Monday, June 19, 2017

ARC Book Review: Lockdown by Laurie R. King

Release Date; June 13, 2017
Publisher: Bantam
Format: Kindle
Pages: 400
Genre:  Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover

Synopsis:

Career Day at Guadalupe Middle School: A day given to innocent hopes and youthful dreams. A day no one in attendance will ever forget.

A year ago, Principal Linda McDonald arrived at Guadalupe determined to overturn the school’s reputation for truancy, gang violence, and neglect. One of her initiatives is Career Day—bringing together children, teachers, and community presenters in a celebration of the future. But there are some in attendance who reject McDonald’s bright vision.

A principal with a secret. A husband with a murky past. A cop with too many questions. A kid under pressure to prove himself. A girl struggling to escape a mother’s history. A young basketball player with an affection for guns.

Even the school janitor has a story he dare not reveal.

But no one at the gathering anticipates the shocking turn of events that will transform a day of possibilities into an explosive confrontation.

Review:


I've read several of Laurie R. King's other books so I was happy to pick her up again.  I liked how a few of the characters from one of her other series made a guest appearance in this book.

Everyone has secrets.  From the Principal to the Janitor, from the cool kid to the awkward everyone has something they hide.  Learning pieces of everyone's back story in alternating chapters really developed all the characters and made me start questioning what was going to happen.  I was pleasantly surprised it was not at all what I expected but good none the less.

This is not a fast paced book but rather a slow burning build up to its climax.  While I really enjoyed it I can see why others may not have been as engaged.  There are a lot of characters and a lot of things going on in this school. This is a school riddled with crime and now a missing girl. The new Principal comes in to try to clean it up and improve the situation even holding a career day for the kids so they can see the some of their options other than sports.  I think if there were a few less plot lines this may have been a better book.  It wasn't confusing to me but I started to get invested and wanted to know more about certain characters only to have to move on to another before I was really satisfied.  While some may think of this as a good thing I think it held the book back a bit.


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



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

ARC Review: Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Suspense / Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

The only thing more dangerous than a lie...is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay.

The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

Review:


If you haven't listened to Serial or any of the other popular crime podcasts that delve into different crimes you are about to get a first hand look into what they can do. Josie and her twin sister don't speak anymore but after a podcast starts delving into her fathers murder her life gets turned upside down.

This is an interesting mystery with passages from the podcast thrown in here and there.  Poppy Parnell's podcast is a bit more tabloid than the real crime podcasts I've listened to but it worked for the book.  As the issues between Josie and her twin Lanie unfold you start to wonder what happened to Lanie that she took such a different turn.  All of the characters are really well developed with the exception of Poppy who seemed more of a caricature than an actual person.  Every horrible tabloid reporter was rolled into her character leaving her too unrealistic.  I found that I wanted to know more about Josie and Lanies mother who seemed crazy even before all this madness went down.  So I'm sure there would be a good backstory there.

This is Kathleen Barber's first book and it is a hit.  The premise is refreshing and the writing simple and fast paced but the characters well developed.  Overall a very well done read.  I can't wait to see what else comes from this author.



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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Release Date: April 11, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback
Pages: 177 pages
Genre: Self Help/ Spiritual
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people.  But like all humans on the planet, the good folks of Orange Beach have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.
Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up.  An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul.  Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss.  “Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely,” he says.  “Don’t squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever.”
Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.

Review:

Sometimes the best advice is simple. The Noticer is filled with that type of advice.  Be conscious of what you say, what you think and what you do.  Your thoughts become reality.  Plant the seeds of compassion, love and caring in your heart and nurture them, share them and help others in need and live in gratitude.

Andrews has written a book that is very readable and yet filled with simple yet very important wisdom.  The subtitle, sometimes all a person needs is a little perspective is so true.  Often when we step back and look at things from a different angle we realize that things aren't as difficult as they seem.

The writing is very simple, almost childish but sometimes in order to get an important message across we need to use the simplest language.  Some may find that this book has some Christian undertones but was not explicitly any religion and I think that depending on your religion you could put one of your prophets in there as Jones and find that the advice would be the same.

I didn't need a lot of character development since this book is really just a vehicle to plant seeds of a different way to see things in life to help you improve your outlook and your life.


