Showing posts with label Books for Adults. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books for Adults. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Summer Between Reviewed

Sometimes A Book Touches Your Soul

summer scene
Summer scene image courtesy of pixabay.com
A few days ago I finished reading The Summer Between by Amanda Linton. I wanted to share my review of it with you today. Amanda is pretty new to the YA genre of books. In fact, I believe this book may be her first. It doesn't read like a first book, though. 

I had put her book on my TBR (to be read) list after getting to know her in a group that I belong to on Instagram. Her book cover and the line on the cover grabbed my attention. The line reads "I'll see you at the line where the waves meet the clouds." That made me want to find out more about the story.

I think that many will relate with Cleo Porter the 17 year old main character in the book. As she enters into her senior year of high school, she hides behind her camera. She snaps glimpses of the world that she doesn't feel like she belongs in. Her relationship with her mother, touched me greatly because it was more than the usual teenage girl/mother strained existence so many experience. This went deeper and I knew it because I had a similar relationship with my mother. Always hoping for acceptance and never quite getting it. A very believable and touching part of Cleo's story.

Bebe Blattner comes bursting into Cleo's life as a new student at school. Bebe is loud, she is too tall and she lives each day as an adventure. Cleo has known Bebe since they were small because they went to the same church but never attended the same school until now. Bebe makes friends with everyone, the popular kids, the less popular and the ones in between. Cleo struggles with keeping the few friends that she has. They are just about as opposite as two girls can be.

This is a story of coming of age, of finding who you are and the bond of friendship. It is a story about family; the one that shares our DNA and the family we choose as our friends. The future may look bright but often fate walks into your life in a way that might break you. This is a story of one girl working through the pain of loss to try to become whole again. Will she be able to?

I absolutely loved this book! It touched me in so many ways and I look forward to Amanda's future works. She is an incredible writer weaving a believable story on each page. Even though this is considered a Young Adult book, I think that most woman will fall in love with the characters and the story. In many ways, we have all lived at least parts of it. Take a chance and give this new author the recognition that she deserves. You won't regret it!




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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Two By Two – A Book Review

https://www.amazon.com/Two-Nicholas-Sparks/dp/1455520691/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=two+by+two&qid=1556133987&s=gateway&sr=8-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=reviewthisblog02-20&linkId=4d2f356f9ebd858ccf22761a883e83a6&language=en_US
Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks
by Nicholas Sparks

I have been a fan of the books by Nicholas Sparks for many years. His romantic novels are wonderful.

I think what makes them especially interesting is that they focus on real-life situations.  There is romance and love, but love is not always perfect. Sparks' books describe times of absolute joy, as well as the daily love, disappointment, life journey changes and adjustments we all experience in our own lives. There is also always a touch of sadness just as we all experience from time to time. In other words, his love stories are realistic. Two By Two is no exception. 


Synopsis


Two By Two, published in 2016,  is about an ordinary guy – Russell Green – who has everything a man could want ~ a successful career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife (Vivian) and an adorable six-year-old daughter, London. They live in Charlotte, North Carolina. Russ is living the Dream, or so he thought. Suddenly he finds that the life he took for granted has turned upside down. In just a few months Russ finds himself without a job, his wife leaves him for a new job and exciting life with a real estate billionaire,  and he has become a single dad to daughter London. 

The story takes place over the space of a year which shows Russ struggling to adapt to a baffling new reality.  Trying to launch his own business while coping with the demise of his marriage, his days revolve around his daughter whom he tries to shelter from the consequences of these changes. His close relationship with his wise older sister, Marge and her partner, Liz, and his loving parents help sustain him during the emotional roller-coaster he finds himself on.


Source: Pixabay


“Friendship isn’t about how long you know someone. It’s about who walks into your life, says ‘I’m here for you,’ and then proves it.”
  ~Nicholas Sparks, Two By Two


Throughout the story are short sections of memories of Russ' childhood and his close friendship with his sister, plus memories from collage days when a foolish one-night stand costs him the girl (Emily) he was in love with. 

When a chance encounter with an old flame tempts him to take a second chance on love he finally learns that unconditional love is a treasure to be bestowed, never earned. 


Pillow Cover by pure_soul on Zazzle


“Happiness isn’t something someone can deliver. It comes from within.”
~Nicholas Sparks, Two By Two



Author Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks, Author

Nicholas Sparks is a romance novelist with 20 (to date) novels to his credit and two non-fiction books. He is also a screen writer. Several of his novels have become international best sellers and 11 of these stories have become films.  Probably his best known are “Message in a Bottle” and “The Notebook”. Almost all his stories are placed in a North Carolina setting, many of them along the coastal areas. Nicholas lives in North Carolina. 

