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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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28 12, 2016

Review: The Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck

By | December 28th, 2016|Categories: Cultural Heritage, Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Historical, Literature & Fiction|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments


debt of tamar book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Every life tells a story. While we may feel our story is a novel, it may really be a chapter in a much bigger drama that extends beyond our lifetime. In her tale, The Debt of Tamar, Nicole Dweck captures a sense of how our lives and the ways we live have the opportunity to impact others long after we are gone. Using a narrative that covers several centuries, the story begins in the 16th century with a wealthy family forced to flee Spain during a time when being a Jew was a crime. Having practiced her faith secretly for many years, Dona Antonia realizes that the time has come for her and her daughter and nephew to flee before they are discovered.

31 10, 2016

Review: Small Great Things Jodi Picoult

By | October 31st, 2016|Categories: Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Women's Fiction|Tags: , , |7 Comments


small great things book coverReviewed by Amanda Schafer

As a labor and delivery nurse, Ruth Jefferson knows how to help people. She sees women at their worst, totally exposed and vulnerable, in order to bring a tiny human into this world. She comforts them and guides them through the stages of labor, and also guides the husbands in supporting their wives. One aspect of her job that is most difficult is when the baby doesn’t survive and she has to guide the parents through a new set of stages…the beginning stages of grief.

Turk Bauer is a first-time father who has helped his wife through the stages of labor and now they have a beautiful baby boy, Davis.

18 08, 2016

Review: Sisi by Allison Pataki

By | August 18th, 2016|Categories: Biographical, Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Historical, Literature & Fiction|Tags: , , |4 Comments


sisi book coverReviewed by Bethany Kelly

Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki is a historical fiction book focusing entirely on Empress Elisabeth – known as Sisi – who is married to Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph.

Her life as Empress is anything but a life of happiness. Instead, she feels stifled by her duties to not only her empire, but also to her husband and two older children, whose grandmother made it impossible for Sisi to develop any type of meaningful relationship with.

She spends her time in Hungary, instead of the capital of Vienna, doting on her youngest daughter, Valerie, who is the only child she has been allowed to actually raise. Her love for her estate – just outside of Budapest – is paired with an accidental love with Count Andrassy, a Hungarian statesman.

14 07, 2016

Review: Dare to Take by Carly Phillips

By | July 14th, 2016|Categories: Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Romance|Tags: , , |2 Comments


dare to take book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

Dare to Take is the sixth book in the Dare Family series–a series based on the deceptions perpetrated by the father of the Dare siblings. (Another series will follow, about the ‘other’ family he sired.)

Even though there are six stories in all, this is the first I’ve read. However, I had little trouble figuring out who was who. Tyler is the youngest brother, who has a history with Ella, the best friend of his sister Avery. Despite their strong attraction to each other, Tyler and Ella have stayed apart because the first time around didn’t end so well.

After Ella’s Mom died when she was only five, her dad had subsequently re-married,

5 05, 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

By | May 5th, 2016|Categories: Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Giveaways, Historical, Literature & Fiction, Romance|Tags: , , , |15 Comments


belgravia blog tour bannerPlease join Julian Fellowes, creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the hit television series Downton Abbey and the author of the new novel Belgravia, who is touring the blogosphere with a progressive blog tour from April 14 to June 16, 2016!

Similar to a progressive dinner party, where a group of friends each make one course of a meal that moves from house to house with each course, this progressive blog tour features eleven bloggers and authors, each offering a recap and review of one episode from the book. 

Visit The Calico Critic to learn more about Episode 4: At Home in Belgrave Square, and read on for our review of Episode 5: The Assignation. 

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 hardcover copies of Belgravia–details below! 

Reviewed by Alisha Churbe


22 04, 2016

Review: The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi

By | April 22nd, 2016|Categories: Contemporary, Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Historical, Literature & Fiction, Women's Fiction|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments


beauty queen of jerusalem book coverReviewed by Meredith Kelly

While reading The Beauty Queen Of Jerusalem, I became totally engrossed in the Sephardi life and its regional colloquialisms. The interesting details about the colonization of Israel that you do not usually find in other books made for an exciting history lesson.

