Friday, November 21, 2014

The 13th Gift - A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith - What a fabulous read!



9780553418552 (134×202)

The 13th Gift

A True Story of a Christmas Miracle


Wow I loved this book from the first chapter.  By the end of the book I was wishing I had money and the means to start something similar for families of loss myself.  This book is true, and it rings so true to me. Families do have a very real and very dysfunctional way of dealing with loss of a loved one and going on during the holidays is often something they just can’t pull off.  Some can’t face the holidays going forward due to the loss, it only seems to remind them.  For anyone who has lost a loved one, or anyone trying to recapture that feeling of Christmas this book is for you!  How could you continue with the feeling of Bah Humbug when you read of someone who lost their husband, brother, father, during the holidays and managed to pull themselves together with the help of their “True Friends”.  This book just brings joy and happiness to your heart upon reading it and makes you want to be a better self and go out and help someone who has less!  "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

More About The Book:

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love.

After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.

About The Author: Joanne Huist Smith is a native of Dayton, OH. She earned a bachelor's degree in English at Wright State University and worked as a reporter for the Dayton Daily News. She is the mother of three and grandmother of two.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

9780804140096 (155×202)
Bend Your Brain - Written By The Minds Behind Marbles: The Brain Store
I saw this book on the list of books I could choose from and I had to have it.  I don’t know what happens but it seems when we reach a certain age, we break into “Some Timers” and worry about having Alzheimer’s.  They say that you need to do puzzles, word search, soduku, any kind of things such as those, to help keep your brain growing and stretching to stave off such things.  I always tell everyone my brain is a sieve….words just seem to fall through the cracks.  I’ve started this book, I don’t know that I’ll be able to do every page,  I hate cheating and looking at the back for the answer.  I also hate sitting or walking around trying to remember a word or a thought, eventually though they do come to me, I’m not so sure with this book.  It does have a range from easy to blow your mind!  I’ll keep working on it but I have to say with growing certainty if you want to keep your brain nimble and working, or are looking for a fabulously different Christmas Gift this book is the right one! 
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

More About The Book:
Synopsis
Want to get your frontal cortex breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

Then you need to bend your brain! This first book from the team behind Marbles: The Brain Store, a chain devoted to building better brains, offers puzzles and brain teasers to help enhance memory, build problem-solving skills, and reduce stress.
        Since Marbles started helping people play their way to a healthier brain, they've sold, solved, and been stumped by more than their fair share of puzzles. Along the way, they've learned which puzzles tie people in knots (not in a good way) and which ones make the neurons downright giddy. With the help of their in-house team of Brain Coaches and access to cutting-edge neuroscience, they've designed these puzzles to keep your mind flexible and fit.
        Arranged in five key brain categories—visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory—Bend Your Brain offers a variety of puzzles ranging from mind-warming (easy) to mind-blowing (hard!):
·  Connecting the dots? More like working your spatial-orientation skills.
·  Identifying famous smiles? Flexing your visual memory.
·  Taking a closer look at your keyboard? Coding, storing, and retrieving.
·  Word-doku? Summoning cognitive abilities like appraisal, inference, impulse control, and evaluation.
·  Word scrambles? Tapping your brain’s association areas.
Your brain is your most important muscle, so let the brain-building begin!

About The Author: Marbles: The Brain Store
MARBLES: THE BRAIN STORE is in malls across the country. They and their branded products have been featured in Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, USA Today, and Wired, as well as on the Today show and Martha Stewart Living.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas - My Review - 4.5 Stars


 9780385347259 (134×202)  Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas –

 This is the story of the Hurst family, and the family is not your normal famly, each of them is sick in their own way.  One of the main characters Violet who does something she can’t remember to her brother Will and ends up in a psych hospital.  The story starts to get really good by then.  This wasn’t the easiest read for me or the fastest but the bones of this story are good the characters well developed in their sick ways, one alcoholic, one who ran away, one controlling “mommy dearest” type of a Mother who Is also very good at covering up her ways of controlling her family and the way she makes them pay with her devious mental and sometimes physical games.  The book is an interesting read and once you get really into the story of each character you see the book slowly building to a finale that is so surprising you don’t see it coming, at least I didn’t.  You lead by the nose in one direction only to find you were mean to draw those conclusions which in the end are not even close to the way the book is going to end.  I found a lot of surprises were in store for the characters that made up this family and for myself.  It is an engrossing read, one that will keep you guessing and if you have problems getting into the story at first, I say keep going there is a point to all of it and it will get very interesting before the ending.  I would give this book a 4.5, since I can’t do that on places like Good Reads and Amazon where I am also going to park the books review, I will give it a 5.  "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

More About The Book:

From Koren Zailckas, author of the iconic memoir SMASHED: an electrifying debut novel about a family being torn apart by the woman who claims to love them most
 
Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband, and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. But living in this matriarch’s determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn’t been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison. 