His latest book just published in 2018 is Every Breath



Available on Amazon



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Friday, April 26, 2019

The Puzzle of Talking Rock: Roni Rainer Mysteries Book Reviewed

The Puzzle of Talking Rock Book Reviewed The Puzzle of Talking Rock
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 3) 


When you discover a fabulous new author, you can hardly wait for their next book to be released! That is definitely the case with Beverly Owens and her Roni Rainer Mysteries.

I downloaded The Puzzle of Talking Rock the very minute I heard it had been published.   Unfortunately, I had to wait a few days to start reading it because I was in the middle of another book.  Admittedly, I think I raced through the book I was reading so I could start reading the latest in the Roni Rainer Mystery series.

In the first two books, Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed and Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed, readers were introduced to Roni and her fun, yet somewhat eccentric, employees, friends and family. 
  

Main Characters in the Roni Rainer Series Include:

Veronica (Roni) Rainer - up-cycler store owner, divorced mother of 2 (Melanie & Madison) 
Kitchi - insightful friend & confidante, more like a grandfather to Roni
Mitch Denton - boyfriend and detective
Clay - delightfully animated and fun employee
Charlotte - employee with artistic eye for up-cycling
Valerie - best friend & lawyer
 


The Puzzle of Talking Rock Synopsis


 The Puzzle of Talking Rock: Roni Rainer MysteriesCheck PriceThe book opens with Roni hiking up the mountain to her favorite refuse from the world, Talking Rock.  However, peace and serenity are not going to be her companions today.  Unfortunately, when she reaches her destination, she immediately senses something is not right.  Then she discovers the body of the communities gentle giant, Calvin Yorke.  It is clearly a murder since the taser prongs are still connected to his chest.  Whether the murder was accidental or premeditated is not immediately clear.  Roni calls the sheriffs office to report the death, then waits for Mitch and his fellow officers to respond. 

All the normal questions follow during the investigation to find the who, what & why of the murder.  Neither Roni nor Mitch can fathom any reason why someone would want to kill such an easygoing, well liked, kind man.  Was it personal or related to his occupation?  Known mostly for his gentle nature and love of rocks, Calvin doesn't have any bad habits or suspicious behaviors that would make him a likely candidate for murder.  

As the investigation continues, we find out there are witnesses.  One very unlikely "witness" has seen the murder and can identify the killer(s), but she doesn't understand the meaning or recognize the people revealed to her in a dream.  Without her help, it is doubtful the crime would have been solved.

Of course, I now know all of the answers to who & why, but you will need to read the book yourself to find out what happened to Calvin Yorke.



 



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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Can I Give Him My Eyes Book Review

Can I Give Him My Eyes Book Review
Can I Give Him My Eyes is a biographical book that was written by Richard Moore with the assistance of his long-time friend and supporter, Don Mullan. It tells the story of a ten-year old boy who loses his eyesight on May 4, 1972, on the way home from school when he is shot by a soldier during The Troubles in Ireland.

According to Moore’s book, he was just passing by when he was shot. The rubber bullets were supposed to be used to control crowds and riots but to this day Moore does not know why he was shot.

In any case, those rubber bullets, which were thought to be a relatively safe way of controlling riots, turned out to be more dangerous than anticipated. Moore survived being; other children did not.

If you would like a look at The Troubles in Ireland, this book will be a good education. I learned of it while on a trip to Ireland in 2018 during which I visited both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Of course, 2018 was a safe year to visit, unlike the years of the Northern Ireland Conflict, which spanned approximately 1968 to 1998. During those years there were riots, shootings and bombings almost every day. In the end, the conflict killed almost four thousand people and of course it also left many victims behind. The antagonism between the Irish Catholic population and the British army and especially the events of Bloody Sunday caused fear and hatred of the army from the people and no doubt fear and hatred in return. The tense atmosphere was likely the reason that Moore was shot despite the fact that he was a child passing by and not participating in a riot or public gathering.

Can I Give Him My Eyes is not just about the loss of Moore’s eyes. The catastrophe happens early on in the book, which is also about his journey in life, about how he learned to cope as a blind person, about the upheaval it caused his family and about how it changed and set the direction of his life.

Moore manages to accept the fact of his blindness almost right away. He carried forward no bitterness or anger, which he attributes to his parents who were peaceful and never spoke bitter or angry words. The Dalai Lama, who Moore eventually met and who Moore considers to be both a hero and a friend, once said and Moore agrees that, “Forgiveness is a gift to yourself.” Moore could have been bogged down by the event and the reality of being blinded but instead he moved on and let his situation propel him forward to experiences that he might not otherwise have ever had.

