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

Synopsis: 

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.

Review: 

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

Synopsis: 

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?”

Review: 

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

Synopsis:

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…

Review: 

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.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Random House
Format: Kindle
Pages: 546 pages
Genre: Lit/fiction
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Review: 

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry.

Review: 


Rachel has no idea what she is getting herself into when she agrees to go to Singapore with her boyfriend.  Nick comes from one of the richest families in Singapore, where the rich each try to outdo each other and everything is about what designer you are wearing, how much money you have and who your family is.

The rich can't help flaunting what they have, trying to outdo each other and those less fortunate don't belong and they make sure they know it. While not all of the characters are shallow and shallowly written the majority are making this a tough book for me to wade through, however there was something intriguing about it.  Perhaps it was all the underhanded manipulations that kept me intrigued at the ingenuity of some of this crowd.

There are two more books in this series at this time and I'm not sure if I will read them, but if I want to dive back into the world of couture, private jets, shallow relationships and wicked women I know just where to turn.


Monday, November 27, 2017

ARC Book Review: Story of L by Debra Hyde

Release Date: February 17, 2017
Publisher: Riverdale Ave. Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 252 pages
Genre: LGBT/ Erotica/BDSM
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Synopsis:

Liv called her hunger the Void, a bottomless pit of sexual desperation. She thought she knew it, and herself. Until a night with Cassandra silenced it. And brought out something in Liv she didn’t think possible: submission. One taste of that, and Liv wanted more. But Cassandra isn’t an easy dominant, and her demands aren’t simple. She expects Liv to earn her way into her good graces, too follow her every command and whim. How many hurdles must Liv jump before she can kneel before Cassandra? Before Cassandra will lay claim to her? Just what will it take to become Cassandra’s “L?” And, if Liv achieves it, will the outcome be all she’s hoped for? Find out in a timeless tale, retold.

Review:

This is a modern day Story of O with a Lesbian twist and consent from the submissive. This is a well written bdsm novel that brings you into the world of sex clubs and submission.  This isn't 50 Shades of Grey, the scenes are not watered down for the masses.  But this book isn't just scene after scene there is an actual plot, and quite a few well developed characters.  This is a short book, you can fly through it in a few hours. I wasn't sure what to expect but this book surprised me in both the way it told its story and the sensitive way it treated the bdsm community.




Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

ARC Review: The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson

Release Date: November 4, 2017
Publisher: Greyson Media Assoc
Format: Kindle
Pages: 296 pages
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Buy: Kindle |  Paperback

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered. One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right—but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be—her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer—and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

How can one woman uncover the truth when everyone’s a suspect—including herself?

Review:


Faith gets released from another psychiatric hospital and struggles to adapt to life outside.  Where everyone knows who she is because of her mothers book about the tragic incident that destroyed her life. The only one to survive a brutal attack that left her father, sister, best friend and her best friends mother dead, Faith has struggled with the fact that the police don't seem to take her account of that night serious.  Although she has given them a description of one of the perpetrators they close the case believing it was her father who committed this heinous act.  Faith wants the real murder caught but will he catch up to her first?

This story has twists and turns and you start believing you know who did it and then bam another twist with an ending I didn't see coming. This was a quick thriller that holds your attention and keeps you wondering who is pulling the strings.  Quirky, secretive characters and lots of suspects make this a great book to dive into and get lost for a little while.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced e-copy of this book from the publisher through net galley.com in exchange for an honest review. 





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ARC Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Format: Kindle
Pages: 400pages
Genre: YA/Supernatural/Romance
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover 

Synopsis:

"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."

 Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

Review:

This book held an interesting twist to your typical supernatural story.  I love when authors create their own lore surrounding supernatural creatures.  It makes it all fresh and new again, like discovering them for the first time.

It was nice to read a supernatural romance from the male perspective. Rain Ryland has led a troubled life of living on the streets with his drug addicted mother until she OD's leaving him to discover her twin sister, the truth about his father and the origins of the small town his mother and sister are from.