Monday, May 29, 2017

ARC Book Review: The Party by Robyn Harding

Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Scout Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Psychological / Suspense / Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Review:

Teenagers always seem to get themselves into things they have no idea how to get out of.  That being said I thought the plot of this book was very realistic and I could totally see this happening. For decades teenagers have been sneaking booze into parties, boys and getting into situations that could be potentially dangerous.

The relationship between the teenagers and the drive to be part of the "in" crowd was never my thing or my kids thing so its hard for me to relate to it but I have seen it and seen how intimidating it can be for kids who strive to "fit in". So while these relationships seemed superficial and mean I also found them to be realistic.

I hated Kim, her controlling, greedy and superficial holier than thou attitude reminded me of so many of the women in my area.  This need to be perfect and appear to have the perfect life makes me sick. Her judgement of everyone around her and her inability to see her daughter growing up and need to be treated differently made her shallow and aggravating to me. Jeff just seemed like a beaten puppy desperate to be liked.  His wife is overly controlling and the "incident" that ruined her trust in him was not ideal but it wasn't like she caught him in an affair.  I felt she really dragged out the disappointment in him to extremes and it was really based on a whole lot more than just the "incident".

Lisa the mother of one of the girls at the party is another character that was hard to like. She started out as likable and quickly deteriorated into greed and pettiness.  It was another example of taking things to the extreme with no acknowledgement that her daughters behavior contributed to what happened.

Overall this book is worth reading and was well written.


Monday, May 22, 2017

ARC Review: Mean Little People by Paige Dearth

Release Date: April 2, 2017
Publisher: Fiction with Meaning LLC
Format: Kindle
Pages: 504 pages
Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Seven year old Tony has two choices: to live or to die.

Tony Bruno just wants to fit in, but the bullies at his school are cruel and relentless. At home, he leans on his mother Teresa for strength and comfort, but she’s no match for his father, Carmen. His father, a fighter and bully himself, hates Tony. He is embarrassed by the child for not fighting back and wishes that Tony was never born.
Then as a teen, in one act of blind courage, Tony fights back shifting the balance of power with his peers. Even after Tony sets things straight with the neighborhood boys, his father continues to terrorize him.

At school, Tony is now respected by his classmates. One day he stands up for a bullied kid named, Salvatore, and the boys become friends. One night, Salvatore commits a horrific crime and Tony suffers the consequences of his friends’ actions. Tony’s punishment changes the course of his life.

All alone and nowhere to call home, Tony sets out to find the life he longs for, one filled with love and acceptance. But nothing comes easily for him, and he is forced to draw upon strength from deep within to survive.

From the dark world he lives in, Tony does unimaginable things to leave his unwanted life behind.

Review:


This is a dark book.  Tony is bullied at school, bullied at home by his father, winds up in Juvie where horrible things happen to him, lives on the streets and pretty much raises himself. Just when you think things are in an upswing you get the rug pulled out from under you.  It is an emotional roller coaster of a book.

Paige Dearth really takes you on a ride of survival and pain.  Well written this book sucks you in and keeps your attention as you keep routing for Tony to win at this game of life.  Tony's life is violent, from almost getting lynched by a group of bullies to being kicked out of his house, joining a gang and then ultimately finding a home in the mob. As a Philly girl I loved the setting and Dearth really brings South Philly to life, North Philadelphia has changed a bit from the time this book is set but I remember when it was the gang ridden hell hole she describes.

Its been a few days since I finished this book and its still sitting with me.  Tony is one of those characters who will stay with me for a long time.




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


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ARC Review: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Disney - Hyperion
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: YA Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover

Enter to win a kindle copy of this book! 

Synopsis: 

Before Verity . . . there was Julie.
When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she'd imagined won't be exactly what she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather's estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family's employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences firsthand some of the prejudices they've grown used to-a stark contrast to her own upbringing-and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

Review:


Before she was Code Name Verity, she was just Julie, a young carefree girl just turning 16 and home for the summer to enjoy her grandfathers estate one last time before it turns into a school. She gets there a few days ahead of schedule and before letting anyone know she has arrived she decides to go on an adventure. She is attacked from behind and winds up in the hospital with no knowledge of what happened.  She befriends her saviors, two young tinkers whose family has been camping on her grandfathers land for a long time.

