Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review: The Search For Dixie Lee

Title: The Search for Dixie Lee by Sharolyn L. Sievert
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 116 pages
Format: Paperback
Genre: Adoption search

Synopsis: Sharon Bette Koepp had been raised by strict, religious parents. Arnold Koepp was an elder in the church; Mamie was the organist and choir director. Life revolved around not doing anything that would make the neighbors talk. Who was to know that during the Search for Dixie Lee, Sharon would find a family that had everyone talking? The Search for Dixie Lee is a true story; taken not from the front page headlines, but from scraps of paper, family stories, old letters, and of course, the court records. It could be the story of anyone, your own mother or father, perhaps even yourself.

(30) Review: Written for her mother Sharolyn Sievert researches the past to find her mothers birth family.  What she finds is a story of a birth mother trying to keep her family together, and a system that was more interested in taking it apart than helping them stay together.  Sharon (Dixie Lee) and her sister were placed in an orphanage by the court system stating that they were the youngest and therefore the most likely to find a new home.  Sharon's birth mother didn't want to lose her children but with 6 young children a missing husband and no money it was easier to give in than to fight.

Sharon's adoption wasn't ideal, her parents cared for her but were strict, religious and not very warm and loving.  When she was older, like most adoptee's Sharon searched for her past and in doing so uncovered some shady dealings within the courts, and a whole posse of siblings that she had longed for as she grew up an only child.

Sharing court documents and old family photos this book takes you on a journey that was Sharon's life. In the end she discovers her siblings and her family, most of who remember her and had lost hope of ever reconnecting.  While a little faith based and preachy in places for me it is an interesting story of searching for your roots and discovering family.  Unfortunately it doesn't paint a very nice picture of adoption but unfortunately there were many such stories as this from that era, luckily adoption has since changed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: Disorganized Crime: A Kat Makris Greek Mafia Novel

A Kat Makris Greek Mafia novel - black comedy
Title: Disorganized Crime: A Kat Makris Greek Mafia Novel by Alex A King
Publisher: Citizen A Press
Format: e-book received for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 345 pages
Genre: black comedy, mystery

Synopsis: Kat Makris was just a kid when her father spun wild and gruesome bedtime stories about Baboulas, the Greek boogeyman, a fearsome creature with a penchant for stealing gold and clashing with the gods. Now Kat is twenty-eight, single, an only child halfway to orphaned, and her father's weirdo fairytales lie crumpled at the bottom of her childhood closet, in the house where she still lives. But when her father is abducted by men with crooked noses, she discovers his old stories were true—true crime, that is. What does Kat know about crime? Nothing, that's what. Her only transgression, to date, is underage drinking. Even her driving record is pristine. Her couch-to-cubicle existence shattered by his kidnapping, and the discovery of his secret and deadly past as a mobster for the Greek mafia, Kat is determined to find her father, even if it means forming an unholy and felonious alliance with Greece's boogeyman …

(29)Review: What a fun book! This book reminds me of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series or the Claire McNab Kylie Kendall series, part mystery part comedy.  Kat learns that her family is part of the Greek Mafia, and her grandmother runs the show.  Filled with unforgettable characters this book takes you on a wild ride to find Kat's father.

From crazy, obsessive ex girlfriends, henchmen who like to blow things up, a wordless bodyguard, a Grandmother who runs the family from her kitchen while making some delectable Greek meals, to the goat that shows up to eat the flowers and the gorgeous police officer who isn't sure if he should deport Kat, keep her close or seduce her,  this book is nothing but fun.

I didn't have any expectations of this book but it looked interested when I requested a copy from the publisher, but I found that I couldn't put it down. Apparently there is a 2nd book that just came out and I am downloading it immediately! If you are looking for a fun summer read, look no further. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Audio Book Review: Legacies: A Repairman Jack Novel

Book 2 in the Repairman Jack series
Title: Legacies: A Repairman Jack Novel by F. Paul Wilson
Series: Repairman Jack Book 2
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audio book
Narrator: Christopher Price
Length: 12 hours 29 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: Repairman Jack isn’t your average appliance repairman - he fixes situations for people, often risking his own life. Jack has no last name, no social security number, works only for cash, and has no qualms when it comes to seeing that the job gets done.

Dr. Alicia Clayton, a pediatrician who treats children with AIDS, is full of secrets, and she has just inherited a house that holds another. Haunted by painful memories, Alicia wants the house destroyed - but somehow everyone she enlists to help ends up violently killed. The house holds a powerful secret, and Alicia’s charmless brother Thomas seems willing to do anything to get his hands on that secret himself.

