Monday, March 11, 2019

The Side Job by Don Lubov



This is the story of Maggie Gomez — an unwed, unskilled mother of a sickly daughter. She lives a hardscrabble life on the underside of Las Vegas. As her daughter’s health deteriorates, Maggie's need for money for an operation skyrockets. Maggie was vulnerable and defeated early in life. Her long-suppressed strength blossoms and Maggie becomes “La Femme Nikita”. As Maggie gets more involved with her loan shark boss and his crew, her world begins to spiral out of control. Her simultaneous involvement with a gangster and the detective investigating him turns her life into a soap opera of emotions. She must figure out how to escape her under- world life, protect her daughter, and live happily ever after.

My Thoughts

Oh boy.  What can I say about this book?...

This was a struggle.  I finished it in less than an hour and, honestly, I didn't love it.  I'm sad!  I hate giving bad reviews.  I really do!

The plot wasn't bad.  Seriously, this had the potential of being a really good book.  However, the execution just wasn't there for me.

I really don't have much to say about this book, unfortunately.  It just wasn't for me.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Hearts Abroad by Skye McNeil



When a fun-loving American nanny turns a millionaire British single dad’s world upside down, it’s inevitable life is going to get complicated.

Taking a break from screenwriting in New York City, Londyn Bellerose takes a nannying job in Colorado to get away from the hubbub. A summer to live without regrets is all she wants. While her boss is British, gorgeous, and a millionaire, he has no clue how to have fun. Determined to mend the relationship between father and daughters, Londyn doesn’t expect to fall for the museum curator.

Londyn is American and everything Callum Archer swore to never fall for again. With her carefree spirit and energetic smile, she’s perfect to nanny Callum’s two daughters. The problem is she’s also perfect for him. She’s sassy, musical, and tends to speak her mind more than she means to.

When old history and new dreams threaten her happily ever after, will Londyn and Callum’s love survive?

Hearts Abroad is book one in Skye McNeil’s romantic comedy series, Atlas. Each book contains a millionaire to envy, snort-worthy comedy, and visits to many beautiful cities in the world. Yes, all of that, plus each novel ends with a fabulous HEA. 

My Thoughts

Well, this book was exactly what I expected.  That's not necessarily a bad thing... or a great thing.

While I did enjoy the story line, there were times that it was a bit predictable.  In all fairness, that is how majority of romancy type books are so it wasn't a surprise.  I did like the characters and was happy with the ending so that's always a good thing!

Now, I do have to say, on my blog I do specify that I don't like to read and review books with bad language and *things* that I wouldn't want my daughter to come across and read (if you get what I'm saying).  This book did have both.  So, that wasn't great.

Overall, the book was a fun, easy read but with my stipulations I am only giving it 3 stars.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hamlet Park by Mark Lages



Join Michael Tomlin as he jets through a surreal all night journey into the heart and soul of the American dream.  It all takes place in Hamlet Park, his childhood stomping ground.  In his vivid imagination, and under the light of a full moon, he meets up with one unforgettable character after another in a rapid-fire and spellbinding series of encounters.  You'll meet an ex-slave who never dies, a millionaire computer-gaming wunderkind in search of true love, a preacher who holds his services in the dark, and many more!  This is a must read for anyone who's enjoyed Mark Lages's previous books, and it's a great place to start for those who are new to Lages's writing.  Hamlet Park is a truly unique experience with many thought-provoking ideas, and, best of all, it has an ending that will surprise you and make you smile.

My Thoughts

I tried, guys.  I really tried.  I wanted to like this book!  When I received the review request I honestly thought it sounded really good.  Man, the disappointment.

Here's the thing, the minute I realized that he left his daughter's wedding I started questioning what I was reading.  And, I think I was expecting the different characters to be quirky and fun.  I didn't find that to be true.  Not for me anyways.

I don't know, guys.  This one was a struggle.  The desire to dnf this one was real for me.  I'm thinking that I should have.

I really hate to give a negative review!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Chasing the Blue Sky by Will Lowrey



"This is one of the most beautiful books I have read." - Pamela King, author of For the Love of a Dingo

"It's a powerful, gripping, and emotional read, difficult to put down." - Rosepoint Publishing 

"Most highly recommended" Readers Favorite (5 Stars)

In the sweltering heat of a Clay County summer, a chained dog gives birth to a spirited, black puppy named Toby. Taken from his mother's side at just a few weeks old, Toby soon wins the love of an adoring family. But just as quickly, he finds himself struggling to survive in the unforgiving world of the county animal shelter.

But he's not alone - a motley cast of homeless dogs and a devoted pair of shelter workers will give anything to make sure Toby makes it out alive.

Chasing the Blue Sky is the compelling, emotional story of one dog's journey to find his place in the great big world.