He has a university degree, has had two businesses, is a musician and, as a peace and reconciliation worker, started an organization called Children in Crossfire to help children in troubled situations around the world have opportunities that they might not otherwise have. He had lots of support and kindness as a child and as an adult and he wants to make sure that others in difficulty do, too.

Interestingly, Moore eventually goes on to meet the soldier who shot the rifle that injured him. They have become friends and they have even worked together. On the cover of Can I Give Him My Eyes, His Holiness the Dalia Lama, says, “I encourage people across the world to read what Richard has to say. Despite his own loss, he has found freedom through forgiveness.”

This book is RECOMMENDED by me. Not as a page turner but rather as a look at the troubled times in Ireland and at one man’s lifetime journey because of his injury. You can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Richard Moore’s website.
In the Name of the Father, Irish movie review.
My Left Foot, Irish movie review.






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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Angels of the Arch Book One Reviewed

When Angels Are Among Us 

Archangel Gabriel image courtesy of pixabay.com
A review of the book Angels of the Arch: The Unwanted Gift is what I will be sharing with you today. It is a relatively new book published about one year ago and is written by Lion Key who is probably a new name to you as an author. 

Gabrielle Crowe is a 15 year old girl living in Alaska surrounded by the Unnoticed who inhabit the planet Earth. Her life seems pretty typical of a teenager; she feels the angst of her age like any other young person. She loves her friends even though they annoy her often. Her grumpy Grandmother has raised her since she was an infant. Gabrielle is a normal teenager or is she?

Strange things begin to happen to Gabrielle that she finds difficult to explain or even talk about with her best friend Amy. Leo, a new boy in her school, befriends her before he eventually takes her to a different world or dimension. It is revealed to her that she has been given a gift; she is to be the new Archangel of Water. There is a price to pay if she accepts the new responsibility, though. Gabrielle feels the price is too high for her; she doesn't want the gift, not at that cost. What happens if she doesn't take it?

The regular readers of Review This know that I do not like to give away too many spoilers in any of the books that I review. I will tell you this; if you read this wonderful book you will find out who the unnoticed are, who inhabits the dimension or world where she is taken and what the cost to Gabrielle is if she accepts her new position. Does she or doesn't she accept the responsibility?

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book by Lion Key. He has done a really good job of portraying a contemporary teenage girl; making her believable throughout the story. I loved the tiny bit of mystery along with the action scenes that occur in Alaska and the place where Leo takes her. The paranormal abilities of some of the characters were pretty neat, too. Overall it was a very good book and I look forward to the next one...I want to find out what happens next with Gabrielle!

If I were to find any fault at all in the book it would be that I couldn't figure out what season of the year the story takes place. I found it confusing during a few of the descriptive scenes of Gabrielle's surroundings. For me, it was a minor distraction and did not take away from the story that unfolded. It really is a very good story that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning.

Lion Key also works to support Independent Authors (like myself) with a team of others at Indie Author Central. It is a growing network of authors, artists, editors who support and promote each others work in a fun and exciting way to remind the world that #indiesareworthit. 

So, bottom line, I recommend this book as one to read if you like YA (young adult) type stories with paranormal fantasy mixed in. I sincerely do not think that you will be disappointed; I was not.



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Thursday, April 18, 2019

On Call in the Arctic - Book Review

On Call in the Arctic
I have been on a medical memoir jag lately, and On Call in the Arctic: A Doctor's Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier, has certainly whetted my appetite for more.  Part Northern Exposure, part MacGyver, this is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys the kind of adventures that can only take place off the beaten path.  Though the story takes place in the Alaskan frontier of the 1970's, its themes of cultural divides, and racism, along with an undercurrent of hostility, make this a very timely book.

As Dr. Thomas Sims is about to enter his pediatric surgical residency, his status suddenly changes overnight when he is informed that he is about to be sent overseas to serve within a M.A.S.H. unit in Vietnam.  With a wife nine-months pregnant, and a two-year-old daughter, Sims is relieved to be given an alternative.  He can choose to accept a plum military placement as a U.S. Public Health Service physician in Anchorage, Alaska.  Not only does that mean that Dr. Sims can keep his family together, and be stateside for the impending birth of his son, but Sims is also offered the position of his dreams—Chief of Pediatric Surgery in a well-equipped urban hospital.

Perfect, right?  Well, not so fast.  Upon arriving with his family in Anchorage, Sims is shocked to receive new orders to report to Nome, Alaska, where he will be the only doctor in a very isolated setting.  Not only will Dr. Sims serve the remote outpost of Nome, but he will also be responsible for the medical needs of thirteen outlying Eskimo villages. 