With strong female characters and an interesting plot this ya book took on a played out topic and made it fresh.  I loved Fred, Rain's love interest who isn't afraid of her own desires and despite her youth and immature ways you can see she is a born leader.  Fred is struggling with the recent death of her father to mysterious circumstances and the pressure of a coming of age right that she isn't sure she wants. Rain and Fred really enhance each other without one needing to bow to the others strength.  It was refreshing.

There are a ton of supporting characters, most of whom you don't see their full strength or personality until the end of the book. The one that stood out the most was Petra who everyone refers to as the "freak". She is a brilliant, mysterious character who I would love to learn more about.  Her personality was so large it was barely contained by this story.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 




Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review: A Game of Ghosts (Charlie Parker 15) by John Connolly

Release Date: July 04, 2017
Publisher: Atria books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 465 pages
Genre: Thriller/Supernatural
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

Synopsis:


It is deep winter and the darkness is unending. A private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished and Charlie Parker is assigned to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found. Eklund is no ordinary investigator—he is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings. Now Parker is drawn into Eklund’s world: a realm in which the monstrous Mother rules a crumbling criminal empire, in which men strike bargains with angels, and in which the innocent and guilty alike are pawns in a game of ghosts...

Review: 


This series just keeps getting better and better. There is always a supernatural twist to these books and this one is no exception.  While tracking down private eye Jaycob Eklund Charlie finds himself in the crosshairs of the Brethren. With the help of his trusted psychopath friends, Louis and Angel Charlie embarks on trying to track down the missing PI who seems to have stumbled upon the origins of the group known as the Brethren. Also tracking them is the Collector whose Hollow Men scare the Brethren. 

Charlie is also dealing with the fallout from the last book when his daughter was abducted from his house but ultimately found safe.  She is a mysterious little creature with a big secret and it seems we may be getting more glimpses into what that may be as the series continues.  I'm not sure she is going to be able to keep hiding her specialness for much longer which will throw a whole new wrench in Charlie's life.

Twisted, terrifying and magical A Game of Ghosts doesn't disappoint but if you haven't read any other books in this series you may want to skip this until you have started more toward the beginning, you will probably be left confused and lost if you start with this installment.


Friday, November 3, 2017

ARC Review: Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover 

Synopsis: 

When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied. 

   With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

Review: 

Vega and Cap make a great team. Vega reminds me a little of Lisbeth Salander from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She is smart gets things done but there is something off about her. She barely sleeps or eats and seems to see things.  Her specialty is finding missing children and she is good at it.  There seems to be a back story surrounding Vega that I would love to delve into at some point.

Cap was a cop who took the fall for a fellow officer.  He has a precocious teenager who seems to admire her father and also helps guide him in his investigations. Cap has a very strained relationship with the local PD and tries to avoid interaction with them.

Every mothers nightmare is to lose her children.  When this happens to Jaime Brandt her life falls apart.  With the help of her Cap and Vega hopefully she will be reunited with her family. This book is well written, the characters sympathetic and realistic. I really loved how this book built in tension.  Starting off a little slow then building to an ending I didn't see coming.

I truly hope this isn't the last we see of Cap and Vega because these two make an entertaining and interesting crime solving duo.




Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher 
through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: Down a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder book 9) by Linda Castillo

Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Minotaur books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Mystery/Amish
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover | Mass Market Paperback


Synopsis:

Two years ago, Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire, putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. But this is personal for Kate. She grew up with Joseph King. As a thirteen year old Amish girl, she’d worshiped the ground he walked on. She never could have imagined the nightmare scenario that becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and takes his five children hostage at their Amish uncle’s farm. Armed and desperate, he has nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate makes contact with King only to find herself trapped with a killer. Or is he? All King asks of her is to help him prove his innocence―and he releases her unharmed. Kate is skeptical, but when the facts and the evidence don’t align, she begins to wonder who she should trust. Spurned by some of her fellow cops, she embarks on her own investigation only to unearth an unspeakable secret―and someone who is willing to commit murder to keep it buried.