This book explores the prejudices surrounding gypsy's, the mystery of Julies attack, missing pearls and an ancient boat wreck that might hold more secrets than anyone knew and the coming of age of a truly adventurous woman. Julies new friends are constantly under suspicion from people around her other than her family.  If something goes missing or wrong they are the first ones people blame.  So when a body is found the police look to Julies new friends.

Wonderfully written, keeps you guessing with all the moving parts and different layers. I loved Julie from Code Name Verity and it is wonderful to connect with her again and see how she became a British Spy during WWII. I can't say enough about this book I was so thrilled to receive an advance copy and was bummed that I only got to it recently. Fabulous book.



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


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ARC Review: Rise & Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: MIRA
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 Pages
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover |


Synopsis:

Moonstone for empathy. Azurite for memories. Lapis lazuli for truth… In the quiet village of Noon Sun, Benedict Stone has settled into a complacent and predictable routine. Business at his jewelry shop has dried up; his marriage is on the rocks. His life is in desperate need of a jump start…

And then a surprise arrives at his door.

Gemma is Benedict's audacious teenage niece—the daughter of his estranged brother, Charlie. The two Stone brothers had a falling out and haven't spoken in almost two decades, since Charlie left for America. Reckless and stubborn, Gemma invites herself into Benedict's world and turns his orderly life upside down. But she might just be exactly what he needs to get his life back on track…

Review: 

This was a really sweet story about what it means to be a family, secrets and living in the moment. When Gemma shows up at Benedict's door his whole life changes and so does that of so many in the town.  This young girl shows them all how to live again, through gemstones and jewelry Gemma and Benedict change the lives around them including their own.

Well written, this book keeps you interested with an underlying mystery about why Gemma is there and if her father really knows she is there.  I found myself routing for Benedict and all the townspeople in their quests to be happy.  With just a little encouragement and maybe a magic gem or two the town springs back to life.

I couldn't put this book down it was infectious in its joy and I found the information on different gemstones fascinating.  A truly enjoyable book.


Friday, May 5, 2017

ARC Book Review: My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson

Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: LGBT/Fantasy/YA
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.

With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.

Review:

Apparently I am on a Cinderella remake ride.  This modern version of the Cinderella story centers around Chris, whose family was down on their luck for a long time, his mother died when he was young and he helped out as his father tried to change their circumstances.  After making a fortune Chris's father meets a new woman and moves them into her brownstone along with her and her two children. After the market crashes taking all of their money and Chris's father, Chris tries to find a place in his new family with his step-mother and siblings.

The rest I'm sure you can guess but either way the addition of Coco Chanel makes this story worth reading.  There is nothing like a snarky drag queen to uplift a story and have you chuckling to yourself.  The dashing prince doesn't find his princesses but rather his prince this time helping bring this story into a modern retelling and makes it accessible to so many lgbt teens who are looking for their dashing prince or princess.

Well written and funny this book holds your attention and is another great retelling of a classic story.


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

Silver Dagger Book Tour Cover Reveal: Once a Charmer (Charmed in Texas #3) by Sharla Lovelace

Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon | Apple | GooglePlay | Kobo | Nook

Synopsis:

Charmed, Texas, is a close-knit small town where people’s dreams of love can come true. That’s
not to say that some people aren’t still waiting, and dreaming . . .

By day, Allie Greene stays busy with her family diner, and keeping tabs on her teenage daughter.
What’s really exhausting Allie, however, are the nights. Not that she minds Bash Anderson unbuttoning her naughty desires—if only in her dreams. But what was he doing there at all? He’s her best friend, and a father figure to her girl. Talk about awkward. Talk about OMG-heat-and-fireworks that are flipping fifteen years of normal upside down. And now, when Allie needs him as a friend more than ever, logic doesn’t stand a chance against his lips and irresistible deep-blue
eyes . . .