This is where things get mighty interesting.  Imagine the shock, if you have been trained in state-of-the-art medicine, to enter a medical world without adequate facilities, with very few supplies, and almost no support.  Not only that, but a major scandal which occurred during the previous physician's tour of service has created the kind of mistrust and prejudice that will make relationship-building almost impossible.

The most fascinating element of this memoir involves the stories of frightening, and yet exhilarating, medical emergencies.  How do you save the life of a patient whose appendix is about to explode when you don't have an operating room, the right supplies, or a surgical team?  How do you deliver a huge baby in distress when a C-section isn't an option?  This is where Dr. Sims has to use a combination of intuition and MacGyver-like ingenuity to save the day.

I can't help but believe his time in the Alaskan bush made Thomas Sims a better doctor.  Medical training in perfect conditions is one thing.  Learning to improvise in the heat of a life-or-death emergency is another.  To be able to master both the art and science of medical service requires a rare gift.  The beauty of this story is in watching that gift emerge.

From harrowing medical procedures, to death-defying bush plane and snowmachine travel in wicked weather conditions, this book has it all.  Though the harsh conditions and interpersonal divides take their toll, On Call in the Arctic is a book that dwells in the miracles that can happen in the midst of hardship, misunderstandings, and the messiness of living outside your comfort zone.

I recommend this memoir to anyone who enjoys living, or living vicariously, the kind of life that takes one to the wilder side of existence.  There is something essential to be gained when we leave the safe confines of a predictable way of life.  Somewhere out there are brave new worlds to be found and explored.

Reading this book is one way to step into a world where the past may inform the future, especially given the common threads between our current societal struggles and those with which Dr. Sims wrestled.  Here's to finding our way to a brave new tomorrow. 





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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Review of the Death On Demand Series by Carolyn Hart

The “Death on Demand” series acquired it's name from the Mystery Book Store [Death on Demand] owned and operated by the series' central character, Anne (Lawrence) Darling. The stories take place on a fictional South Carolina island (Broward's Rock) located off the coast of the mainland and reached only by ferry boat. 

I only recently discovered this mystery series and am currently reading my way through the entire series of 27 (to date) books.  I had seen Carolyn Hart's name in the library mystery section several times, but had never read any of her books until about 2 months ago. After reading the first book, I became 'hooked'. The characters are charming, the plots interesting, the reading 'light' with humor and good taste and downright fun throughout. 

Although there is usually a murder (or two), it is secondary to the stories of the characters who solve the mystery of the crime. By that I mean there are no heavy details (like blood & gore) to wade through about the actual murder. The descriptions center more on the characters, their backgrounds and the uniqueness of life lived on an island. 


South Carolina Low Country


South Carolina Low Country (Source: Pixabay)

The main reason I love the setting is the author frequently mentions island residents going into Beaufort or Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA, all quite easily reached after taking the ferry from Broward's Rock to the mainland. After having spent years camping at Hunting Island State Park just past Beaufort, having visited Charleston several times and having lived in the Savannah, GA area for nearly 20 years, the author's descriptions of these places is so familiar and such fun to re-visit through the pages of the books. If you have never been to any of these places in the 'Low Country' (a geographic and cultural region along South Carolina's coast, including the Sea Islands) you will find the descriptions of the area delightful).  


Death on Demand



Book One in the "Death on Demand" Series
In Book 1, simply titled “Death on Demand”, Anne Lawrence has returned to the South Carolina island of Broward's Rock where she spent many summer vacations as a child to take over her uncle's mystery book store she inherits after his death. The plot begins with a weekly meeting of island mystery writers at her book store during which one of the writers (the most irritating one) is murdered. Anne becomes the primary police suspect, but she and her boyfriend, Max Darling, investigate and solve what appeared to be a classic 'locked-room' mystery. 

As the Death on Demand series continues, Anne Lawrence marries Max Darling and together they seem to become involved in one mystery after another, often solving them with the help of several friends who are regulars at both the bookstore and in their lives. One of them is Max's mother Laurel. Laurel is often joined by two other older ladies, Henny, a former WWII pilot and former teacher and Emma, a mystery book writer who also  lives on Broward's Rock Island. Max and Anne also become good friends with the island's Chief of Police, Billy Cameron, who is a regular character in the series, along with his wife, Mavis and other members of this small island police force. As I read my way through the series, the characters become as familiar as my own family. 


(Source: Pixabay)
By using a mystery bookstore for her background, Hart has given her characters the opportunity to talk freely about other mystery authors and books. If you are a mystery story fan (as I am) you will recognize many of the book titles and authors mentioned throughout the series. 