Review:

I really like this series, I am rarely disappointed when I read one.  This time Kate finds herself taken hostage by her childhood crush who has escaped from prison after being convicted of killing his wife.  He denies killing her and just wants to be with his kids and hopes Kate will help him prove his innocence.  Hoping that this situation will end well Kate agrees to help and after speaking to one of the children who may have seen the killer things don't seem to be adding up.  As usual Kate starts ruffling feathers and shaking trees that put her in bad situations.

I liked how Castillo brought us back to Kate's childhood to see Joe King through her eyes. Viewing him as a child and the things that may have shaped the man he came to be.  She has an innate ability to really draw you in and make you care about her characters.  Her descriptions of the Amish community and culture is fascinating and really brings a different dimension to the crimes, law enforcement and the ways in which a policeman interacting with the Amish.

Fabulous as always.  I feel this could be a stand alone book but I feel each book builds upon the layers of Kate's personality so you may be missing something by not starting from the beginning.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ARC Review: The Dream Keepers Daughter by Emily Colin

Release Date: July 25, 2017Publisher: Ballantine BooksFormat: KindlePages: 480 PagesGenre: Romance/Time TravelBuy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis: 

Isabel Griffin has done her best to move on since her boyfriend, Max Adair, vanished without a trace eight years ago, leaving her heartbroken—and pregnant. Eerily enough, this isn’t the first time someone Isabel loves has gone missing. When she was sixteen, her mother disappeared, and her father became obsessed with finding his long-lost wife—at the expense of parenting Isabel.

Determined not to repeat her father’s mistakes, Isabel works hard to become a respected archaeologist and a loving mother to her daughter, Finn, a little girl with very unusual abilities. But while Isabel is on a dig in Barbados, she receives a disturbing phone call. The hauntingly familiar voice on the other end speaks just four words—“Isabel. Keep her safe.”—before they’re disconnected.

Isabel tries to convince herself that the caller can’t possibly be Max. But what if it is, and Finn is in danger? As one mysterious event after another occurs, she can’t shake the feeling that, despite what everyone else believes, Finn’s father is alive—and he’s desperately trying to reach her.

Review: 

I'm not sure why this book didn't get better reviews but I really enjoyed it.  I loved the time slip and the star crossed lovers aspect of the book but instead of being your usual romance this one had a bit of a twist that was more realistic and I like that.  While I understand some people feeling let down with where the author took this book (I too felt that for a fleeting moment) I then realized why.  It makes more sense! In a book that has things that suspend your disbelief I was happy to see she grounded it.

This is a book of tragedy, loss, coping and how people handle the shitty and sometimes strange hands they are dealt.  Max didn't want to travel back in time but he did the best he could in the time and place he was in and made a difference.  Isabel studies the past and has dealt with the loss of her mother and her boyfriend to strange circumstances. Finn is a shining beam of light through the story the thread that ties everyone together. I wanted more of her and wanted to explore her gift a little more but that wasn't the point of this story.

This was a good mystery, a good romance and an interesting glimpse into a little known piece of history.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Audio Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Release Date: August 16, 2011
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 15 hours 46 minutes
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Format: Audio
Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Audio 

Synopsis: 

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?


Review: 


I just saw the movie preview for this book the other day and I have to say I wasn't impressed.  I hope that its better than the preview makes it out to be.  This was an amazing book.  I wasn't sure what to expect although I heard good things about it.  Wade lives most of his life inside a virtual word called the Oasis.  The maker of the Oasis, Halliday built an easter egg into it for anyone to find but the winner takes all...meaning his money, the Oasis everything.  Its been a race for the egg since Halliday died and while most people have given up a select few have continued the quest.

This book was like Willy Wonka set in the 80's. For me it was a trip down memory lane of video games, pop culture, and 80's music.  Cline brilliantly combined all of this in an action packed search for the key to the ultimate prize.  While others want it in order to control the Oasis, and thus the world, Wade just wants to get out of his crappy life.  Winning the ultimate prize is a like a pipe dream that keeps him going.