Sure, Bash has fantasized about Allie, but there’s no way he’d act on it. She and her daughter are
the closest thing to family he’s ever known. With the exception of one drunken moment fifteen
years ago, he and Allie have stayed on this side of the line—until that impulsive kiss of hers
knocked him on his butt. That’s just one hurdle. Not only does Allie need Bash’s help to save her
diner, but his apiary is in trouble, too. To stir the pot further, they’ve been roped into vying for the
town’s Honey King and Queen contest—a sweet event that’s making them closer than ever.

Something’s bound to come undone. Bash just hopes it’s not the friendship he’s worked so hard
to hold on to.

About the Author

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series. For more about Sharla's books, visit sharlalovelace.com, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @sharlalovelace.
Website * Twitter * Facebook





Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Book Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pages: 514 pages
Genre: Fiction/Dystopian/sci fi
Buy: Paperback | Kindle


Synopsis:

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.


Review: 

It almost feels creepy writing a review on a blog about this book.  This is a scary peek into where we are heading if we don't get a handle on technology.  I could relate to so much of what was in this book and not all of it in a good way.  The need people have for immediate feedback, the strive to be in the top percent of bloggers, posters, reviewers... When does technology become a hindrance to life and not a positive enhancement?

Watching the visit to Philadelphia a few years ago by the Pope you could see the hundreds of clergy holding up their phones video taping the Pope walking into the cathedral to give a sermon - no one was actually fully participating.  Going out to dinner you see few young people talking they are sitting there playing on their phones (I am guilty of this occasionally too) We are starting to live our lives through our screens and not actually living our lives.  Everything is snapped, posted and shared with the world. We are forgetting how to interact.

This book read almost like a cautionary tale. The stress of keeping up with twitter feeds, tumblr, facebook, posts, instagram, snapchat, litsy, google+, blogs, podcasts, can be overwhelming and quite frankly I've given up trying. I catch up when I can but don't feel the pressure to keep up.  I'm interested to see how the movie turns out, if it follows the book or has its own agenda.

So read this book, then go out and enjoy the sunshine, or the snow, or the rain or whatever the weather happens to be doing at the moment. Put your phone down while you have dinner with your family and enjoy some screen free time. You are worth it.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ARC Review: It Started with Goodbye by Christina Joy

Release Date: May 19, 2017
Publisher: Blink
Format: Kindle
Pages: 272 pages
Genre: YA / Fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night, which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client. If Tatum is reading his emails right, her virtual Prince Charming is funny, smart, and talented—and he seems to think the same about her. Too bad he’s spending his summer across the ocean in Ireland…not that Tatum would be allowed to go on a date anyway.

But over the course of the summer, Tatum will learn that sometimes going after what you want means breaking all the rules. And when Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

Review: 


This was a fun read. Its supposed to be a modern take on the Cinderella story but I didn't really catch that until I read it somewhere else.  Navigating family life and still trying to maintain a social life while being on house arrest isn't easy but Tatum seems to achieve it.  Tatum's character was spot on and very realistic, she isn't perfect and she discovers that no one really is, that everyone has flaws and baggage and it is sometimes necessary to look through someone else's eyes at a situation.

Joy really navigates the complexities of a blended family, changing friendships, and young love with ease and insight.  The characters had depth and you could really feel the emotions.  I enjoyed Tatum's stream of consciousness regarding closing valedictions, and the way her playful prince charming would come up with new ones to impress her.  By the end of the book I even had good feelings about Tatum's sister and Step-mother.  Overall this is a great retelling of a classic fairytale.


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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Review: Heels Over Head by Clay G Small

Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 246 pages
Genre: Suspense / fiction
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Henry Lindon is playing a game of tit for tat that he’s about to lose.

​Successful, charming executive Henry Lindon was happily making high-dollar global deals and enjoying the good life in Dallas when his job mysteriously disappears—and with it, his identity. On top of that, he’s sure his beautiful wife is having an affair with some Romeo down in Argentina. While attempting to start a new life teaching law, Lindon is finding his paranoia has got him around the throat and won’t let go.

In class one day, the discussion goes off track from law and libel to tattoos. When a student appears in his office in pink shorts and a crop top and takes the subject of tattoos to a much-too-personal level, Lindon’s at a loss to explain why and worried about ramifications. Discovering he may have the Department of Justice on his back with phony felony charges, he’s reaching his breaking point and nothing’s making sense. Two tattoos, a murder, and an old rivalry are part of a distant game of revenge that’s about to come full circle.