But not if Repairman Jack can find it first!

(28) Review: This is the 2nd repairman Jack novel I've listened to with a different narrator.  At first I wasn't sure I liked this narrator but he soon grew on me and I really started to like his interpretation of the characters.

In this book Jack's humanity shines through.  His girlfriend Gia introduces him to a house that helps children with AIDS and he finds his aversion to AIDS and those with it dwindling as he gets to know the children.  He also meets Dr. Alicia Clayton and winds up helping her with a problem she seems to be having.

With themes of drug addicted and abandoned children, children whose parents don't care or want them and those adults whose parents had once used and abused them this book had the feel of an Andrew Vachss novel.  Jack becomes the savior of many and his disgust of child abuse and his love of Vicki, Gia's daughter, shine throughout the book.

There is another character that plays in this book a mysterious Japanese man who is tailing some principle players in the book, his take on Jack and Jack's character were very intriguing to me as he called him a Ronin and a warrior.  The definition really seems to fit Jack and I'm starting to enjoy this series more and more. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Audio Book Review: Leaving Time

Title: Leaving Time Jodi Picoult
Publisher:Random House Audio
Length:15 hours 11 minutes
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, Mark Deakins
Format: Audible Audio book

Synopsis: For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.

(28)Review: The way this book was written reminded me of Picoult's book Lone Wolf: A Novel in the way she shares how animals, Wolves, in Lone Wolf and Elephants in this novel interact to shed light on human behavior, better yet how animals seem to be more compassionate than humans.

I loved this book, The narrators really brought it to life and it felt more like a play than a book. Weaving together stories told by Jenna who is desperate to figure out what happened to her mother, Serenity who is struggling with losing her psychic gifts but feels that helping Jenna might bring them back, Virgil who has lost hope in life and whose life seems to have gone downhill ever since he worked on the tragic accident at the elephant sanctuary, and last but not least Alice tells her story from when she first met Jenna's father until she disappears.

The story is hypnotizing and I couldn't stop listening.  I felt like Jenna desperate to find out what happened to Alice. The ending shocked me to my core, and was not at all what I was expecting but I won't spoil it for you.  Once again Picoult didn't disappoint and has written a fabulous unexpected and heart wrenching book.  This is definitely a book that is going to stay with me for a while.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

ARC Review: Blackout

Title: Blackout (Lost Girls) by Chris Myers
Publisher: CreatSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages:288 pages
Format: Paperback
Genre: thriller/romance

This book was released on April 18, 2015 

Synopsis:No restraining order will stop Dare from protecting Teal.

The blackouts started happening when Teal was eight. There are long periods of her youth she doesn't remember. She has woken up in strange places, feeling disoriented and unaware of how long she's been out. After two years abroad attending a private school and sessions with a top-notch psychiatrist, she's been deemed cured. The blackouts have ceased, or so Teal thought, until she wakes up in a ditch back home in North Carolina.

Dare, the man pulling her broken body from the wreckage, has a restraining order against him. He’s no longer the clean-cut boy she went frog gigging with but road-hardened. His lean, muscular arms, riddled with tats, drag her out of the SUV. She should fear him, but instead, his touch sparks memories that tell her she once worshiped him with all her heart.

(27)Review:  Published independently this book could have used an editor or at least a few more eyes before it went to press, there were typos and other issues that may have been caught.

The story itself was really interesting, Teal keeps having blackouts, thinks she is cured until she comes back to North Carolina where the blackouts come back with a vengeance. I think if some of the racy sex scenes and random french words for different body parts were toned down or even eliminated it would have made for a better book. I'm not prudish and I am okay with a good sex scene but these seemed forced.  It also seemed like the author was also trying a bit too hard to capitalize on the whole 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon with some of the story line which really seemed a bit forced and the ending while not what I expected seemed a bit under dramatic.  Lets just say if I found out what she discovers I would be disgusted, angry and seeking justice, but that got kind of brushed to the side.

So how did I like this book? I actually really enjoyed the story, the issues I had with it were mostly easily overlooked. I do wish some of the ending had been more realistic, I'm all for the love story part of it but the horrific crime Teal witnessed just seemed almost inconsequential after she discovers it. So the ending was only partially satisfying. Would I recommend it, yea I think its a great mind candy book and there were plenty of creepy moments.

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