Resentful of her sister’s newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in a psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother, Will, recently diagnosed with Asperger's, shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of a bottle—an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the family’s impeccable façade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed. Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content
.

More about the Author:

Koren Zailckas - Mother, Mother
Photo © Eamon Hamilton



KOREN ZAILCKAS is an internationally bestselling writer, and has contributed to The Guardian, U.S. News & World Report, Glamour, Jane, and Seventeen magazine. She currently lives with her family in the Catskill Mountains of New York.


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Illusionist as written by Rosie Thomas - My review and where you can go to sign up to win books through the same place!


I'm going to let the descripton of the book tell you about it. I want to point out that Rosie Thomas the author had to have done an enormous amount of research to do this book and researched it and wrote about it well.  From the magicians tricks and illusions to what was invented during that period in the 1900's England, to the invention of recording voices and the process of which it was done, the first robotic type figures called automata, to the beginning of electricity and the first automobiles.  The book is rich in history each chapter about another figure in the book and they all interact with each other in a rather complete and rich way of writing. She builds on the characters well. It is a very large book almost five hundredd pages if you are looking for something entertaining, a story that you can sink your teeth into, rich in history and magic and the theater of the time than this book won't fail to disapoint.  The female who is the one of the main characters is not one fo those simpering beauties who only wish to do needlepoint and stay home pushing out babies and entertaing their husbands, this femail is very modern for her time, and you have to like her!  She was refreshing in her part of the story.  I would definately recommend this book to anyone who has interest in magic and illusions as the history of those goes back a long way and this was realy getting it's start during this time period.  
I'm not sure I loved the ending, but I'm not sure what I would have done different so I can't pick on that too much, I guess I wanted to see the characters, where they went beyond that time period I wasn't ready to give them up.  Read it you shouldn't be disappointed im this book, just remember this is not one that will grab you and keep you up all night reading and you can pull it off in one day...it is a longer novel!  I did win this book through BookReporter.com through their "One to Watch" contest.  If you would like to enter their contests they have a ton of them and you only need visit their site....http://bookreporter.com and sig up for the newsletters.
Here is the description as found on Good Reads:
From the bestselling author of the phenomenally successful The Kashmir Shawl

London 1870.

A terrifying place for a young, beautiful woman of limited means. But Eliza is modern before her time. Not for her the stifling if respectable conventionality of marriage, children, domestic drudgery. She longs for more. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil – a born showman whose dream is to run his own theatre company.

Devil’s right-hand man is the improbably-named Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. Carlo and Devil clash at every opportunity and it constantly falls upon Eliza to broker an uneasy peace between them. And then there is Jasper Button. Mild-mannered, and a family man at heart, it is his gift as an artist which makes him the unlikely final member of the motley crew.


Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life…

Friday, August 22, 2014

Miss Brenda and her Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell - My Review - A Mst Read!


9780307732170 (132×202)  Miss Brenda and the Loveladies!  By Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell
I absolutely loved this book and that it was a true story made it much more interesting.  I couldn’t put the book down. The main character Brenda Spahn had been very successful in her work, monetarily…..but she had a brush with the law, almost lost everything and just missed going to prison.  She made a deal with the Lord to start doing work for him, to live for him, if he kept her out of prison.  She didn’t go to prison as an inmate but she started going to the Julia Tutweiler Prison For Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.to speak to the inmates, she started a small church service there for them.  She decided that wasn’t enough she wanted to do more.  She learned that most of the women who were in the prison for much time at all, usually returned as they couldn’t make it when they got out on their own.  She arranged to take one of the homes she owned that was vacant, to make it a “whole way” center for women.  She wanted to teach them to live in the outside world to navigate the alien, and she also wanted to bring the Lord to them. 
She got permission to turn the home into a “whole way house” but the expected ex-cons that they sent to her, were not the ones with the light sentence.  She got the women who had rap sheets that were very long and they were not going to be easy for her, and the road was going to be long.  She did things with these women that people who ran “half way houses” never could. She was expected to fail.  She didn’t fail.  She held classes in Christianity, also how to make beds, how to clean, how to manage money, things that we all take for granted but things these women never had the opportunity and so much more.