Member of the Ermoza family, the protagonists of this book, originally found their way from Spain during the early 1500s, coming to the “promised land” after the inquisition. They settled in their own secular society and were very distrustful of others, including fellow Jews such as the Ashkenazis from Eastern Europe.

In a society where women’s voices were rarely heard this was a book of strong female figures. Author Sarit Yishai-Levi describes generations of family life amidst a “curse” that seems to affect the men’s lives in a way that was detrimental to the women and

11 04, 2016

Review: Demelza by Winston Graham

By | April 11th, 2016|Categories: Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Historical, Literature & Fiction, Series|Tags: , , |2 Comments


demelza book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

In the sequel to his original novel, Poldark, Winston Graham continues the saga in his second novel, Demelza. With rich vivid descriptions of life in British Cornwall, Demelza continues to endear herself to the reader. Rescued from her life as a neglected waif of a child to enter Poldark’s home as a servant in the first novel, now Demelza finds herself a young wife who lacks the social skills to enter society at a level equal to her husband. As the story progresses, she develops from a sweet girl lacking confidence to a beautiful confident woman able to navigate society without losing her country charm that endears her to wealthy and poor alike.

The backdrop of Demelza’s character comes against a series of trials for Ross Poldark as well as triumphs for

28 03, 2016

Review: The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag

By | March 28th, 2016|Categories: Contemporary, Family Saga, Fantasy, Genre Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance, Women's Fiction|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments


witches of cambridge book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Imagine if you had the ability to feel others’ emotions, know someone’s unspoken deepest secret, or weave spells into baked goods to achieve your heart’s desire. This is the norm for Amandine, Noa, Kat, Cosima, and Heloise, a group of women that can confide only in one another their magical abilities. Amandine is a professor at Cambridge, where they meet together as the Cambridge University Society of Literature and Witchcraft.

Throughout The Witches of Cambridge, each woman is in the middle of a conflict, and they rely on each other—and sometimes a little bit of magic—to get through their trials. Amandine suspects her husband of cheating on her, and her student Noa possesses the ability to see others’ truths. Noa regards her gift as a curse, and will do just about anything

15 03, 2016

Review: Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

By | March 15th, 2016|Categories: Contemporary, Family Saga, Literature & Fiction, Romance|Tags: , , |3 Comments


girl's guide to moving on book coverReviewed by Amanda Schafer

Nichole and Leanne are working together to keep each other strong as they try to overcome the stresses they endured during their recent divorces. Nichole was married to Leanne’s son for a few years until she discovered he’d been cheating on her…and Leanne was the one to tell her! Leanne had dealt with her husband cheating on her for years so when she discovered that Jake was cheating on Nichole, she knew she had to do something about it. The two women left their husbands, found apartments in the same building, and began the process of recovering and overcoming their pain. To do that, they came up with rules to guide them: don’t allow yourself to wallow in your pain, cultivate new friendships, let go in order to receive.

Nichole and her young son,

26 02, 2016

Review: Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington

By | February 26th, 2016|Categories: Coming of Age, Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Literary, Literature & Fiction|Tags: , , |2 Comments


only love can break your heart book coverReviewed by Neriza Billi

”We were coming of age in the late seventies, at the sweaty, nauseous, split-headed peak of the hangover between Watergate and ’Morning in America.’”

That pretty much establishes the background of Only Love Can Break Your Heart. Set in the small provincial town of Spencerville, Virginia in the late seventies, it is all about Rocky, a seven-year-old boy who has always idolized his ’bad boy’ half-brother, Paul. In spite of the gap between their ages, Paul has never treated Rocky like a kid. He talked to him as one of his friends, taught him how to fight bullies in school, and unconsciously, instilled in him a sacred love for vinyl records.

A terrible decision forced Paul to leave town. Not hearing any news for years, Rocky’s family somehow accepted