Monthly Archives: May 2021

Book Review – A Marvelous Mystery! – Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

By Nancy Springer

Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister Enola was born when he was leaving home to pursue his studies. They do not cross paths until July of 1888 when she is left motherless and on her own at the tender age of 14. Upon the disappearance of their mother, Enola sends word to her two brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. They arrive unsure of what to do with a young girl, but soon realize that their mother has taught Enola how to take care of herself in any situation.

Soon after their reunion, Enola receives a letter from Dr. Watson, stating Sherlock was in a state deep depression.  She immediately goes to his apartment to see what she can do to help him. Whilst there, a young woman, Miss Letitia Glover, arrives in search of Sherlock’s help. Her twin sister has been reported as dead. The widowed husband states she died and there was no funeral or burial. Due to the state Sherlock is in, Enola immediately steps in to find the missing woman. Meanwhile, Sherlock is intrigued by the case and rouses to help his sister. Together they work tirelessly to find the answers Miss Glover needs to hear.

This fast-paced mystery is a delight to read. Sherlock is a character most of us know and love, Enola is just who you would imagine his sister would be. Both of them are masters of disguise, highly intelligent and resourceful. Set in the late 1800s Enola has to work under the constraints of the time, which makes her job more difficult, but she is up for the challenge.

This is book 7 in the Enola Holmes series by author Nancy Springer. It works very well as a stand-alone novel, but if you are like me, you will want to read the previous six books in the series as soon as you finish this one.

Ms. Springer is an award-winning prolific writer of many other books and series. While the Enola Holmes series is classified as a teen/young adult mystery series, it was a fun, interesting and fast read. I have watched the series on my local PBS station and have enjoyed it immensely – but the book is always better and that holds true with the Enola Holmes series as well.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2021 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Three Dreamers – Must Read Memoir

By Lorenzo Carcaterra

Author Lorenzo Carcaterra’s beautiful tribute to the three women that defined his life is an engagingly interesting read. From the first pages, I was drawn into his world as a first generation American. At sixty-six, he has experienced good and evil in his life and knows of loss and uncertainty. That said, he chooses “…to not dwell on it and enjoy what’s left of life.” So, the story of his life, and the three women that influenced him begins.

Nonna Maria is his maternal grandmother. She lives on the island of Ischia, just off the coast of Italy. Carcaterra is a teen headed for trouble when his mother sends him to live with Nonna Maria for the summer. There he finds himself surrounded by family and love. His mother never learned English so he grew up speaking Italian at home in New York. It is easy for him to assimilate and communicate with his Italian family. On this tiny island he learned of his past and started forming his future.

Raffaela is Carcaterra’s mother. She is unhappy with her choice of a second husband. He is a cruel man. They are always in debt; he abuses his wife as well as his son and deals in illegal activities. Sadly, Raffaela does not leave him or shelter her son from his abuse. She depends upon Lorenzo to translate, pay the bills and in return she tells him how disappointed she is to have him for a son.

Susan is the woman he loves. She is nothing like his mother, nor is she like his grandmother. She works at the same newspaper as Carcaterra. He is instantly drawn to her, but as his editor, their relationship was strictly platonic. He wants to write features, but is stuck typing up movie times. When he approaches her with an idea for a story, she agrees to give him a chance. So begins the relationship that will turn into love and marriage.

Three Dreamers is a work of non-fiction that reads like a novel. It is painful, beautiful and at times tragic. The lives of the three women that shaped the author’s life are interesting and diverse, and each of them contribute to the author’s life as no one else can.

Lorenzo Carcaterra is a #1 New York Times best-selling author. Formerly a writer/producer for Law & Order, I imagine most of us have seen his work and not realized it. He has also written for several award-winning magazines such as National Geographic Traveler and Maxim.

If you only chose to read one new author that you have never read before, I highly recommend Three Dreamers. I can’t wait to read his novels as well.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2021 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Retirement: Your New Adventure

By: Bob Boylan

Author Bob Boylan reminds us that there are many paths we take in life, retirement being one of them. He acknowledges that some people have anxiety, have loss of self-identity and self-worth when life changes after retirement.

He recommends looking forward instead of looking back – in his words: “It’s your choice to decide if your windshield will be bigger than your rearview mirror.” His advice is to become creative and productive, use your strengths to help others and contribute to society as well as the causes you feel strongly about.

Another recommendation is to live life fearlessly. If you want to go on a vacation to a far away paradise, go for it. If you want to take up glass blowing or hiking and you have the agility and stamina by all means give it a try. Retirement isn’t sitting in your easy chair watching TV unless that is what you want it to be. Your path is what makes you happy and what you are physically able to accomplish.

The conclusion is, make your retirement what you want, how you want and relax. This is the start of the newest chapter in your life, make it a great one.

This book was a fast read. It did not provide any new ideas about retirement. Much like the advice of a life coach, Boylan brings to light information that most retirees or those soon to be retired already know. I do not think reading about all the possibilities of retiring he lists speaks to individuals that are questioning his or her plans to retire. It is a personal choice. He is basically saying to keep contributing to society in a way that makes you happy and try new things.

Boylan has written several other self-help books. Each of them focuses on work life, such as making effective presentations, leadership roles and life balance.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Scott Lorenz and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2021 Laura Hartman

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