Cats play a regular role in the stories too, with a black cat named Agatha (after Agatha Christi, Anne's favorite mystery writer) who lives at the Death on Demand bookstore and a white cat named Dorothy L (primarily Max's cat) who lives at Max & Anne's home.



Carolyn Hart



Author Carolyn Hart
Carolyn Hart, a former newspaper reporter born in Oklahoma in 1936, has been writing books since she left journalism upon the birth of her first child. Early on, women writers were not much recognized for writing mysteries, but with the advent of authors such as Sue Grafton and Sara Parentsky, publishers began to recognize American female authors in the field of mystery.

Carolyn Hart also has written two other regular series, the Henrie O mysteries which features a 70-something retired newswoman, Henrie O'Dwyer Collins, as she travels the country and the world, solving crimes that seem to follow her as she travels, and the very humorous Bailey Ruth Raeburn Ghost series about the ghost of a woman killed at sea who returns to earth via the "Rescue Express" to help her fictional hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma while trying not to violate the Precepts for Earthly Visitation and adjusting to her powers on earth. 

In 2015, Hart decided that keeping up with all her series and characters was becoming too much, and decided to end the Anne & Max Darling series to give her more time for her Bailey Ruth series.  Instead, as Hart wrote "Anne and Max looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t even think about it!”, so (thankfully) Anne and Max returned. 

Today Carolyn Hart, author of more than 60 novels and one non-fiction book about Oklahoma,  today resides in Oklahoma. She is a delightful author who specializes in traditional mysteries, also known as cozy* mysteries.


*Wikipedia defines 'cozy' also known as "cozies", as a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.  

I would definitely classify Broward's Rock Island, South Carolina as such a small intimate community and Death on Demand as a very delightful series. 



Source: Pixabay



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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dog Medicine - How My Dog Saved Me From Myself - Book Review

Dog Medicine - How My Dog Saved Me From Myself - Book Review
Dog Medicine by Julie Barton
Most of us have so much going on in our own lives that we seriously question reading a book that will immerse us in someone else's unrelenting anguish.  Why would we want to do that?  We already know from reading the reviews that Dog Medicine is going to make us cry.  When reviews use words like raw and brutal honesty, we know we are in for a read that will demand something from us.

Perhaps that is the point.  Could it be that the demanding, heart-wrenching accounts most grow our humanity, our compassion, and our capacity to connect with others in the ways that are most authentic and useful?  In a genre overflowing with I-was-saved-by-my-dog books, what does it take to transcend it — the genre and what cynics would say is the same old, same old story?

Well, here's the thing: this story matters because Julie Barton and Bunker matter.  Without Bunker, the author's Golden retriever puppy, Julie would surely not have lived to write this book.  And this book needed to be written just as much as we all need to read it.

When initial therapies failed to lift Barton out of the deep, dark depression unleashed by long-term childhood trauma, it took the powerful medicine of Bunker—his unfailing solace—to bring Julie back from the brink.

It is in how the author captures the first glimmers of healing that this book soars.
Perhaps what began to save me was that I started creating this sacred, safe space where he and I met.  In this space, there was no ridicule.  There was no doubt or loneliness.  There was no sorrow or anger.  It was just pure, beautiful being.  It was looking at the world with wide-eyed, forever hopeful puppy wonder.
Could it be that we share in vicarious healing in reading about the transformation brought about by the kind of love that can only be known in relationship with a dog that has chosen his human?  Ultimately, I chose this book because I cherish my animal relationships and the healing they bring me.  I deeply related to the purpose Barton found in caring for a dog with special medical needs.  When Julie's broken psyche bound up Bunker's broken body, the result was a unified whole that the two of them could not have found by any other means.  We are all broken in ways that call for us to find our healing in offering up the gift of compassion... in being the sacred space needed by another.

Given my recent launch as a therapy dog team member, I found inspiration in knowing that, like Julie, the good medicine in my life, in the form of my dog Finn, will make itself manifest in the lives of those who enter the sacred space he and I share.  For what is the sacred, if it is not that which exists to bless others?

It is my hope that Julie and Bunker's story will bless you in whatever way you most need at this point in time.  I will close here with a reviewer's blurb that I found compelling when deciding whether or not to read Dog Medicine:
Read it for the voice, read it to savor the power of love, read it to enjoy an inspiring, hopeful story, read it to learn about healing, read it if you're depressed and want to get better, read it if you're happy and want to stay there.  Whatever else you do, read it.  ~Peter Gibb
Yes.  Read it and savor the power of love.




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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Robert Galbraith's Lethal White Book Review

It is a bit awkward to start with the fourth book in a series but, since that is the one I have just read, that is where I am starting.

