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Sandra Bricker takes the reader on a journey that spans from the glitter of L.A. to the Bayou of Louisiana in the third installment of her Jessie Stanton Series: From Bags to Riches.
Jessie Hart has scruples and work ethic. She's spent a lifetime rising from her humble beginnings in Louisiana and made a success of her Adornments boutique in southern California. Just when she thought she had it all, life began to unravel. The man she thought was her husband and her ever after turned out to be nothing more than a con. Turns out Jack Stanton wasn't even her husband. The law has more than a few issues to resolve with him and through it all, he vies to win her back. Maybe once all the 'misunderstandings' are out of the way, he'll marry Jessie for real this time. However, the one roadblock Jack didn't see coming was Danny. It seems he's won Jesse's heart over for good and if Jack Stanton wants her back, it's going to take more than words to succeed.
After appearing before the magistrate and winning the first round of her battle to get her life back, Jesse walks out of the courtroom a liberated woman with her birth name intact and any reference to Stanton a distant memory. When a celebrity stylist approaches Jessie with the pitch to make a reality show of her life and Adornments success as the backdrop, Jessie's fruit of her labors may very well be paying off. This is to say before she receives word that her beloved grandfather has been diagnosed with cancer and it's time to go back to the Louisiana home she worked so long and hard to escape.
This is the first of this series I've read by Ms. Bricker, and actually, the first novel I've read by her. I found From Bags to Riches to be an engaging and solid read. In my opinion, the sign of an accomplished writer is to demonstrate his or her ability to lay out the basics of the story early on and use the real estate of the pages ahead to solidify plot. Ms. Bricker has done so superbly and does not disappoint. Her characters are believable and while the title is somewhat of a predictable play on words, Bricker's style plays out in a way to provide ample twists and turns to discount predictability. There is intentional pace in how Ms. Bricker feeds the storyline to her audience and the infusion of terrific scenery to support the eventual outcome that provides the reader with a comfortable engagement throughout. After reading From Bags to Riches, Ms. Bricker has convinced me it is time to go back and read more of her work. She is no stranger to pen and paper and has demonstrated hands down, she knows how to spin a good read. Well done Ms. Bricker. I am a fan.
Quill says: From Bags to Riches is the perfect companion for a lazy summer afternoon with nothing more to do than read a good book.
Lawyer for the Cat: A Sally Baynard Novel
By: Lee Robinson
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 2016
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: May 24, 2016
South Carolina lawyer Sally Baynard is no stranger to interesting cases as she has tackled intense divorces, messy child custody cases, and burglaries. However, nothing prepared her for representing Sherman, a lovable schnauzer that was caught in the middle of a custody case between his two owners who were divorcing. Fortunately, Sherman's owners had a reconciliation and they are all living happily together which was best for everyone. With this unique case behind her Sally is ready to get back to a normal caseload and normal human clients. Her relief is short lived as a judge who is close to retirement gives her a case where she will represent a cat.
The cat's name is Beatrice and after the death of her wealthy owner this cat is named the beneficiary of a large plantation and multi-million dollar trust. Sally's job is to decide between three people who will be the best caregiver of Beatrice and with this choice that person will be allowed to live on the plantation and be given a handsome salary to pay for the care of the cat. So, in order to make a sound decision on which person will be best, Sally will have to visit and interview each of the three contenders and try to figure out the most important questions to ask. As Sally begins her investigation she reads that in the will the plantation is supposed to go to the son of the deceased after the death of the cat. This in turn creates an extremely upset son who feels he is being cheated out of his rightful inheritance.
As Sally gets a chance to meet each of the three people listed, the choice becomes harder and harder to make as each person has some positive but also some negative aspects that makes a solid decision difficult. In addition, Sally receives some threatening notes that she believes are coming from the angry son. It will take all of her skills as a lawyer to get through this unique situation and find the right home for Beatrice.
After reading the first book by Lee Robinson, Lawyer for the Dog, I was ecstatic to see that a sequel had been written and I could not wait to read it. Author Lee Robinson creates such a fun story full of southern charm that I absolutely love. The character of Sally Baynard is so relatable that I felt as if I was sitting down with a beloved friend as I was reading this book. In addition, adding the element of the animals to this relatable story is a beautiful mix. Once I started this book it was hard to put it away as the writing transfixed me in a way that I became lost in the story and time didn't matter.
Quill says: A book that is absolutely perfect to curl up on the couch with that allows for a wonderful reading experience.
Charlie's Tale: The Great Questions of Life and Death
By: Ann Anovitz
Publisher: Richer Press
Publication Date: November 2014
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: May 17, 2016
The timeless question of what happens after our death is one that has intrigued mankind for thousands of years. Author Ann Anovitz weaves a story that attempts to shed some light on this intriguing question with Charlie's Tale.
Charlie's journey starts as he is enjoying a baseball game, about to eat a hot dog and then unexpectedly everything goes dark except for a few spots of light that he can barely make out. As his vision gets better he realizes that there are hundreds of bright balls of light all around him, each a slightly different color. Suddenly a person appears in the distance and as Charlie comes closer he realizes that he is looking at his own father, but his father passed away a few years ago, so how could this be?
As Charlie begins to pepper his father with a ton of questions, his father explains to him that he had a heart attack while at the baseball game and is on his way to heaven. However, before Charlie can get there he has to learn a few lessons about what it really means to live a good life. As Charlie takes a second to look back on his life, he knows he made mistakes along the way, but he always thought that he was a good person. As his journey progresses, Charlie will realize that there were many things he took for granted in his life, things that he should have known to pay attention to and respect.
The first step is to travel to two different worlds, each very unique in how the planets' inhabitants live their lives. Each world forces Charlie to think back to his life on Earth and see the similarities. Next, Charlie is sent back to Earth but he does not go back as himself. In order for him to realize the important things in life he is sent back to various points in history, each time as a different person. He goes back to the time of the Civil War, as an orphaned young boy taken in by a farming family; sent to China as a young girl, and then spends some time in the woods as a deer. Each lesson pushes the limits of Charlie's ideas about how he lived his own life, and what he would have done differently.
This book started out to be quite intriguing for me. I was drawn into the story and was curious to see the main character of Charlie travel to two very different worlds. The author's creativity in creating these two planets was quite enjoyable. However, for me the story began to take a turn when Charlie journeyed to China. It was at this point that the story shifted from a journey about Charlie to more of a lesson about different cultures. There was an immense amount of information on different religions and I felt I lost touch with the personal journey of the character. While it was interesting, that transition made for an unsatisfactory reading experience as the story, about a man's journey, got sidetracked.
Quill says: A book with an interesting topic, but with a story that fell short for me.