Wade lives through his avatar instead of living in the real world. Sort of like people do now who hide behind their facebook persona's or gaming avatars. It seems our world is not so far from from Wades. Where school is virtual, kids hang out in virtual dens and spend most of their time online instead of in the real world.

Wil Wheaton's narration is brilliant and takes you deep inside the Oasis.  Listening to this book through headphones made me feel like I was living inside my own made up world, an Oasis of my own. Brilliantly done. So glad I decided to listen instead of read it.






Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ARC Review: Snow by Mike Bond

Release Date: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Mandevilla press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 253 Pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis: 

Two hunters and their guide find a crashed plane full of cocaine in the Montana wilderness. Each has a reason to steal the cocaine – who will? Two take it, and soon the Mexican drug cartel, the DEA, Las Vegas killers, and the police of several states are hunting them down.
Zack, a former NFL star now a TV sports icon, has nasty friends in Vegas to whom he owes two million dollars. Steve, a Wall Street broker, has just lost all of his and Zack’s investments in a banking securities crash. Curt, their guide, a half-Cheyenne mountain man, is trying to save his ranch from an energy company takeover.
Zack is in love with two women, one from his days of cocaine and the NFL, the other a doctor who wants to save him from his past. Steve has wife and two kids he loves in Manhattan, a house full of debts and no way out. Curt guides them to make money, but wants to get back to his wife and save his ranch.
Diego is an executioner for the cocaine cartel. MarĂ­a Christina, a Harvard grad and Yale MBA, runs the cartel. Whitney Castro is a black girl from the Denver slums, now a brilliant DEA agent. Kenny Stauffenberg is an easy-going Montana sheriff who never gives up a hunt.

Review:


Zack a former NFL player, and his buddy Steve a stockbroker are off on their yearly hunt in the Montana.  While trudging through the snow they find a crashed plane full of cocaine.  Both are in serious debt and don't see a way out other than this plane and its promise of millions, like the answer to a dream fallen from the sky.  The problem is that these two are the worst thieves, leaving a trail of evidence and bread crumbs as they travel back and forth from Denver, Vegas, and New York with the DEA, and a hit man for the Mexican cartel whose drugs were stolen following them.

The book centers around Zack, Steve, hit man Diego, and the Cheyenne guide, Curt, whose truck Zack and Steve steal to move the coke. Their stories weave in and out as they make one stupid decision after the other. Zack is reckless, Steve seems devoted to his family but seems more in love with the almighty dollar. Diego is in love with his boss and hopes that one day she will be his. Curt is losing his farm if he can't come up with the money for his loan.

This book is fast paced and jumps the shark at many a turn but it is entertaining with an underlying theme of "money isn't everything." All the players in this book have a lesson to learn but can they learn them before its too late? This book is pure adrenaline, everyone is one step away from getting caught, cashing out or dying. Easily devoured in one sitting this is a thrill ride from moment one.



Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review: The Beginners Guide to Lyme Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment Made Simple by Nicola McFadzean, ND

Release Date: October 10, 2012
Publisher: Biomed publishing group
Format: paperback
Pages: 362 Pages
Genre: Health/Diseases/Medical
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis: 

CNN has reported that the number of Lyme disease cases in the United States has doubled since 1991. Caused by spiral-shaped bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. The disease is also typically accompanied by many related problems, including co-infections by other kinds of microorganisms, hormonal dysfunction, immune system dysregulation, and other related issues.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recognize Lyme disease as the fastest spreading vector-borne disease in the country, yet most practitioners of mainstream medicine are decades behind in recognizing and addressing this emerging health crisis. This comprehensive book is the first book of its kind to approach Lyme disease from the perspective of "beginners"—those doctors, patients and caregivers who are new to the topic of diagnosing and treating Lyme disease

Review: 


I was just recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease and picked this book up immediately to try to familiarize myself with the disease, symptoms, co-infections and treatments.  What I found was a comprehensive, easy to read and follow book that is a great place to start for anyone who is newly diagnosed. 

