Category Archives: BOOK REVIEWS

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Stray Far from Stay Close

Stay CloseStay Close by Harlan Coben

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because of a review that grabbed my attention in our local paper. I have never read any prior work from this author, and knew nothing about him. From reading reviews of his prior novels, I think I will go back and try one of those to see what the fuss was all about. The opening of the book started out interestingly enough to capture my attention. I was intrigued to find out all about the different characters and how their lives entwined together. However, as the story wore on, I found myself less and less interested, to the point of not even caring who the heck the killer was. The Ken and Barbie characters just did not ring true at all. Maybe there are really nutty people out there like this, but I didn’t believe it in this novel. The characters didn’t hold my attention, and it seemed to go off in one direction, only to halt and head off in another. I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve read one of his prior novels. I really can’t recommend this one.

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Final Saga in Time Travel to Rome


by Francine Rivers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third and final book in the “Mark of the Lion” triolgy. This book was very good, but not my favorite of the series. I really enjoyed the first two in the series about the romance between wealthy Roman, Marcus, and his sister’s slave, Hadassah. This book focuses on Atretes, a gladiator, who was trained to be angry and trained to kill. This book is entertaining, yet powerful in its message about the destruction of anger and the power of forgiveness.

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Roman Time Travel – Second in the Trilogy


by Francine Rivers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Take a stroll through the “peristyle” and into the “triclinium”. Bathe in the “tepidarium” and take a sip of some “posca”. You will be swept away into the world of Marcus, Phoebe, Julia, and Hadassah. You will experience as the wealthy Romans did, a time of headiness and opulence–or a world of pain and fear–as experienced by the Jewish slaves and catamites. In many ways, their world was like ours today, and in other ways, very different. Francine Rivers weaves a tale that not only entertains but enlightens–as you read and absorb the ancient language of Latin. These historical fiction accounts of ancient Rome are hard to put down, and I found myself reading deep into the night.

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Time Travel to Ancient Rome


by Francine Rivers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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I am not big on historical fiction, but when I began reading Francine Rivers’ epic novel of love in ancient Rome between a weathy Roman and his sister’s slave–I was hooked! This is the first part of a three part triology. Rivers’ thorough research of this time in history will have you right there in the dingy underbelly of the coliseum alongside the slaves and the lions, and you will experience their fear as they are led to their slaughter. She then transports you into the inner sanctums “larariums” or “bibliothecas” of the wealthy Romans. You will taste the disgustingly rich foods (pig’s teats) that the Romans gorge themselves on. You will be transported back to a time that we have only read about in history books, but in these books you will live it, and you will learn the actual Latin words that they spoke. You will find yourself touched in your soul as you close the last page.

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John Grisham and Baseball?


by John Grisham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a new and different twist of a book by John Grisham. It is totally out of the realm of his usual legal thrillers. It took quite a few pages of reading for me to get into the groove of it. The reason for this is that I’m not a big baseball fan, so talk of stats and baseball greats were not something I usually enjoy. However, the further I delved into the book, the more I enjoyed the fully-developed characters and the intertwining of seemingly unrelated relationships. I recommend anything that John Grisham writes. He is one of my favorites.

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She’s a Natural Woman


by Carole King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carole King is a part of my childhood of the 70’s. Every time I think of her, I hear “I feel the earth move under my feet”….singing it in my head, of course! She is a musician first, and author second, so keep that in mind as you read the book. I enjoyed reading about the progression of how she started out playing the piano as a very young girl, then progressing to being a songwriter for others, but not believing she could be the singer. It was only after James Taylor pushed her to sing her “own” written song, that she came unto her own. The woman really is a master of both lyrics and music.

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American Gothic in Heartland of America

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is from a new author right here in Florida, so I knew I had to grab it. This is her first novel, and well worth the read. The layered plot keeps you guessing right up to the surprise ending. There are secrets aplenty and tragedy is always right around the corner. The shining debut of this new author will keep me watching for more of her upcoming books.

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