There were a lot of stories, true stories, of each of the lives of the seven women who originally were the first to come to Brenda’s home.  The stories of each of these women were fascinating in that their lives included things most of us would never be able to even imagine.  Brenda even got these women to laugh at some of the awful things that happened to these women, the past didn’t seem to have as much a hold on them when they could laugh at it. 
Brenda called them Loveladies as that was her maiden name.   She and her first seven women and her first unlikely year is what is included in this book.  Brenda went from one small home to a very large facility for which four states now send women for the program.   She has now been Miss Brenda to over 450 women to date.
Of course this is a faith based story and it’s inspirational in that Brenda turned her family and life as she knew it upside down in order to serve her community and her Lord.  I found Brenda’s explanations to the women on different parts of the bible, how to pray, a different way to think of their Lord…..she let them know he was always with them.  Her breaking down of the “Lord’s Prayer” to them in teaching them how to pray was a very interesting way to think about it.  I had never heard it explained that way.
I so recommend this story to anyone.  There is humor, biography, Christianity non-denominational, and a great feel good and the end of the book.  It made me think that I have not done enough for the community I live with.  I’m not sure how much I could do, but perhaps I should find some ways to serve…..as should everyone else.  The community’s and the people who live in them could only be better for it.  It’s too bad we all don’t go about things the way Miss Brenda did and continues to do! "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
About This Book
One woman’s fight to provide hope for the hopeless…
Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever…

For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn’t be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.

This is the story of Brenda’s journey from rags to riches to redemption. It’s the story of the first unlikely year of her “Whole Way House” and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her “Miss Brenda.” It’s a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day
About The Author
Brenda Spahn



Brenda Spahn is founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Brenda is married and has four adult children as well as one young child who lives at home.

The Authors Web Site is located at http:/www.loveladycenter.org/The_Lovelady_Center.html

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe - My Review - Absolutely Five Stars!!




9780804137720 (132×202)   I Shall Be Near To You
by Erin Lindsay McCabe –

I absolutely loved this book.   I couldn’t put it down from the first page.  This was about a woman who was someone you couldn’t push around.  She was a women in a man’s world and she didn’t like it one bit. She wasn’t about to be told what she could and couldn’t do.  She had a boyfriend who wanted to marry her when he returned from the war, with enough money in his pocket to buy the farm in Nebraska that they had both been talking about buying and farming.  She insisted he marry her before he leave.  She didn’t want to wait. Of course she got her way.  She moved with him into a small cabin on his parent’s property for two days after they married and he left without even telling her goodbye. He took off and left a note for her.  She tried to do things the way his family wanted her to.  She had been replaced already as a farm hand helping her Father. She just couldn’t sit and wait for her husband and wonder all that time if he were going to return. She cut her hair, hemmed his pants and shirts, went and joined the Army and appeared at the same grounds where he was to his shock and surprise. He keeps trying to send her back home before they get into real battle and she won’t go. Before long he stops even trying, he likes having his wife by his side, until they start facing the enemy with bullets coming at them and others in their company dying.  You cannot put this book down if you are into women’s fiction, love stories or Civil War story’s I believe you will love this book!  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
 The author did a lot of research on women who dressed as men and entered the Civil War; there were hundreds who did this on both sides of the War.   She read some 250 letters that these women had written, read many books, studied the areas and even went to some of the areas where the famous skirmishes’ happened.  I like to read how the authors research and come up with ideas for their books and see how much they had to do in order to write a book   This book is entirely fiction although it has mention of people and places that were real, she wrote about them fictitiously.

About The Book: An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.
   Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
   With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marriage is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

About The Author:
ERIN LINDSAY McCABE studied Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught high school English before completing her MFA at St. Mary's College of California in 2010. She has taught Composition at St. Mary's and Butte College and resides in Northern California with her husband and son and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, ten chickens, and two goats.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Book Review - The Firelight Girls by Kaya McLaren - I gave this one four stars!


