Simon the Fiddler [Book Review]

June 26, 2020

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles (cover) Image: a gold toned western landscape including a river

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Post-Civil War Southwest, Western

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A diverse, scrappy, hard-working, risk-taking, and loyal group of four forms a band…and Simon pursues love.

Simon is the fiddler and leader, and other members include Doroteo (guitar player), Damon (whistle player), and Patrick (bodhran and bone player). On the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon notices a lovely Irish girl, Doris, who is an indentured servant and governess for a colonel’s daughter. Simon can’t forget Doris as his ragtag group travels Texas striving to put their lives back together at the end of the Civil War and build their reputation. He vows to find her again, rescue her from her dire situation, and propose.

an old fiddle

My Thoughts:


A Better Man: A Review

August 30, 2019

3 pines

A Better Man by Louise Penny

A Better Man Review

Genre/Categories: Mystery, Detective

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A better man or a bitter man?

In #15 of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Better Man, a dangerous spring flood causes the river to rise, social media displays its cruel side, and the search for a missing woman intensifies. Meanwhile, life is complicated for Gamache who returns to the Surete du Quebec as second-in-charge and reports to Beauvoir.

Typical of Louise Penny’s stories, the setting of Three Pines is a safe haven, cases are complicated and sometimes morally ambiguous, and the character of leaders is explored and tested. Will Gamache return as a better man or a bitter man?

My Thoughts:


The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Review

July 26, 2019

Have you read well-loved author, Rachel Joyce?

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Love Story

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


If you’ve read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, you know that Harold has set out on a walking trip across England to visit his former coworker Queenie Hennessy who is dying from cancer. He tells her to wait for him and believes that his pilgrimage will help keep her alive. In The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy we hear Queenie’s story including all her secrets and relive the spirit of Harold’s pilgrimage from her perspective. This is not a prequel or a sequel; it is a companion to Harold’s story. When the two works are put together we are able to construct a complete picture of their lives.

Amazon Rating:  4.4 Stars

My Thoughts:


A Fall of Marigolds: A Review

April 19, 2019

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

A Fall of Marigolds Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Family Drama, Tragic Events

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


A beautiful scarf with a marigold design connects two women who experience traumatic and personally devastating events almost one hundred years apart. Clara witnesses the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 in Manhattan while Taryn witnesses the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Both young women suffer loss and experience the effects of PTSD. This is a story of their healing journey and their decision to risk love again.

Amazon Rating:  4.5 Stars


Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful for Ten Favorite Contemporary Authors

November 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful For Ten Favorite Contemporary Authors

Today I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving Freebie. Of course, I’m filled with gratitude for family, friends, faith, good health, God, and all my wonderful blessings; however, I’d like to include wonderful contemporary authors to that list! Reading brings me great joy and I spend countless, delightful hours immersed in the worlds that authors create.

The following list of authors is only a partial list of contemporary authors I enjoy. In part, I’ve chosen these authors to spotlight because I have likely read more than one of their titles and these titles are among my top reads of the year. Certainly, these authors fall into the “auto buy” category for me in that I would order or check out the book based solely on author’s reputation.

You can find reviews for some of the books mentioned in this post in the A-Z index. Titles are Amazon affiliate links.

authors spotlight

In no particular order, these are ten contemporary authors that are among my favorites:

Frederick Backman

Fredrik Backman

My favorites include Beartown, The Deal of a Lifetime, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, and Britt-Marie Was Here.

Louise Penny

Louise Penny

I love Penny’s entire Inspector Gamache series, but How the Light Gets In, A Great Reckoning, and Glass Houses are three examples of the stories to which I’ve awarded four stars. (it’s best to read the series in order starting with Still Life) The newest installment (#14) will be released next week!

Stephanie Dray

Stephanie Dray
Laura Kamoie
 Laura Kamoie

For the purpose of this top ten list, I’m counting Dray and Kamoie as one author because they coauthored America’s First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton, two favorite reads.

Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce

I loved The Music Shop and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom

Two favorites include Tuesdays With Morrie and The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.

Kate Morton

Kate Morton

Always a solid women’s fiction read, my favorites include The Lake House, The Forgotten Garden, and The Secret Keeper (her newest The Clockmaker’s Daughter was OK but not a favorite and The Distant Hours has been on my TBR for a long time.)

Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor

I first discovered Hazel Gaynor when I read The Last Christmas in Paris (coauthored with Heather Webb) and I immensely enjoyed her recent release The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter. I look forward to more from this author.

Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi
fatima farheen mirza
Fatima Farheen Mirza

Two debut authors that have earned a spot on this list are Yaa Gyasi author of Homegoing, and Fatima Farheen Mirza author of A Place For Us. Both authors were in their late twenties when they wrote their debut novels, and I anticipate years of more wonderful books from them.

Ron Cherow

Ron Chernow

I’m going to include one of my husband’s favorite contemporary authors to round out this list because I often hear him raving about Ron Chernow’s work. My husband’s favorites by Chernow are Grant, Washington: A Life, and Alexander Hamilton.

Please share in comments your favorite contemporary authors.

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Links I Love

Are you missing loved ones during the holidays? Enjoy this reflection from Mitch Albom: “Empty Chairs, Empty Table, Still Thanksgiving.”

My blogging buddy, Rhonda, at The Thankful Heart focuses on gratitude and the spirit of Thanksgiving all year long.

This is an excellent and enticing promo for Kingdom of the Blind!

If you’ve read My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie and provide a review on social media or Amazon, you can fill out this form to receive FREE bonus content!

Have you voted in the 2018 Goodreads Awards?  Final voting is Nov 13-26. To vote, follow this link. Honestly, I’m discouraged with this year’s voting because my favorites of the year didn’t make it to the final cut in most categories. Did yours?

Have you seen The Hate U Give movie? Here’s the THUG trailer. 
I’ve read positive reviews with some saying it could be one of the best movies of the year. Of course, the movie is never as good as the book so don’t miss this important read.

Looking Ahead in “Nonfiction November”

What do you have on your TBR for “Nonfiction November”?

After some deliberation and indecision, I settled on House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg for my Nonfiction November read. Review will be posted Friday.

In addition to nonfiction, I’m certainly looking forward to the new Louise Penny release on November 27! So many books, so little time!

My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!

Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

 Let’s Discuss

Who are your favorite authors?

I’d love to hear updates on your November reading! Do you plan to read a nonfiction selection?

***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.