Review: 

Henry and his brother Marvin grew up on a farm causing mischief in their small town along with one of their friends.  It seems that mischief is now coming back to haunt them.   They embarrassed one of the town rich kids and he still hasn't forgotten or forgiven.  Now he is out for revenge. This is an okay mystery as you try to figure out which side will win and if they will catch the perpetrator who seems hell bent on destroying lives.  A few twists and turns and a rather brutal death later Henry comes up with a plan to turn the tables.

This was an okay book, there were several pieces that I felt jumped the shark or were just out of character. Henry was a bit whiny for my taste and then all of a sudden grew a backbone.  There just seemed to be too many "coincidences" for someone to start putting things together. An unnecessary death, I think the author didn't know what to do with this character so it was easier to kill her off then to find a way to fit her into the final plan.

Overall it was an entertaining easy to read, fluff mystery.


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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Silver Dagger Book Tour Cover Reveal: Beginners Luck by Kate Clayborn

Release Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon | Apple  | GooglePlay | Kobo | B&N 

Synopsis:

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all.

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. Being a sudden millionaire doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart . . .

Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it.

What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless

About the Author:

Kate Clayborn lives in Virginia, where she's lucky enough to spend her days reading and talking
about all kinds of great books. At home she's either writing, thinking about writing, or--during long
walks around her fabulous neighborhood—making her handsome husband and sweet-faced dog
listen to her talk about writing.

Website * Twitter * Facebook



Monday, April 17, 2017

Silver Dagger Book Tours Cover Reveal: Desperate Bride by AS Fenichel

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy: Amazon * Apple * GooglePlay * Kobo * B&N

Synopsis: 

An unexpected promise . . . an everlasting passion.

An accomplished musician, Dorothea Flammel has refused more proposals than any London
debutante; her only true love is her music. Dory’s shimmering talent and beauty have long been
adored from afar by Thomas Wheel, an untitled gentleman who can only dream of asking for the
hand of a nobleman’s daughter. But when her father, the insolvent Lord Flammel, arranges for Dory to marry a lecherous Earl in order to pay off a debt, she runs to Thomas—and proposes marriage to him.

Eloping to Scotland saves Dory from a disastrous fate, but what is for her a mere marriage of convenience proves more passionate—and more complex—than either imagined as rumors, scandal, and buried emotions come to light. And when a vengeful challenge from a drunken and embittered Lord Flammel puts Thomas’s life on the line, will the fragile trust between husband and wife be enough to save them both?

About the Author:


A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still
relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful
husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.

Website * Twitter * Facebook



ARC Review: Horace Winter Says Goodbye by Conor Bowman

Release Date: April 6, 2017
Publisher: Hachette Books Ireland
Format: Kindle
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Paperback | Kindle


Synopsis:

Horace Winter has led an unexceptional life. Ever since that long-ago day, when the Very Bad Thing happened, he prefers to spend time with his butterfly and moth book instead of with other human beings - an interest was passed on to him by his father.

But shortly after his retirement from his job as an assistant bank manager, Horace receives some devastating news and is forced to confront the life he has led (or hasn't led). As he does, he meets Amanda. And Max. He gets a man jailed (sort of) and rescues the man's son (sort of). He discovers a letter his father never posted, and sets off on a quest that changes everything.

As Horace begins to let life in, he starts to experience a world which had almost entirely passed him by. Will he discover the man he was meant to be before it's too late?

Review:

I had a rough time reading this book, I'm not sure why, it just was difficult to hold my interest while reading it.  I was sad that Horace Winter's life was so boring and status quo and just when he can finally do anything he wants he gets devastating health news.  What is even worse is that there are so many people just like Horace out there in the world right now living in a little bubble fearing to live life outside of their comfort zones.

Horace compares everyone he meets to a butterfly or a moth, which became a bit distracting however the story of Horaces life and how he finally breaks free of his daily routine and finally spreads his wings is inspiring if not bitter sweet since Horace doesn't have long to appreciate it.  The message in the book is to not let anything hold you back, take chances and things are not always the way you see them.