I really liked this book.  It brought me back to the time I spent at camp with my group of Camp Fire Girls.....earning beads for our jackets, learning how to make campfire stew, swimming, etc.  Friends made!
This book is really about a Camp Director who has lost her partner of many years and she is now going to lose the camp which she lives down river from.  She contacts her old friends who she thinks may like to come and help pack up the camp and get it ready for new owners as it is being sold as the well is dry and there is no money to dig another.  This camp story includes three generations of women, one of which is a young girl who runs away from a bad situation that her Mother created and she brokke into one of the cabins and is trying live there and still get to school. The women discover her and take her under her wing.  One of the omen hasn't spoken to another since the year they were togther in camp and they have to come to terms with that.  ONe has raised her kids and now feels as if her marriage is over there is nothing more to bring her and her husband together.... a really good story, one I enjoyed.  Not one of those that you have to read in one day and can't put down. This is one for every lady who every went to camp as a girl and wants to relive the past through the stoies of these ladies! I won this book through Good Reads as a First Reads....in exchange for an honest review.
The description found here on Good Reads:
The summers you spend at summer camp are indelibly etched on your heart. But what happens when the camp you love is about to close? Can you ever really say goodbye to the place that made you who you are?  This is the question that plagues Ethel, the seventy-year-old former camp director who is nursing a broken heart after losing the love of her life. It's also a question that inspires change in forty-year-old Shannon, who is directionless after watching her career implode. Then there is Ruby, who betrayed Ethel years ago and hasn't spoken to her since. Is this her chance to make amends? When the three women learn that a homeless teen has been hiding at camp—the only place she can escape her terrifying home life—they realize camp is something much more immediate for all: survival. Three generations of women are about to find so much more as they search for a way to save the place that saved them all in The Firelig

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The CHOPPED Cookbook From The Food Network! My Review



9780770435004 (164×202)The CHOPPED Cookbook from the Food Network!
Use What You've Got to Cook Something Great


 Wow, The Food Network did an extremely fabulous job on this cookbook!  I got it in the mail, when I opened it and turned a few pages, I told my husband, “Look at this! The pictures seem almost 3D!  Don’t they make you hungry or excited to cook just by looking at them?”  The pictures are fabulous.  Being an avid fan of The Food Networks show “Chopped” I had no idea how they would put together a cookbook but when I had the opportunity to review the book I of course said, “Yes send it to me please!” 
The cookbook is based on what a homemaker should have in their pantry on a regular basis and they give you a list.  They work off that list, and they also tell you options for say, the acid ingredient in a recipe can be cider vinegar, lemon, balsamic  vinegar, …..I’m going off my memory, but they do give you options of what you can swap out.  They give several types of sauces that you can make for vegetables or pasta, etc., and how to easily make them. You have choices and you can follow recipes for quick dinners for your family with what you have in your pantry or refrigerator. 
This cookbook also has commentary from the judges I’ve come to feel as If I know and love them.  They tell what their off the beaten path secret ingredient is that they like to keep in their pantry.  What their favorite ingredient is to use in recipes.  What their go to recipes or meals are that they like to put together on the fly.  It’s very interesting to see their input in the book.  The book makes everything simple, exciting and even propels you to get out, stock up your shelves, and start cooking!
"I received this book for free from Blogging For Books for this review"



About the Book:
Synopsis
Never again let the question, “What's for dinner?” stump you. The Chopped Cookbook features secrets for combining pantry staples to make exciting meals.

If you’ve ever looked into your fridge, hoping for inspiration to strike, let The Chopped Cookbook help you shake up weeknight dinners. Just as each basket on Chopped has many tasty possibilities, so, too, do the contents of your refrigerator. By showing you how to spin your favorite ingredients into 188 fun, doable, and delicious recipes—including go-to guides for making salad dressings and pan sauces, four-ingredient market baskets that can go in many tasty directions, and ideas for ways to reinvent pasta dinners—the culinary masterminds at Food Network set you up for mealtime victory every night.

About the Authors:
Food Network Kitchen
FOOD NETWORK KITCHEN is the culinary engine behind the television shows, website, Food Network Magazine, entwines airport and stadium restaurants, a line of Kohl’s products, and more. Comprised of chefs, stylists, recipe developers, researchers, and all-around food nerds, the Food Network Kitchens team carefully selects every ingredient in the baskets for the hit show Chopped, ensuring that each combination, no matter how wacky, has many delicious potential outcomes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reckless Disregard: A Parker Stern Novel by Robert Rotstein - A Reveiw - I gave this one five stars!!