Unfortunately being diagnosed with Lyme is not the final diagnosis, in most cases if you have tested positive for Lyme you should then be tested for the co-infections that are often found in people who have Lyme. Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia and Rickettsia all come with their own symptoms and struggles making Lyme a multi-faceted disease to try to treat. 

There is a lot of technical jargon in certain chapters that I skimmed through but its good to have as a reference such as the different tests that are given to verify lyme, which are not all created equal. There is a lot of information on treatment protocols including holistic protocols. 

This is a great place to start but I'm not stopping here. 




Wednesday, October 4, 2017

ARC Review: Hide and Seek (a Detective Helen Grace Thriller) by MJ Arlidge

Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 Pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis: 

Framed for a murder she didn’t commit...

As one of HM Prison Holloway’s most high-profile new inmates, Helen Grace has a target on her back and nowhere to hide. She has made a long list of enemies over the course of her career—some are incarcerated within these very walls. When one of Helen’s fellow prisoners is found mutilated and murdered in her own locked cell, it’s clear that the killer is someone on the inside.

But time is running out for Helen as she races to expose the person who framed her, and the body count in the prison starts to climb. Helen will need to draw on all her investigative skills and instincts to catch the serial killer behind these murders and discover the truth—unless the killer finds her first.

Review:


I really enjoy these books and the characters.  If you didn't read the book prior to this you will definitely find yourself lost when trying to read this one.  Helen was framed for murder and is now in prison awaiting trial.  Being a police officer in prison is not an easy road and Helen finds herself a target of inmates and guards alike.  Helen's partner Charlie has never given up on her and knows she has been framed and who did it, the struggle is to find him and prove it despite what her superiors want.

While in prison women start being murdered and Helen can't help her detective instincts and need to investigate and solve this crime.  Walking a thin line between inmate and detective Helen is desperate to find the killer before they can strike again.

This was definitely an interesting mystery and I followed Helen down the same paths of thought which was fun since I'm usually several steps ahead. Fast paced and a great addition to this fantastic series that just seems to get better.


Disclaimer: I receive this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 386 Pages
Genre: fiction
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover 

Synopsis: 

The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct—with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence— is it possible?—Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

Review: 

I'm really not sure if I liked this book or not.  George Woodbury, the hero of the town is arrested and charged with sexual misconduct with a few female students at his daughters school. But this isn't a book about George its a book about the rest of the Woodbury family and how they deal with what is happening in their world.

I really struggled with a lot of the characters actions. I would think that the family of a man who has always shown up as an upstanding guy would aggressively defend him unless faced with actual evidence of wrong doing. But Sadie and Joan seem to not really believe him but also flip flop on it, while a lot of the town is behind him. I understand that there would be some flip flopping but I would think that at least in the very beginning they would all pull together and fight this but instead its like things just happen to them.  They seem to take on that victim role and not ever really leave it. I saw some backbone growing midway through the book when one of the characters starts to get angry and take a stand but it quickly dwindled.  This is the kind of case that pits people against each other, they take sides but it seemed like no one wanted to take a stand in this case, the only angry people seemed to be Andrew and the few townspeople that weren't backing George.

Sadies brother, Andrew lives in NYC with his partner, has a love hate relationship with his home town where being a gay teen was not always easy.  When he was in high school he had an affair with one of his teachers but no one in the book seems to think this is wrong which I just don't understand. In fact I think that would cause even more chaos in this town then what is going on with George. A homophobic town learning that a male teacher and male student were sleeping together? The town would have blown up. the school would have been under major scrutiny with two teachers being accused of misconduct but no it doesn't seem to be a big deal. 

Andrew, who is an attorney does try to help his father I never really got a sense of their relationship. Andrew just seems lost and adrift, his family torn apart but ultimately I wonder if what happened when he was a teen isn't still effecting him into adulthood just as Whittall alludes to what happened to another young girl and an older man effecting her life as an adult.