What Horace accomplishes when he finally leaves his status quo position at the bank is a good lesson for us all to learn.  Don't get complacent, always seek to learn, take a chance now and then, break free of your comfort zone and don't be afraid to enjoy life. Travel, try a new food, help someone in need.


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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Audio Book Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Audible
Narrator: Guy Lockard, Keith Nobbs
Length: 6 hours 35 minutes
Genre: Fiction /Race / Racial Tensions
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Two teens - one black, one white - grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and ultimately the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That's all 16-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad's pleadings that he's stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad's resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad's every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins - a varsity basketball player and Rashad's classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan - and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news, and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team - half of whom are Rashad's best friends - start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Review: 

This is a powerful book that speaks to the violence and racial tension that exists today.  If you ever wondered if black and white kids have the same experiences in High School this story will let you know they don't. Told by Rashad a black high school student and Quinn a white high school student. Quinn witnesses the beating of Rashad by a white cop and struggles to decide what to do with his information.

This is not an easy book or an easy topic but this book tackles it with accuracy and grace. It should be required reading for all students.  This really shines a spotlight on the differences that two boys in similar situations both with dreams and hopes have to deal with. This book helps to challenge us on our biases and really shows white privilege.  Do we judge people on the way they look? On how they dress? Change Rashad's religion to Muslim would it make a difference? What if the cop was black? This book definitely makes you think and would be great to start a conversation on race.

The narrators really gave these two kids life.  They were perfect and I found myself lost in the story.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Audio Book Review: A Death In Sweden by Kevin Wignall

Release Date: January 1, 2016
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audible
Length: 7 hours 59 minutes
Narrator: Will Damron
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Dan Hendricks is a man in need of a lifeline. A former CIA operative, he is now an agent for hire by foreign powers on the hunt for dangerous fugitives. It's a lethal world at the best of times, and Dan knows his number is almost up. His next job could be his last - and his next job is his biggest yet.
The target sounds traceable enough: Jacques Fillon, who gave up his life trying to save a fellow passenger following a bus crash in northern Sweden. But the man was something of an enigma in this rural community, and his death exposes his greatest secret: Jacques Fillon never existed at all.
Dan is tasked with uncovering Fillon's true identity - but can he do so before his own past catches up with him?

Review:

Someone is tying up loose ends, and one of those loose ends is Dan.  Running for his life and those of his friends he finds himself taking a job to find out the real identity of a man named Jacques Fillon. Fillon saved a young girl from a bus crash but doesn't really exist.  If Dan can find out who Fillon was he could save himself and his friends.

This is a fast paced spy thriller with quite a lot of  non graphic violence and sex.  Dan is an assassin but is he a good guy? Can any assassin be considered good? Wignall tries to make Dan the hero of this book which is a difficult task but one I think he ultimately achieves.

With a lot of twists and turns and more going on than meets the eye this was a great spy mystery.  The author brought the story to life.  Overall a very satisfying listen.





Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Zondervan Fiction
Format: Kindle
Pages: 318 Pages
Genre: Mystery/Christian/Romance
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Audible 


Synopsis:

Casey knows the truth. But it won't set her free.
Casey Cox's DNA is all over the crime scene. There's no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she's arrested...or worse.
The truth doesn't matter anymore. But what is the truth? That's the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren't adding up. Casey Cox doesn't fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan's skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn't guilty, why did she run?
Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan's damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer...or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Review:

I'm not a big Christian Lit book but honestly it wasn't until the last 30% of the book that I even realized it was. This is a good mystery with interesting characters.  It ends on a bit of a cliff hanger but the second book in the sequel If I'm Found was released March 2017.

Casey has been scared since she found her father dead.  She knew it wasn't a suicide but the police didn't listen.  When Casey finds her friend Brent dead she knows she has to run.  If she stays knows she will wind up like her father.

Dylan Roberts is Brents childhood friend and when he finds out that he was murdered he wants to help in anyway he can. When Brents family asks him to find Casey he takes the job.  Keegan the police chief is supposed to be helping him but seems to be blocking him from certain evidence.  As Dylan starts to suspect there is more to this case another body is found.