I received this book through a drawing with "Shelf Awareness" in hopes that I would give it an honest review which I am.  The book was the first I have read by this author. I haven't read a good suspense novel in a very long time and this one is a real page turner.  It stars an attorney Parker Stern, who was a child actor, and now as an author has a very intense case of stage fright! He's hired to defend a person known as "Poniard" who has written a very intense game called Abduction!  He is being sued by William Bishop aka "William the Conquerer", for millions as the game accuses him of killing a starlet from years past who disappeared without anyone ever being charged for her death.  The book had me until the very end, when I found out well I can't tell you as that would be revealing the best part!  I loved the ending and was very pleased with how the book ended it was quite the surprise!  If you like mystery's this one is for you and if you aren't sure you want to read a mystery this one is for you, I fall into that camp and I really loved the book, by the cover not so much drawn to it, but after a few pages I was hooked.  Pick up a copy and read it yourself!
From Good Reads here is the description of the book: Former topnotch attorney Parker Stern, still crippled by courtroom stage fright, takes on a dicey case for an elusive video game designer known to the world only by the name of "Poniard."  In Poniard's blockbuster online video game, Abduction!, a real-life movie mogul is charged with kidnapping and murdering a beautiful actress who disappeared in the 1980s. Predictably, the mogul--William "the Conqueror" Bishop--has responded with a libel lawsuit. Now it's up to Parker to defend the game designer in the suit.

In defending Poniard, Parker discovers that people aren't who they claim to be and that nothing is as it seems. At one point, his client resorts to blackmail, threatening to expose a dark secret about Parker. Then, many of the potential witnesses who could have helped the case die prematurely, and the survivors are too frightened to talk. Parker begins to feel as if he's merely a character in a video game, fighting malevolent Level Bosses who appear out of nowhere and threaten to destroy him.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Spare Change a Novel by Bette Lee Crosby - I gave this book five stars! A great read that you can't put down!


I won this book through "Shelf Awareness" in exchange for an honest review which I am doing now.
I loved the book.  It involved a young boy, Ethan Allen Doyle, who has a Mom who cheats on her husband. She'll do anything to get someone to give her raises, more money, help her to get to New York.  Her husband hasn't come through with his promises over the years to take her there so she can make it as a singer which is her lifes dream. She is kind of rough around the edges which the entire family suffers from.  The wish to get to New York is going to be her undoing.  Ethan Allan sets out with his Dog and about seven dollars to go a long ways to find his Grandpa Charlie who he hopes will keep him safe. He finds instead that Grandpa Charlie isn't living anymore and his new Grandmother is a very superstitious woman who never wanted children and has no idea what to do with Ethan Allen and Dog.  She has even less clue what to do about the situation  with Scooter Cobb!  You won't be able to put this book down!  It was a USA Today Top Seller!

As found here on Good Reads their description:
A Woman who is Superstitious to the Core…

A Boy who claims his Parents are Dead…

A Murderer who wants to Silence the Truth of What Happened.

Olivia Westerly knows what she knows — opals mean disaster, eleven is the unluckiest number on earth and children weigh a woman down like a pocketful of stones. That’s why she’s avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she’s a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson.

Spare Change is a quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about the important things in life, the madcap adventures of a young boy and a late change of heart that makes all the difference in an unusually independent woman.

With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He was counting on the grandpa he’d never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to blazes because the grandpa’s dead too. He’s got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama’s will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him.

The Furies a novel by Natalie Haynes - A First Read Book Through Good Reads - I gave this book 4 Stars I liked it!

This novel was sent to me through the First Read program with Good Reads, it is sent in hopes that I'll do a fair and honest review which I did post on Good Reads....


This is an engrossing tale.  I was kind of fascinated with the idea of "drama therapy" therapy through discuussing plays with troubled kids. I truly enjoyed reading about the kids take on these plays and the information they were giving the teacher about their own lives without realizing it! The kids in the class that this teacher has probems with that she has no idea are occuring, are troubled kids who have gotten next to her and found out what has happened in her life before she moved to Edinburgh and why she seems so sad.  The tale is one you have to finish you want topoi find out exactly which student took things too far, and exactly what they did.  I can't tell more it would spoil the ending!
The description of hte book as found here on Good Reads:
When you open up, who will you let in?

When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.

There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, she even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her..

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Poor Man's Guide To Suicide - A Review of the Book - I give it four stars!