So while there were a lot of interesting pieces to this book I just didn't feel it had the energy or the passion I see surrounding these cases. There were loose ends and pieces that didn't fit.  It sort of fell flat for me and the epilogue while it tied things up, it was a little too neat.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 



Thursday, September 21, 2017

ARC Review: The Visitors by Catherine Burns

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 304 Pages
Genre: Mystery/thriller/suspense
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover 


Synopsis: 

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible.

Review:

It took me a few days before I was ready to write this review.  What a twisted and creepy tale.  I had so many feelings after I read this book.  I wasn't sure whether to cheer or cry instead I think I was just stuck somewhere in between.

Burns has written a truly riveting mystery.  I breezed through this book feeling sorry for Marion who is in her 50's overweight and lives with her overbearing brother.  They live in their crumbling family home which has become a hoarders paradise. John spends most of his time in the basement, entertaining their "visitors" which Marion turns a blind eye to. We don't really learn much about this until the end other than Marion is troubled by them and is scared to go to the basement.  In fact she lives in constant fear of John. It isn't until a tragedy strikes John that Marion seems to get some strength to change her life.

It was fascinating watching events unfold from the point of view of Marion, who has an almost child-like quality.  Her mother and John have convinced her she is stupid and useless and so she believes it. Its amazing what you can deny but do we really know everything there is to know about Marion? Burns peels back the layers in this creepy character study ending in a stunning conclusion.

This is not a faced paced, kill or be killed race to the finish it is a methodical study of a woman who has been controlled and manipulated her whole life but those around her and then finally finding her strength to break free.  This family is twisted and nuts and thats what makes it all so fascinating.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

ARC Book Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle
Pages: 386 Pages
Genre: Sci/fi fantasy YA
Buy: Kindle Hardcover 

Synopsis: 

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.



Review: 

I was so excited after reading this book.  Finally publishing has caught on to the concept of diversity. There are characters of all different races and the main character is an African American boy named Emmett.

Reintgen has written a fabulous book.  I was drawn in immediately. This book starts out strong and gets stronger and stronger.  I couldn't put it down and the ending! Omg. When Emmett and the others are recruited by Babel Corp to go to Eden they had no idea what they were in for.  Babel Corp is not all that it seems and is definitely hiding things.

Emmett and the others are pitted against each other in a form of the Hunger Games and the strangeness of Nyxia.  They are trained to fight, to mine and control Nyxia. They learn about Eden and the people who live there but all for what purpose? The unknown motives of Babel corp remind me of the movie Avatar. Is Nyxia special to the people of Eden?  What is Babel really doing on Eden? What are the people of Eden like? So many questions! I hope book 2 doesn't take too long to come out.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 



Monday, September 4, 2017

ARC Review: Murder Under the Fig Tree: A Palestine Mystery by Kate Jessica Raphael

Release Date: September 19 2017
Publisher: She Writes Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 320 Pages
Genre: mystery/lgbt
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis:

Hamas has taken power in Palestine, and the Israeli government is rounding up threats. When Palestinian policewoman Rania Bakara finds herself thrown in prison, though she has never been part of Hamas, her friend Chloe flies in from San Francisco to get her out. Chloe begs an Israeli policeman named Benny for help—and Benny offers Rania a way out: investigate the death of a young man in a village near her own. The young man’s neighbors believe the Israeli army killed him; Benny believes his death might not have been so honorable.

Initially, Rania refuses; she has no interest in helping the Israelis. But she is released anyway, and returns home to find herself without a job and suspected of being a traitor. Searching for redemption, she launches an investigation into the young man’s death that draws her into a Palestinian gay scene she never knew existed.

With Chloe and her Palestinian Australian lover as guides, Rania explores a Jerusalem gay bar, meets with a lesbian support group, and plunges deep into the victim’s world, forcing her to question her beliefs about love, justice, and cultural identity.