This was a well written book and a great mystery, my biggest complaint is that it seemed that the Christian theme seems almost an afterthought in this book.  It was thrown in toward the end and really would have been a better book without it.  It seemed too forced - it didn't need to be pushed as hard as it was and it may have worked better had it been scattered throughout the book.  It was almost a surprise toward the end which threw me off. I also have a problem with books stopping on such a big cliff hanger and then not releasing the sequel for almost a year.  Luckily I found this book just as the sequel was put out.




Friday, March 31, 2017

ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Release Date: March 1, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Kindle
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: YA , sci fi/ fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover  


Synopsis: 

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price...

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice.

Review:

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book but I was drawn in immediately.  The story goes back and forth between present day as Tea talks to the Bard who has come to learn her story and the past when Tea first learned that she would become a Dark Asha.

Chupeco has created a rich world with many layers and political intrigue.  Magic is common but the gift of the Dark Asha is looked at with fear and disdain. Tea's back story is interesting and slowly builds you up to present day.  You watch her grow from a scared 12 year old who accidentally raises her brother from the dead to a skilled kick ass woman at 17.

As the story unfolded I became more and more invested in the characters and really wanted to get to know a few of them a bit more.  Since this is the first book in a series I'm hoping that more will come from some of these other characters that Chupeco has given us a taste of.

Everyone in this world has a heartglass and the color of the glass tells you how you feel and also determines what you will be.  There doesn't seem to be any room for someone to make choices of free will in this world since you are pushed in the direction your heartglass leads you.

There are many different themes throughout the book that really seem directed at following your own heart and not so much what society thinks you should do.

I really liked this book and look forward to the rest of the series.




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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Audio Book: The Yellow Sock: An Adoption Story by Angela Hunt

Release Date: January 21, 2015
Publisher: Angela Hunt Communications Inc
Format: Audible
Length: 2 hours 55 minutes
Narrator: Becky Doughty
Buy: Audio | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Megan and Dave Wingfield want nothing more than to be parents--to welcome a child of their own. When they aren't able to conceive after two years of trying, they decide to adopt and find that journey is also fraught with mishaps and the potential for broken hearts. Can Megan learn to trust God with the desires of her heart?

Review: 

The narrator was a bit distracting - her pacing was a bit strange and her voice, though she tried to change it for each character seemed almost robotic and lacking in emotion. I felt like I was listening to Hal from 2001 a space Odyssey read a book.  I think I would recommend reading this on kindle or paperback instead of listening to the audio since the narration is so distracting.

Since I am not a very religious person and was not raised in the Christian faith some of the writing left me cold.  However the emotions about wanting to be a mother and wanting to be pregnant are things that I hear often in my work at an adoption agency.  I really appreciated the way the author brought a lot of adoption language and development to light and shared some of the feelings that many adoptive parents feel or have experienced.

The process of domestic and international adoption was a bit off from the way things really work and the description of private adoption isn't completely accurate but overall the intentions of this book were good.  It touched on the emotional side of infertility and adoption that many books gloss over or are afraid to mention.





Monday, March 27, 2017

ARC Review: Every Body Yoga Let Go of Fear. Get On the Mat. Love Your Body by Jessamyn Stanley

Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Workman Publishing Group
Format: Kindle
Pages: 232 pages
Genre: yoga - Health - Mind - Body
Buy: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

It’s a book of inspiration for beginners of all shapes and sizes: If Jessamyn could transcend these emotional and physical barriers, so can we.
It’s a book for readers already doing yoga, looking to refresh their practice or find new ways to stay motivated.

It’s a how-to book: Here are easy-to-follow directions to 50 basic yoga poses and 10 sequences to practice at home, all photographed in full color.

It’s a book that challenges the larger issues of body acceptance and the meaning of beauty.

Review:

Jessamyn is an inspiration to everyone who doesn't look like the typical yogi.  Yoga is for everyone but in most studios you find the same smaller framed women and not many women of color. Jessamyn shows that you don't have to be skinny or white to find your peace on the mat.  Yoga is about YOUR experience not what everyone else in the room is doing but it can be intimidating.

I love Jessamyn's easy to read prose and her down to earth style of writing. Her stories of growing up made the book easy to relate to and her yogic history was at a level that even the most novice person can understand.  I loved that she used models of all different sizes to illustrate different asanas, it really made the book accessible and proves that these postures are obtainable by anybody!

