Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: Lady of Sherwood (Outlaws of Sherwood Book 1) by Molly Bilinski

Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback


Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn't the only thing she wants—she wants revenge.
As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin's choices begin to haunt her. She'll have to choose between what's lawful and what her conscience believes is right—all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.


This is a unique retelling of the Robin Hood tale.  Instead of Robin Hood being male in this book all the main characters are women.  Its an interesting take on the tale and very empowering to young women.

Set in a time when arranged marriages were the norm and women were treated like property this book shines the light on one young woman who holds on to her convictions and her power.  Her father taught her how to Hunt and shoot and her mother desperate to make her into a lady tries to teach her to sew and behave in lady like ways.  After her father dies her mother is desperate to make an advantageous match for her despite Robin's wishes and love of a commoner.  The man she pledges her daughter to is cruel and when he is spurned resorts to deeds that leave Robin running from the hangman.

I really enjoyed this retelling of the famous tale and enjoyed the fact that they were all women. I will be looking out for the other stories in this series.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Review: Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole my Childhood, Made Me Crazy and Almost Killed Me by Ally Hilfiger

Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Center Street
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287 pages
Genre: memoir
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback


Ally was at a breaking point when she woke up in a psych ward at the age of eighteen. She couldn't put a sentence together, let alone take a shower, eat a meal, or pick up a phone. What had gone wrong? In recent years, she had produced a feature film, a popular reality show for a major network, and had acted in an off-Broadway play. But now, Ally was pushed to a psychotic break after struggling since she was seven years old with physical symptoms that no doctor could explain; everything from joint pain, to night sweats, memory loss, nausea, and brain fog. A doctor in the psych ward was finally able to give her the answers her and her family had desperately been searching for, and the diagnosis that all the previous doctors had missed. She learned that she had Lyme disease-and finally had a breakthrough.

What she didn't know was that this diagnosis would lead her down some of the most excruciating years of her life before beginning her journey to recovery from eleven years of misdiagnosis and physical pain. She would need to find her courage to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally, and become the survivor she is today.


Ever since being diagnosed with Lyme a few months ago I've struggled with getting people to understand the ups and downs of Lyme and how it effects me.  I would cry while reading this book because I finally felt validated.  I felt like finally someone "got it". The achy joints that make me feel like I'm 90 when I stand up, the days I feel great and can do a million things and the days I can barely crawl out of bed. This book is the greatest gift to people suffering from Lyme and their families.  Allys story is tragic since it took so long for someone to actually figure it out but she is not the only one.  There are plenty of people out there today whose doctors or families aren't listening or they didn't have a bullseye rash so they couldn't have lyme. This disease is debilitating and horrible and the treatment whether you go traditional or herbal suck and for me one didn't cut it so I am on a combination of antibiotics and herbs. But treatment for this disease is a long marathon toward feeling better not a sprint.  Its not oh take this and you will feel better, the parasites that cause this disease are smart, and resiliant.

I can't recommend this book enough. It is easy to read, and is honest. Even though she comes from a very wealthy family, with lots of advantages she still was unable to get an accurate diagnosis and then when she finally did it took a lot to get her to where she is today.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Review: Alligator Candy: A memoir by David Kushner

Release Date: February 17, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Pages: 343 pages
Genre: memoir
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback


David Kushner grew up in the suburbs of Florida in the early 1970s, running wild with his friends, exploring, riding bikes, and disappearing into the nearby woods for hours at a time. One morning in 1973, however, everything changed when David’s older brother Jon took a short bike trip to the local convenience store. He never returned. Alligator Candy is the story of Jon’s murder at the hands of two sadistic drifters, and everything that happened after.

Jon’s death was one of the first in what turned out to be a rash of child abductions and murders that dominated headlines for much of the 1970s and 80s. It was around this the time that milk cartons began to feature the images of missing children, and newscasters began asking, “It’s 10:00, do you know where you children are?”


David was really young when his brother was abducted and killed.  While his parents tried to shield him from what happened it changed his life and effected him in ways that he wasn't even aware of until much later in life. His parents did an amazing job of moving past their pain and helping their other children to live as normal a life as possible but they missed opportunities to help their kids heal. They didn't stifle them but allowed them to soar. However, their attempt to shelter their children from the details of what happened to their brother ultimately left them with big gaps with only rumors and misinformation to fill them. As an adult David, his brother and his mother go through Jons life up through that day.  They fill in all the gaps and David uses his investigative tools to find information on the 2 men who changed their family.

This book is a love story to his brother Jon, a testimate to his parents strength and devotion, and the reality of a murder that touch so many and changed so many lives.  You truly see the ripples in the pond after reading this book.  Jons death didn't just affect their family but so many others as well.

Well written and not too heavy despite the subject, not too graphic although there is a fairly graphic description of the Jons death in one part which if your squeamish you may want to skip over.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Release Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Scout Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback


In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…


This was a great whodunit. Lo Blacklock has just had the scare of her life and is excited to get away from reality to travel on a luxury cruise for her travel magazine. She hasn't slept in days and really just needs to get away from the crazy that is her life.

The cruise ship is a small intimate ship that only has 10 cabins, and all starts out great until the first night when after a fabulous dinner and a lot of drinks Lo stumbles back to her cabin hoping to get some much needed rest when she is awoken by a scream.  This brings back the episode that happened to her right before she left leaving her shaken.  After hearing a splash she rushes to her balcony only to see something floating in the water and what looks like blood on the next door railing.  Convincing someone of what she saw proves harder than she thought and her paranoia and drinking aren't helping her case.  But someone is worried and keeps trying to warn her off.

Filled with twists and turns and little teasers at the end of each section that lead us down a dark path of what really happened on the boat. Interesting characters and a story line that really kept me interested and turning pages.  This isn't great literature but its great fun. I think they had it right when they compare this book to Agatha Christie it definitely had that feel in a more modern package.

Very well done.

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