I won this book through a drawing at Shelf Awareness....I agreed to give it an honest review:

My first thoughts when reading this book was this poor man, his entire life has gone to crap!  His way of describing his apartment, his work, his life, his thoughts on how things got that bad were dark but at times funny!  I’ve been around men who were that depressed, and the thoughts they come up with are not always something I can relate to because even at my worst, I’ve always been something of an optimist.  I enjoyed the book for the most part and felt the need to finish it, I had to find out if this poor guy was going to off himself or have someone do it for him, and/or if he was going to follow through with it! 
This book was about Wesley Weimer a prison guard, divorced twice, father of two children whom he can’t really relate to, with no money left over after child support and rent. He has gotten to the bottom and can’t seem to find his way up. He had dreams at one time, he wanted to go to college he had things he wanted to do with his life and working as a prison guard was not really more than a blip on his radar in starting off with his life’s work.  He now believes that his life is at the bottom and he has no way to go up….he can only go along with all of the life sucked out of him.
Its Christmas time, the time of year that takes anyone who is already deeply depressed further down.  The expectation of family, the expectation of the person going through the holidays, of which expectations of self can’t come close to meeting.  A bad time of year for someone who is already at the bottom.
 Wesley actually goes through finding a criminal in the prison, who he can pay to off him.  The big problem is he only can come up with a down payment, he doesn’t have the money!  He goes through buying an insurance policy that he believes will be enough to take care of his children and his Mother….he can’t commit suicide as the policy wouldn’t pay.  He has to come up with a way to find the rest of the money in order to get him killed. Will he do it?  Will he go through with it?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!  I did and I liked the book. 

The books description:
THE POOR MAN’S GUIDE TO SUICIDE is a powerful, slashing, terrifying, hilarious, explosive, sarcastic, misanthropic and lyrical black comedy about losing your will to live—and possibly getting it back.

OVERVIEW

Wesley Weimer, a twice-divorced prison guard and failed father of two, realizes that his life has grown lifeless. Child support payments suck him dry and so he’ll never finish that degree. Most of his free time is spent tending to his crippled mother or else writhing through painful visits with his children.

So with Christmas right around the corner, Wesley persuades a prisoner to strangle him for ten thousand dollars—this way, at least his kids can cash in on the life insurance. The only problem is, he doesn’t have ten thousand dollars…

THE POOR MAN’S GUIDE TO SUICIDE is a noir why-done-it that shoves a microscope into the guts of a bleak yet fascinating subculture while managing to throw a spiritual life-ring to a drowning demographic: non-custodial fathers

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Opposite Of Maybe A Novel by Maddie Dawson and My Review of it -


The Opposite of Maybe A Novel by Maddie Dawson
cover (125×192)
  
I absolutely loved this book! The story was messy and unpredictable as in real life.  The characters were very human in that they were each in there way very interesting, likeable, and changeable.  I loved the story and couldn’t wait to see how the story would end.
The book started out with Rosie and Jonathon a couple that had been together without marriage for fifteen years.  They had made the decision that they didn’t want to have children and they both felt that was the decision they wanted to stick with for the rest of their lives.  Rosie is 44 and she and Jonathon have a real change coming to their relationship as Jonathon who collects teacups, to the point of obsession, receives an offer to move across the country to California to open a teacup museum.  Rosie really doesn’t want to leave, her Grandmother who raised her as her Mother was killed when she was three years old, is now having problems living alone and Rosie needs to find a caretaker to move in with her Grandmother before she feels she can leave. 
She finds a caretaker but her Grandmother Sopie as she calls her, has other ideas. She has moved in Tony a younger man who is a gardener to live there and be her caretaker.  He is not what Rosie considers a professional who is capable and has experience in taking care of an older person with memory problems who falls and shouldn’t be driving, and to Rosie’s horror she really should not be drinking and dancing and having an affair with an old friend whose wife is in a senior care facility due Alzheimer’s.  Tony seems to encourage her Grandmother in such behavior he is completely unsuitable!  Rosie agrees to move to California and also agrees to marry Jonathon before they leave, so they put together a wedding ceremony and invite friends and at the last minute Jonathon has to go tearing off to rescue a bunch of teacups before something happens to them, leaving Rosie in the lurch. 
Rosie decides she doesn’t want to go with Jonathon at the last minute, and moves in with her Grandmother and Tony.  She finds much to her horror after Jonathon has gone on, that she isn’t going through menopause as she thought, her one time mistake of having intercourse without a condom has resulted in her becoming pregnant.  She really does not want to have a child and she knows how Jonathon feels about it and what type of Father she feels he would be. 
She is spending time around Tony who seems to be a pregnancy whisperer, he tells her she is pregnant before she even knows it and he is right!  He is obsessed with pregnant women he loves being around them.  He tells her everything about carrying a child and childbirth and raising a child.
 Tony has a young son named Milo who lives with his Mother and her girlfriend.  Tony and Milo’s Mother were married for a very long time and she decided she would rather be with their best friend’s wife, rather than Tony.  She and Tony and her new partner live together for a while, until they tell Tony it isn’t working and he should leave and they are going to keep Milo.  He really isn’t happy about that but goes along with it, then they tell Tony that he can’t see his son because his son should get used to their arrangement.  Tony isn’t very good at changing arrangements with those two. 
Rosie decides she is going to keep her child at the last minute and Jonathon of course wants nothing to do with a baby, but then comes round…..Tony seems to really like Rosie…..as does Milo and Rosie thinks her baby should be with the Father….will  she change her mind, how will things work out with her Grandmother and George, how will things work out with Tony and his son, and Rosie….will she marry Jonathon and move to California with her child…..the book just has so many twists and turns and just when you think you have everything figured out it changes again.  The book is rich in the depth of story and characters.   I can tell you I’m being very honest when I say this book was a breath of fresh air, one of the best I’ve read in a long while, and I very much would like to read anything else written by this author!
"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