It is telling that I waited anxiously for Robert Galbraith’s fourth novel, Lethal White. It finally arrived in in September of 2018 and unsurprisingly, it was a giant book worthy of the wait.

Lethal White follows three excellent detective novels crafted by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame and published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.  Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil were all page turners and Lethal White is more of the same. A lengthy read, complex and interesting.

Set during the 2012 London Olympics, Lethal Weapon covers much ground including political corruption, blackmail, murder, deception, betrayal and suicide.

The series continues with the latest mysteries to be solved by the now two-person detective team at Cormoran Strike’s detective agency. It follows the one-legged detective Strike and his new partner Robin as they solve crimes. Both characters continue to live on the edge financially, personally and professionally and wind up in precarious situations in all three areas of their lives.

Strike continues to live in near poverty in a room behind his office. He’s a disabled war veteran who barely looks after himself in general and, as we are given to understand in the book, his leg in particular. He is an amputee, which makes the physical requirements of his job sometimes difficult and perhaps even more so because he fails to look after his leg properly. If I had one complaint about this novel, it would be Strike’s continued difficulties with his leg. Come on Strike, look after your leg! Yeesh. I don’t look after myself perfectly all of the time but if I had a chronic problem, I hope I would do so better than Strike does his leg.

Robin struggles with her personal life as well as with her new career as a private detective. Her family believes she should not be doing the job she is doing because of the danger element but Robin knows that she has landed where she needs to be. This is the work she has always dreamed of doing but never made an effort to pursue.


Rowling says that she wrote this book while writing a play and two screenplays for Harry Potter’s world. At 650 pages long, Lethal Weapon goes on as Rowling’s books tend to. Some readers wish they could cut out a bit but if you enjoy a well crafted story, you will appreciate the plot, characters and insights given in this novel. As The New York Times says in their review, sometimes more is better than less.

The Guardian’s review says that this book contains much "highly inventive storytelling” and there is no surprise there. J.K. Rowling is a master at doing exactly that.  The Guardian goes on to say that “there is much here for mystery fans to enjoy” and I agree completely on both counts. Lethal White is HIGHLY RECOMMEND by me for you if you love a good, long detective story. You will, of course, have to read the first three books first. You can find all of Robert Galbraith’s books on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

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Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White on Amazon.
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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Girls Night Out - A Novel

Girls Night Out - A Novel of friendship, lies and resentment
Girls Night Out - A Novel
Today's review is about a book by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Girls Night Out takes place in Mexico where 3 estranged friends (Ashley, Natalie & Lauren) are having a girls getaway to heal old wounds.

Of course the wounds can't be healed quickly or there would be no book to read! We find out gradually the reason behind the rifts between all three friends as the book progresses.

The chapters show the events from the different girl's perspectives and are titled - The Day After, Natalie or Three Days Before, Ashley.

The book begins with Natalie waking up in wet clothes on the beach and feeling very hazy about the night before which had been their girls night before they were due to head home. Going back to the room she'd been sharing with Ashley there's no sign of her. Lauren also hasn't seen or heard from Ashley since the night before, Natalie can't remember what happened that night except for fragmented pieces and so the mystery is set up.

As the book weaves through the trip we find that none of the girls have been completely honest with each other and the secrets and resentments come through as we hear their stories.

What happened to Ashley? You'll have to read the whole book to find out, but I do have to say when we finally get there, it was totally not what I thought it was going to be.

If you like a bit of a mystery and sifting through women's relationships then you may enjoy this book. I have to be honest and say that I didn't find any of the characters to be very likable, this may have been deliberate, but it did really highlight how some friendships can become toxic over time. 

Even though I didn't particularly like the three ladies, I still couldn't stop reading the book until I had finished it as I needed to know what had happened!

I read this book as a free book through my Amazon Prime membership and if you enjoy reading and watching movies/television shows (such as Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and The Widow) then you should really consider getting Prime. I also notice that it is one of the free books available on audible which is something I have been considering getting.


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Friday, March 22, 2019

The Interlude by Lin Stepp Reviewed

The Interlude by Lin Stepp Reviewed
Definition of Interlude: an intervening episode, period, space, etc.  

Everyone has times in our lives when we need a break from work and responsibility, especially when we are grieving.  Therefore, most of us can identify with Mallory Wingate as she seeks a refuge of peace in The Interlude.

The story takes place in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, which is the perfect place for respite and recovery.  I know from my own experience that the Smoky Mountains are a little piece of heaven here on earth. 


Synopsis of The Interlude


 The InterludeCheck PriceMallory has spent the last few years working full-time and also caring for her terminally ill mother.  When her mother dies, Mallory has an emotional breakdown at work.  Her concerned boss insists that she take time off, so Mallory returns to the one place where she has always found love and care, her grandparents home.