My Thoughts

Oh my word!  This book just destroyed me!  I am a huge puddle on the ground right now!

This book is certainly beautifully written but my heart can't take it.  Not one bit!  Anyone that has been around me at all knows that I am an animal lover.  My heart breaks each and every time I see a stray running around.  I cry if I see a dog chained up outside and it looks the least bit unhappy.  So, I'm sure you can imagine what this book did to me.

Here I am, sitting in my classroom (I'm a teacher) reading while my class is on break... sobbing!

Yes, this book is wonderfully written.  Yes, the message is extremely important.  However, if you don't think that your emotions can handle reading about extreme sadness and neglect.... don't read it!  My heart is literally aching right now!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Ready or Not, Here We Come! by Carey V. Azzara



While her parents are busy, little Leona and her dogs want something to do. They decide on a game of hide and seek, but only Leona hides. Now the dogs must find her. When they do, the question becomes, "Now what?"

My Thoughts

This is a cute little children's book.  The illustrations are especially cute!

As a mom, I kind of don't appreciate that the baby crawled out of the house and is laying under a wood pile and the dogs find her and struggle to get her out before the parents even notice that she's gone... but I guess that's the mom in me.  I have to remember that it's just a children's story!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Spitfire by Evan Balkan

Image result for spitfire by evan balkan


Baltimore, 1952 
With her father fighting in the Korean War, bigotry in her school, and the desire to play a “boy’s sport,” one girl struggles to find her place in the world.
Caroline Panski harbors one dream: to play ice hockey. But, as the neighborhood boys―and her mother―tell her: Boys play hockey; girls figure skate. Caroline, however, refuses to give up, and she navigates her world with determination. Knowing that her beloved father is fighting for freedom far away in Korea saddens her but also gives her strength. And when her school is integrated and she develops a crush on an African- American student, she will need strength and courage to stand up to her classmates just to be his friend. In the end, Caroline’s is a difficult and imperfect world, but one that allows for moments of triumph and friendship. 

My Thoughts

I am having such conflicting feelings on this book!  I'm in a real struggle.  In some ways this book was really good.  In others, well, that where the struggle comes in.

Remember, these are just my thoughts.  My opinions and mine alone.  Let me explain why I'm struggling.  Ok....

So the book begins with Caroline desperately wanting to go outside to play hockey.  She's not allowed at the time because of the weather.  No big deal, no drama.  But then the story gets a sad feeling when it talks about her father being gone in the war.  Once again, that is expected.

Now, sometime in the second chapter the story gets into black people beginning to come into the "white" schools.  It gets super real and harsh from this point on!  I don't want to give spoilers but I will say that the "n" words is in the book a lot!  And, while I do recognize that this word was said a lot back in those days, this is 2019 and this is a middle grade book!  I wouldn't want my middle grade child reading this word over and over!

Spitfire is not a short book.  It is almost 350 pages long.  And let me say that nothing positive or happy happened until probably the last 50 pages or so!  As a matter of fact, there are at least 10 things that are horribly sad in this book!  I just find that to be a bit heavy for a middle grade book.  I cried, like majorly cried, a few different times while reading this.

If this book was an adult novel or even a YA I might feel different, but this is for young kids!  I'd say ages 8-12.  I just really feel like the subject matter and the words that were used are way too much for that age group.  For that reason I am giving this book a 2.5 stars.  I hate that but that's just how I feel.  It made me feel so sad and I just think that's a lot of emotion for a child to deal with when reading a book.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Girls Are Gone by Michael Brodkorb & Allison Mann



On the evening of April 19, 2013, Samantha and Gianna Rucki disappeared. Two of five children born to David Rucki and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, the teenage sisters vanished in the midst of their parents divorce.

The girls father, David Rucki, worked tirelessly with law enforcement to search day and night for his two missing daughters, following every lead while raising three remaining children at home. Their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, used her newfound freedom to vacation around the world, abandoning her children. And as the investigation intensified, catching the attention of the media, Sandra also disappeared.

The Girls Are Gone is the true story of two sisters who went missing, the father who kept searching, and the adults who conspired to keep the truth hidden.

My Thoughts

Oh how I love crime shows, books, documentaries, and everything like that!  I was so incredibly excited to receive this book to review!  It's seriously one of my favorite genres.

First of all, I am shocked that I knew nothing about this case!  I realize that it all occurred in Minnesota and I don't live there, but still!  I had never heard anything about this.

Now, while I do wish that this book read a bit more like a story rather than facts and court documents, I still really enjoyed this book.  I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that all of this really went down.  It's crazy!

If you are at all interested in true crime/missing people cases, you will probably really enjoy reading this.  It's not a short book by any means (over 300 pages) but it goes by pretty fasr because you just get so drawn in!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.