curiousbeginningA Curious Beginning is the first in a new series by the author of the Lady Jane Grey mysteries. This is fast-paced historical fiction with a heroine who would be comfortable in the modern world. Left to her own devices after aunt dies, Veronica Speedwell just wants to be able to return to her favorite hobby of hunting butterflies. But a secret from her past brings unwanted attention. This book was so much fun! Veronica Speedwell is the spunky, resourceful, and independent heroine I didn't know I was looking for. I'm excited to see that there will be more books in this series.

Hope Springs on Main StreetHope Springs on Main Street is a great small-town, friends-to-more romance. Jane Madison is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her husband leaves her. Old friend Henry Birch comes back to town and helps Jane believe that she can find love again. I had great empathy for Jane's struggle after her divorce, and wanted to punch her weasel of an ex-husband for what he put her through. Olivia Miles did a great job writing characters that were just like real people, foibles and all. This is a great series for fans of Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series.

Bandette, Volume 1: Presto!Whenever I struggle to find a book to suit my current reading mood, I find that a graphic novel is a fun way to read a great story without a lot of time invested. They are often quick reads with beautiful artwork to please the eyes. Bandette is a confident, witty, female villain always willing to match her rivals on the field of thievery. Her underground network of urchins is there to lend a hand in her latest exploits to thwart the criminal organization FINIS and her arch-rival, the gentlemanly Monsieur. Bandette is everything I've ever wanted in a supervillain!

circlingAn epic historical fictional account about the life of Beryl Markham, best known as the first woman to fly a solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic from east to west in 1936 and the first certified female horse trainer at the age of 18 in Africa. Raised by her father and abandoned by her mother, she grew up as an ex-pat in colonial Kenya in the early 1900’s on her father’s horse farm in the Rift Valley, north of Nairobi as a wild and free child.

A fascinating woman, who was unwilling to be held back by the limitations of the social norms or gender in the early twentieth century, Paula McClain has captured the spirit of this very adventurous, daring trailblazer.

Along with painting a lush portrait of Kenya and a vivid portrayal of the ex-pat European community in which she lived, including Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen) and Denys Finch Hatten, McClain has magically transported the reader to another time and place in history and made Beryl’s story come alive.

girl translationThe story explores the struggles of a young girl and her mother, immigrants from Hong Kong, who face a multitude of problems on the promise of a better life in New York City only to find themselves in the grips of squalid poverty. It is an eye opener into the underworld of exploitation of  immigrants and sweatshops in the late 1990's. Moving, inspiring, sad, infuriating at times and ultimately uplifting.

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