As a yogi with injuries and a Kundalini yoga teacher I applaud Jessamyn's book and hope that her story will inspire more people who may not fit the stereotypical yogic mold.  Anyone can get on the mat and get something from their practice.


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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Audio Book: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Format: Audible
Length:10 hours 18 minutes
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Genre: YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis: 

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful - and cruel - father. Now Scarlett's father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the faraway once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year Scarlett's long dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval's mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season's Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Review: 

Scarlett has been obsessed with stories of Caraval and has been writing to Legend the head of the Caraval for years begging him to come their small island but she has never received an answer until now.  Days before her arrange marriage Scarlett and her sister Tella travel to attend the show but as soon as they get there Tella disappears and has become the object of the "game". Now Scarlett and everyone is trying to find her.

During the quest to find her sister Scarlett also needs to find herself, her strength and her power.  Her father is an abusive evil man and Legend has a long twisted past with her family that may be her undoing. Engaged to a man who she has never met but she feels is her only way to get away from her horrible father and save her sister, Scarlett needs to find the strength to stand on her own instead of being so afraid, that may be the only way to truly save her sister...and herself.

With lots of twist and turns this story holds your attention keeps you on your toes and keeps you interested. However this is a very dark story and may not be for all YA readers.  Descriptive with an intricately woven story I really found myself lost in the action.

Narrator Rebecca Soler also narrated the Cinder Series by Marissa Meyer and I loved her reading so much it lead me to this book and I was not disappointed.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Release Date:
March 7, 2017
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Buy: kindle | Hardcover 


Synopsis: 

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

Review


Wow, this is a dark, twisted and disturbing book with a hopeful ending.  It seems that all the Roanoke girls have issues and die young, usually by their own hand.  After Lane's mother died Lane is brought to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra who is a strange and disturbed young woman. Though the two cousins grow close eventually Lane like other Roanoke girls flees the family home but gets called back 11 years later when her cousin goes missing.

As Lane desperately tries to discover what happened to her cousin she also is reconnecting with her past love whose heart she broke when she left.  The two are drawn to each other but this time instead of bringing out the worst in each other they may just be able to help each other break free of their pasts.  With alternating chapters from past to present you discover the mystery of what goes on in Roanoke and why there is so much tragedy in this family.

This book is tragic and yet in the end you find hope that Lane will be able to break free and be happy unlike the other Roanoke girls before her.  Amy Engel keeps you interested and slowly pulls you into the secrets of what is happening in this strange little town. Many of us are shaped by our pasts but we don't have to be defined by them.  Lane doesn't have to be a " Roanoke Girl" she can be her own person. This book really touches on that and how we don't have to let tragedy or our families control our future. Well written this book will stay with me for a while.


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


Friday, March 17, 2017

Audio Book: Overcoming Fears: Creating Safety for You and Your World by Louise Hay

Release date: May 10, 2006
Publisher: Hay House
Format: Audible
Length: 45 Minutes
Narrator: Louise Hay
Buy: Audio


Synopsis:

On this audio program, best-selling author and lecturer, Louise L. Hay, helps you overcome fears through the positive strength of mediation and affirmations. By listening, you can change your negative thought patterns into healthy, positive ones.

Louise's meditation visualizes a world where it's safe to grow and love each other without fear. She stresses the importance of loving your inner child, and her vision of the world as a secure, loving place will help give you the confidence and power to make your own contribution to a productive and caring society.

Review:

There are two meditation in this audio book.  The first is a beautiful guided meditation to help heal your inner child and let go of fear.  It is a way to imagine a better world and a more peaceful planet. Great way to relax and let go of stress. Combined with long slow deep breathing this is a really helpful meditation to relax your body.  I felt that the relaxed state I was in after listening to this stayed with me for several hours afterward.  The flute music in the background was very soothing.

The second meditation is a series of positive affirmations that helps let go of negative emotions and tapes that we have playing in our heads and replace them with soft soothing words that all you to let go of the pain an turmoil that we have experienced.  It may take a few listens to buy into her theory but I have been working with Louise Hay's work for a long time and have found it immensely helpful and healing.

I may listen to this daily for a week and see what kind of changes come about.





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...