On the plane, a handsome man is seated next to her, but Mallory prefers to be left alone.  However, Lucas James is intent on engaging Mallory in conversation.  He even invites her to join him for dinner during the layover between flights.  What seems like a casual meeting and flirtation when traveling, actually takes on a totally different significance when the two passengers find their destination is exactly the same place, her grandparents home and resort.  

Mallory is slightly embarrassed to find out that Lucas is the pro-golf instructor at the resort.  Lucas is shocked to discover that Mallory is actually his employers granddaughter.  Both would prefer to keep their "interlude" a secret between just the two of them.  Both have their own issues and baggage that keeps them from desiring a romantic relationship.  

One of the things I found most interesting about this book was how the author showed us just how easy it is to say something hurtful to someone else without realizing, or even intending, to cause pain.  Most likely, we have all experienced that to some degree in our own lives, but seeing it written so vividly in the context of a conversation in a book, really can be eye-opening.  A promising friendship, or relationship, can be irreparably fractured by careless words and assumptions.


My Copy of the Book, The Interlude


I would like to thank the author, Lin Stepp, for gifting me with an advance copy of "The Interlude".  That gave me the opportunity to read and review it before the actual release date.  You will definitely want to grab your copy of this wonderful book today and start reading as soon as possible.

  


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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Every Note Played Book Review

Every Note Played Book Review
Every Note Played: A Novel by Lisa Genova

Welcome to the world of the classical pianist or rather, to the world of a famous classical pianist who has ALS.

Stay with him as the disease progresses through his body and takes away not just his ability to play the piano. Watch as it quickly robs him of all of his body functions starting with the use of his arms and legs and going on to eventually claim his ability to talk, to eat and even to breathe.

I am sure that introduction will NOT make you want you to read Every Note Played by Lisa Genova but please do not let it put you off. As the cover says, this books contains “searing writing and it is a must read.”

Genova is a neuroscientist who writes books about people living with neurological diseases. She wrote Still Alice, which was about the life of a women with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

As a matter of fact, Every Note Played relates directly to Still Alice. The man who directed the movie Still Alice was diagnosed with ALS shortly before he read the story and he directed the movie while suffering the symptoms. He did so without a voice and using one finger on an iPad.

We have all heard of ALS, of the Ice Bucket Challenge and know that Stephen Hawking had it. However, many of us do not know much about the disease nor do we really understand what it is like to live with it. Every Note Played will change that fact.

Genova reads the medical books, interviews the experts and gets to know the patients so that we do not have to. Using that thorough research into all aspects of the disease, she brings us information about the disease in the form of a fictional story.

In Every Note Played, there are some truly exceptional and caring people but there is also one totally selfish individual. He just happens to be one of two main characters and the one who has ALS. Imagine being a caregiver for someone who never thought of anyone except himself before he became sick. Doesn't sound great, does it? It certainly makes an interesting story and, of course, not only nice people get ALS. Even unpleasant people need the support of family, friends and the health care system when they are stricken with any disease.

I do recommend this book though, of course, the subject matter is not pretty. It is honest and it is truly a look into living with ALS. It is a medical drama that you will want to end sooner than it does but it manages to be a page turner despite the subject matter. It is a horrible disease but this book, while educational in terms of the disease, is also a well-crafted story about family relations, love and forgiveness. My heart goes out to those stricken with ALS and my wonder, amazement and gratitude goes out to the people who act as caregivers. If you want to learn more, read Every Note Played, which you can find on Amazon right here.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy your copy of Every Note Played on Amazon.


Every Note Played by Lisa Genova









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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Moose! The Reading Dog - Book Review

Moose! The Reading Dog
As Finn and I embarked on our journey to become a registered therapy dog team, we sought to learn as much as possible from local dog celebrity, Moose, and his Pet Partners handler, Dr. Laura Bruneau.  One of the first things I did was to read their recently published book entitled Moose! The Reading Dog.  The review that follows is written primarily through my teacher lens, though it is also shaped by my passions for reading and animal rescue.

I first came across Moose's book at the Alamosa Public Library where I was looking for reading material to use in future animal-assisted interactions with elementary-aged children.  As a teacher who loves to read with primary students, I was delighted to discover that Moose's story fit right in the sweet spot of that target group.

Photo of Moose Used With Permission
One of the things that sets this book apart is that Moose tells his own story.  That first-dog perspective is appealing to young readers.  Over the course of six chapterettes, Moose reveals what makes him the extraordinary dog that he is.  We learn how his life started out on a ranch (Chapter 1 - About Me), how he ended up in an animal shelter (Chapter 2 - The Shelter), what it was like to be adopted by a new family (Chapter 3 - My New Home), how he began to change his behavior (Chapter 4 - Learning the Rules), the process of finding a job for his unique gifts (Chapter 5 - Getting Ready to Work), and, finally, helping children enjoy reading (Chapter 6 - I am a Reading Dog).