About The Book from the back cover:
A heartfelt and exceptionally human novel about the best mistakes a person can make
 
   Jonathan and Rosie have been together so long they finish each other’s sentences—so when he (finally) proposes and asks her to move across the country with him, everyone is happily surprised.
   But when things suddenly unravel, Rosie sends Jonathan packing and moves back home with Soapie, the irascible, opinionated grandmother who raised her. Now she has to figure out how to fire Soapie’s very unsuitable caregiver, a gardener named Tony who lets her drink martinis, smoke, and cheat at Scrabble.
   It’s meant to be a temporary break, of course—until Rosie realizes she’s accidentally pregnant at 44, completely unequipped for motherhood, and worse, may be falling in love with Tony, whose life is even more muddled than hers. When Soapie reveals a long-hidden secret, Rosie wonders if she has to let go of her fears, and trust that the big-hearted, messy life that awaits her just may be the one she was meant to live.

 Maddie Dawson - The Opposite of Maybe
 MADDIE DAWSON is the author of The Stuff That Never Happened. She lives in Connecticut.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dynamo A Novel by Eleanor Gustafson - Review - Five Star Rating! What a gripping read!

I won this book from shelfawareness a drawing was held by the author.  It was sent in hopes of a review which I always do when someone is nice enough to mail me a copy of a book to read that I've entered a contest for.


What a gripping read! I knew nothing of horses of showing them, training them, etc.  The entire horse world was unknown to me, I see what I was missing when reading this story.  It takes you to the behind what the public would see and takes you to the farms where the horses are grown, trained, and then shown.  Bought and sold.  This is the story of Jeth Cavanaugh who is searching for a new life and takes a wrong turn and ends up at the home of Rob and Katie Chilton who train and show horses, they teach children to ride jumpers, etc.  Rob and Katiie are devout christians and even though Jeth has been in prison, they see that he is a horse whisperer they have a horse Dynamo who really can't be managed or rideen by anyone until Jeth comes along.  They hire him for room and board and the little money they can scrape up and on Sundays they don't allow Jeth to work, he can go to church with them if he likes.  Since he can't work and has not much money he decides to try it out.  It's not so bad, he returns.  Slowly the word of God makes it's way into Jeth and changes his life.  He has a day where he is really tested and that is the day that changes everything for him.  Dynamo is a leading character in Jeths life throughout this book as well is the word of God as brought front and center by the author.  This book takes hold of you and you can't put it down.  It's hard to go about your daily chores when all you can think about is getting back to the story to see how it ends.
This is a telling story, one that stays with you when you aren't reading and has you compelled to finish it and see the story to the end.  I loved this book!

