThe author must have kissed that Blarney Stone more than once!  She can spin such a fable as to keep you glued to the pages, peeking inside the personalities of each of the characters and their stories. Of course, Conor is back, the protagonist who began as a tour guide and now operates Castle Dysert. He married Ana and they had twin boys, now eight years old. The tale is told of Bubbles O’Leary and his bar and immense humanity in New York; how he loved, respected, and regaled his patrons of accounts of his childhood in Ireland. And when he passes away unexpectedly, his closest friends vow to take him home to Dingle. He has cemented a special place in the hearts of each person.

The well-plotted saga begins to lay out a deeply entwined narrative of the individuals who undertake to return him home to Ireland, just when Conor is dealing with crushing family drama, but it is he who they must have to lead their memorial group. Each support character has his/her own story which contributes to the tours they take from the Castle, enjoying the sights. The characters are well developed and engaging.

There is an underlying sinister current that manifests later into the book that adds a mystery to what is an accounting of confronting serious illness, estrangements, lost and new love, and forgiveness. There is humor, the yarn flows easily, the prose so beautiful, the action realistic. You can picture the group in a loving circle with Bubbles’ ashes–an emotional farewell set with the awesome backdrop of the sun setting into the North Atlantic, soft strains of “Danny Boy” in the salty breeze.

I’ve read most of the books Ms. Grainger has published and I must say each has been totally engrossing, engaging, and enlightening. I believe my first book was gleaned through BookBub and noting she lived in Cork, wrote her immediately to ask a couple questions regarding one of the few hints dropped in my grandfather’s books regarding his origins. I’ve been a fan of hers since and loved each new book.

As Ms. Grainger notes, “if she had any Irish in her; she must have to explain the connection she felt with Ireland.” What is the draw? I don’t know, but the author delights the reader whether or not with remote Irish origins in her generous descriptions of the land, the origins, food, ancient artifacts, and sayings. Easy explanations and helpful pronunciations eliminate any off-putting of local colloquialisms and customs and adds to the enjoyment of the story.

I was allowed early ebook download of this novel by the author and greatly appreciated (as always!) the opportunity to read and review. Recommended to any who enjoy a thoroughly entertaining and emotional literary fiction.

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author:

JEAN GRAINGER – SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

Jean Grainger's Author Circle Novel of ExcellenceWINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

‘Warm and wise, reading a Jean Grainger novel is like sitting in the kitchen of a friend. Her authentic writing welcomes you into the heart of Ireland.’ Kate Kerrigan, NYT Bestselling Author.

‘In the same magical tradition as classic Irish storytellers, Maeve Binchy and Frank McCourt, Jean Grainger transports the reader into a world where the characters not only come alive, but become friends, who stay with you long after you’ve closed the last page. I have no doubt that Jean Grainger will be considered one of the finest historical novelists of our time.’ Roberta Kagan, Bestselling author of ‘All My Love, Detrick’ series.

[See her full author bio on Amazon.] I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint #BookReviews – December Recap – Welcome to 2019!

Rosepoint Reviews - Recap - Welcome 2019

Welcome 2019 and Happy New Year to You All!

So thrilled you are here to celebrate the beginning of a new year with me and hoping yours gets off to a wonderful start with excitement for things to come.

My December, as yours, was fast and furious. I got in some great reads, however, including cozies, a children’s book, literary fiction, a domestic thriller, and a sci-fi for a total of ten book reviews, as well as a couple spotlights.

My book reviews for December:

If you missed any of my full reviews, just click the link below.

Dec 2 – A Midwinter’s Tail by Bethany Blake

Dec 4 – Violet Tendencies by Kate Dyer-Seeley

Dec 7 – The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates

Dec 9 – Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown

Dec 14- Quantum Marlowe by Glenn Lazar Roberts

Dec 16- Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey

Dec 23- The Water Tower Club by B K Mayo

Dec 25- Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent

Dec 28- Justice Gone by N. Lombardi, Jr 

Dec  31- Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander

I found new authors to follow and learned another lesson, that of trying a different series by the same author of a series you are not wholly thrilled with. I’ll mention Ellie Alexander, as I reviewed one of her Sloan Krause Mystery series, The Pint of No Return, and loved it. Guess I’m just not that into baking, but I know there are plenty readers out there who would love her Bakeshop Mystery series. You can’t go wrong with the children’s book, The Kooky Kids’ Club, while reading went serious (big time) with both The Water Tower Club and Justice Gone. (Raising awareness.)

If you joined a Goodreads Challenge, this is the fun time of year where they take all your stats and feed them back to you in interesting little chunks.

my year in books
According to Goodreads Stats

A Book With No Pictures by Brent Jones

Goodreads Totals Stats

(My Longest Book didn’t fare well. Most Popular was a book my associate read!)

My Shortest Book – 27 pages – by Brent Jones A Book With No Pictures

Goodreads Highest RatingHighest Rated on Goodreads – Yes, same book!

This little book really packs a punch and the success obviously acknowledged by more than myself. Take a look at your Goodreads stats. Mine have been skewed because of the contributions from my husband, which after some investigation discovered I couldn’t separate because we established one account on Amazon years ago which has now locked in our email addresses. And have you signed up for your Goodreads Challenge for 2019? Now’s the time!

Clink cocktail glassesMartini glassHere is hoping all who read and support my blog have a happy and healthy New Year! And, as always, thank you! I appreciate your participation and comments! ©2018 (signing out) V Williams V Williams