It is so easy to fall in love with Moose.  My favorite illustrations in the book, as designed by Mic Ru, were those of this gentle giant (a 115-pound Saint Bernard mix).  There was a sweet, friendly, and very huggable quality that flowed through the depictions of Moose.  You could feel his great goodness.

As one who has always been very selective about the books I place in the hands of impressionable young children, Moose! The Reading Dog has earned my seal of approval for:
  • being a book with the kind of positive messages that empower young people;
  • presenting the kind of transformations that change lives for the good;
  • offering up encouragement to children, and all of us really, about being true to whatever it is that frees us up to be our best, and to make it possible for others to become the best version of themselves.
I plan to purchase multiple copies of this book to share with other teachers and to gift to the children in my life.  Finn and I give this book a rating of five paws up for inspiring us to move forward with our dream.  We believe Moose will also inspire you to be true to what makes you authentically you.  And the world needs that—you being beautifully you.

Reviewer's Note:  This review is the second in a series focused on therapy dog teams.  You can read my first installment by clicking the following link (Becoming a Pet Partners Therapy Dog Team).








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Friday, March 1, 2019

Somewhere in France Book Review

Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson, A Book Review

Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson


I believe that I read more books set in the years surrounding the Second World War then I do set in the First World War so the time frame of Somewhere in France felt a little different to me when I first picked up the book and the claim that it would be “especially satisfying for fans of Downton Abbey” was somehow a little off-putting to me. Can anything compare to our beloved Downton Abbey?

However, somewhere in France delivered a solid story. As a matter of fact I just finished it moments ago after putting aside all of the other things that I should have been doing this morning and leaving my husband to cope with the mess in the kitchen on his own. Don’t worry, he was up to the task.

Somewhere in France is the story of Lady Ashford (Lilly), her brother the Viscount Ashford (Edward) and his best friend Robert Fraser (Robbie).

Lilly breaks with her wealthy family in order to do the work she wants to do in support of the Great War. She is not content to stay home, find a husband and raise a family so she learns how to drive and joins the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and becomes an ambulance driver.

Edward, who previously was not much more than a spoiled aristocrat, joins the war effort in the trenches where he finds success leading a group of men.

Robbie, who originally hailed from slums in Scotland but who managed via a scholarship to become a talented surgeon, is assigned to a field hospital where he serves as Captain Fraser.

They all keep up a stream of good, old-fashioned correspondence, which helps them maintain close ties. They continue to do so even after Miss Ashford, as Lilly calls herself after her break with her family, is assigned as an ambulance driver to the same field hospital that Robbie works at.

Somewhere in France is most definitely a love story though it takes a while for that love to be discovered and then years for it to be exposed.

WHAT TO BE AWARE OF IN THIS BOOK


Somewhere in France Book Review
If you decide to read this book, you might like to know that there is a lengthy sex scene and that, of course, there is violence.

Since all three are working near the front lines in the Great War, it is inevitable that this story includes scenes from the injuries received by those fighting the war and those injuries and the resulting treatments were not nice for the patient or the professional who had to treat him.

You might not expect the fairly lengthy sex scene. However, I think that it was handled beautifully. It demonstrates how some women, particularly those in the upper class, were so protected from realities of life that they knew literally nothing about sexuality and reproduction.

There is some discussion on the website GoodReads about this very issue Some writers call the scene short, which I would not. Others comment about how it important the scene was for the relationship of two adult individuals who would have been married years before if not for the war and because of the historical facts it demonstrated about the lack of knowledge about procreation on the part of the main character and presumably other women of the era.  Lilly's partner was actually forced into the position of educating her on the topic. As one writer said, the scene is not anything like Fifty Shades of Grey. It is beautifully handled though perhaps longer than it needed to be. If this subject matter is of concern to you, you might like to read the discussion for yourself by visiting GoodReads.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Don’t let these things turn you off this book. Somewhere in France is definitely a page turner, a love story with drama and suspense and a look into the life of people who lived and worked directly on the battlefields during the Great War, the war to end all wars. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. I have to say now that I agree with the comment on the cover that if you love Downton Abbey, you will enjoy this book. You can find your copy in whatever format you prefer on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda

More Downton Abbey Reading:

Buy your copy of Somewhere in France on Amazon.
Watch the Downton Abbey Christmas video parodies.
Find the beautiful Downton Abbey teacups.
Discover the period drama Lark Rise to Candleford.







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