Here is the review as found on Good Reads:
Jeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania's mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob's jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion. Everything changes when God enters his life--in the uuch like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption. This story is God in your face: Who is He, really? What does He ask of us?nconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend--and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God's hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, "Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I'm being set up for something." He is, indeed. Jeth's life is anything but predictable, m

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Revew - The No-Kids Club by Tali Roland - A First Reads Book Sent For Review

I won this book as a First Reads book here on Good Reads of course they hope that you will write a review and I always do. I found this book to be a great beach read, you can kind of finsish this book in ome long day, it's an easy read a fun story.
Clare Donoghue who is pushing forty finds that her boyfriend all of a sudden announces he wants children and that ends their fabulous relationship. Or at least what she thought was fabulous. She absolutely does not want children, I could kind of relate to Clare as I always knew I would never have children although my choices were based on my health, and I guess my background, which is what in the end has built Clare's decision also. Clare finds that all of her friends are busy with having kids and play dates and she either cant' see them or she does and they only want to talk about their lives with their children issues......she just doesn't relate well with that so she decides she is going to start a NO-Kids Club! She meets a young man who helps her by getting her on television on a Wake Up London program, and her club is off to a very promising start! The first few members though are what the book concentrates on, their lives and issues in addition to Clares. There is Poppy, a woman desparate and unable to conceive, and Anna who is trying everything she can to jump start her marriage that has gone stale. So in the end you find out if for Clare, is living child-free al it's cracked up to be? A very fun read, as i said, easy to finish in a long afternoon, I really enjoyed the book. 
Here is the description as found on Good Reads: At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it's not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it's time for people who don't have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together?Anna, who's seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive?Clare's hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare's route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle

Book Review - The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh - A First Reads Book Sent In Exchange For Reveiw From Good Reads!


I won this book as a First Reads from Good Reads....I read the book over two or three days I liked the authors writing in that she really described the scenes in Majorca in Spain. I had problems in that I really didn't find that I liked the characters of the book. This was kind of unusual for me. If it weren't for the way that the author wrote it I may not have finished it. Jenn (a forty something wife) of Greg a professor at University who have been married for years. Emma their daughter is Jenn's step daughter her Mother died during birth. Greg and Jenn decide to come to their annual vacation place for one week and allow after much discussion even though they haven't really met the kid, Emma is going to bring her boyfriend Nathan with her for the second week of their vacation. Emma is fifteen, a fairly young fifteen while Nathan it seems is a fairly older and more experienced seventeen year old. Jenn finds herself alone with Nathan and realises after a while that Nathan is flirting with her. Which is flattering but kind of unthinkable. She's been married forever and things have kind of gotten rather setteled and predictable with her marriage and her husband seems to be kind of depressed and self involved lately which will by the end of the book show why. He's not paying much attention to Jenn these days. The book evolves with Emma and Nathan fighting, and Nathan and Jenn spendding more and more time together alone and they slowly get into more than flirting, which is very tough for Jenn to think about after each time she spends time with Nathan, each time she thinks she needs to get Nathan on the plane and out of their, or her life is going to come apart at the seams if her daughter or husband find out what is going on. The sexual scenes are not very long and kind of unusually written, almost as if the author is not used to writing such involved sexual scenes. Anyway, I guess I had to finish the book just to find out if Jenn and Nathan do get found out......and that is all I can say about this book without giving away the ending.

Here si the description as found on Good Reads:
Set on the rugged, mountainous west coast of Mallorca, this taut, sultry, brilliantly paced novel is an urgent meditation on female desire, the vicissitudes of marriage and the allure of youth.

Taking place over the course of one week, The Lemon Grove lands in the heat of Deia, a village on an island off the southeast coast of Spain. Jenn and Greg are on their annual holiday to enjoy languorous, close afternoons by the pool, and relaxed dinners overlooking the rocks. But the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of their teenage daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Nathan. Jenn, in her early forties, loves her (older) husband and her (step)daughter and is content with her life, she thinks. But when this beautiful, reckless young man comes into her world, she is caught by a sexual compulsion that she's seldom felt before. As the lines hotly blur between attraction, desire and obsession, Jenn’s world is thrown into tumult--by Nathan's side, she could be young and carefree once again, and at this stage in her life, the promise of youth is every bit as seductive as the promise of passion. Jenn struggles between the conflicting pulls of resistance and release, and the events of the next few days have the potential to put lives in jeopardy as the players carry out their roles in this unstoppably sexy and unputdownable novel from a brilliant observer of the human condition.
f

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Enter to win a Kindle Fire or a Amazon Gift Card!

<strong>Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!</strong>

The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

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<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)</strong></p>
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<b>The winner will have the option of receiving a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BWYQ9YE?tag=blasttours" target="_blank">7" Kindle Fire HDX</a> (US Only - $229 Value)</b>
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<b>Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)</b>
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Ends 7/15/14

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