Review:

This is the second book in the Palestine Mystery series but the first one I read.  I definitely felt like I had missed something by not reading the first.  At the beginning Rania is imprisoned by Israel for something that happened in book 1 - we never quite figure out what that is.  Once she is released she is manipulated into solving the murder of a young gay Palestinian man who was said to be killed by an Israeli soldier.

This book is very political on many levels and a little difficult to follow if you aren't very familiar with the politics of this area.  Raphael's political views are very clear in her writing and she doesn't hold back her contempt for the Israeli government or military. I wish she had focused a little more on the Palestinian LGBT advocates and gay culture in a place where being gay is a death sentence, instead of the settlements and checkpoints although I know writing a book set in this part of the world can't eliminate this all together.  It almost felt like the mystery got lost in the politics.

There are many layers to the mystery due to the secretive and hidden nature of most lgbt people in Palestine.  I almost missed the big reveal of who murdered Daoud. It seemed almost anticlimactic and more of a side note.

This is a good mystery but too heavily bogged down with Palestine vs Israel politics. The author did an admirable job on touching on the Palestinian lgbt ignorance and intolerance but it still could have been more.  I really wanted to like this book.  I loved Rania the tough, female detective trying to balance her family and career in a very patriarchal society and culture but even with that it had a hard time keeping my interest.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced e-galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

ARC Review: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Kindle
Pages: 369 Pages
Genre: mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover

Synopsis: 

As morning dawns in a sleepy Colorado suburb, a dusting of snow covers high school freshman Lucinda Hayes’s dead body on a playground carousel. As accusations quickly spread, Lucinda’s tragic death draws three outsiders from the shadows.

Oddball Cameron Whitley loved—still loves—Lucinda. Though they’ve hardly ever spoken, and any sensible onlooker would call him Lucinda’s stalker, Cameron is convinced that he knows her better than anyone. Completely untethered by the news of her death, Cameron’s erratic behavior provides the town ample reason to suspect that he’s the killer.

Jade Dixon-Burns hates Lucinda. Lucinda took everything from Jade: her babysitting job, and her best friend. The worst part was Lucinda’s blissful ignorance to the damage she’d wrought.

Officer Russ Fletcher doesn’t know Lucinda, but he knows the kid everyone is talking about, the boy who may have killed her. Cameron Whitley is his ex-partner’s son. Now Russ must take a painful journey through the past to solve Lucinda’s murder and keep a promise he made long ago.

Review:


This book is a slow character study along with a mystery.  Cameron is a bit of an odd kid, I feel that he may have Asperger but it is never stated.  He doesn't look people in the eye, and just seems off. Jade is abused by her mom, has bad skin and very angry, but she seems to understand Cameron. Russ is a cop who was Cameron's dad's partner before his dad was charged in a crime and fled the area (which took forever to find out and doesn't matter much). Russ doesn't really seem to like his job and although he seemed in love with his wife I got the feeling he didn't love her culture.

Well written this story slowly unfolds through 3 different perspectives and while the writing was really beautiful it dragged a little for me.  I read some reviews that they felt that the reveal of who killed Lucinda was too quick and there was no reason but I found that there was compelling reason and liked the twist of who committed the crime.  I also really appreciated the several chapters after the killer is revealed which helped tie things up with the characters and show what happens after mystery is solved which is something most crime stories leave out.

This is a really well written, interesting mystery by a new author who I am looking forward to reading in the future.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

New People by Danzy Senna

Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 239 Pages
Genre: dystopian fiction
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 


Synopsis: 

As the twentieth century draws to a close, Maria is at the start of a life she never thought possible. She and Khalil, her college sweetheart, are planning their wedding. They are the perfect couple, "King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom." Their skin is the same shade of beige. They live together in a black bohemian enclave in Brooklyn, where Khalil is riding the wave of the first dot-com boom and Maria is plugging away at her dissertation, on the Jonestown massacre. They've even landed a starring role in a documentary about "new people" like them, who are blurring the old boundaries as a brave new era dawns. Everything Maria knows she should want lies before her--yet she can't stop daydreaming about another man, a poet she barely knows. As fantasy escalates to fixation, it dredges up secrets from the past and threatens to unravel not only Maria's perfect new life but her very persona.

Review: 


Did you every feel like you were reading an entirely different book than the rest of the people who have reviewed it? That's how I feel about this book.  I had a really hard time getting into this book and then about a hundred pages in I just didn't care.  I didn't like Maria, there were parts that just weren't believable and I just found myself wanting it to end.  I haven't read any of Senna's other books but they have all gotten rave reviews from different news publications.  I felt the same way about Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides I hated it but the reviews were stellar and the praise non-stop I almost felt like I had to like it. I feel the same way about this book.

Maria was just not likeable and while some of the talk about race and multi-racial identity was on point the overall feel of the book was just dreary.  I found my mind wandering, and had a really hard time relating to any of the characters.  Other than Maria I found the characters one dimensional and Maria was just not very likeable.

When I read the synopsis of this book I was excited to read it but the story just fell flat and left me wanting.




Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ARC Review: Bring Her Home by David Bell

Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Kindle
Pages: 464 Pages
Genre: Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family...

Review:

There is a whole lot going on in this book. Two girls are found in the park both badly beaten and almost unrecognizable.  One is barely alive.  Who could have done this? There are a few suspects but none of them seem to be panning out and Bill is frantic for answers.  With a bad temper Bill starts lashing out at everyone, his daughters friends, his neighbor, his sister.  Someone in this small town knows something they just need to find one thread to help them start to unravel the mystery.

There are many twists and turns some you see coming others not so much.  I had a few issues with this book.  There were several major plot lines like the big reveal before Part 2 that I felt jumped the shark.  I felt like I was watching a bad made for TV movie.  I also had a difficult time with Bill.  He was too volatile.  For a character that was as broken as he was in the beginning of this book he flew off in too many directions that seemed out of character.  This is a man who was still deep in mourning for his wife who had died a year ago and now he gets the call every parent dreads that his daughter is in the hospital.  His life just goes downhill from there and I just had a hard time wrapping my head around his actions coming from this same broken character.  Sitting in his daughters room half comatose would seem more in line with the man who hadn't bothered to move any of his wife's clothing, kept her cell phone turned on and charged and replayed her voicemails on the computer all the time, not running around town threatening people.

I really wanted to like this book.  The synopsis made me eager to read it, the cover is beautiful but there were parts of the story that just fell flat for me, that left me wanting. I kept waiting for it to get better and there were times that it did but I think that the main character just ruined it for me.  I had a hard time liking him or feeling connected to him in any way.

I've heard Bell's other books were spectacular.  I'm bummed this wasn't one of them.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Audio Book: Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Release Date: June 19, 2014
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audible
Length: 17 hrs 22 min
Narrator: Robert Glenister
Buy: Audible | Paperback | Kindle

Synopsis:

Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the number-one international best seller The Cuckoo's Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives - meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...

Review:


This is a good detective series written by JK Rowling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. I listened to The Cuckoo's Calling before realizing that these were written by the Harry Potter author and I loved it.  I like Silkworm as well although not quite as much as the first one.  I felt that this book was a little harder to follow with too many characters and suspects that I tended to get a little lost.

The first half of the book was a little slow in building but once Cormoran gets ahold of Quine's unpublished book Bombex Moray, things really start to move along.  Dissecting the different characters in the book and where Quine could be.

The tension between Robin and Strike grows in this book.  Robin wants Cormoran to teach her to be a private detective despite her Fiances objections. Cormoran wants to help Robin but is hesitant to get between Robin and her Fiance.  Cormoran is also suffering with prosthetic which got a little annoying.  It seemed like every 10 minutes he was bellowing about the pain.

Silkworm is filled with odd characters in the publishing world whose only goal seems to be, to see their words in print. They are all very eclectic, volatile, and almost all had reason to "help" Quine disappear.

I really enjoyed Robert Glenister's reading of this book.  I often felt that there were actually more than one actor reading instead of just the one I got so lost in his voices and ability to switch his accents and voice.


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