Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Ugly Teapot (Book One: Hannah) by Fred Holmes




Summary

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Bradbury loved her father so much that she worried about him constantly. After all, he was a photographer who traveled to the most dangerous places in the world. 

To allay her fears, each time he came home he brought her silly gifts, each one with supposed magical powers: the Seal of Solomon, the Ring of Gyges, even Aladdin’s Lamp. It was that lamp Hannah found the most unbelievable, for it looked like an ugly teapot. Nevertheless, her father assured her it was real, and made her promise to save her three wishes for something very special. 

Then . . . six months later . . . the unthinkable happened. Her father was killed while on assignment to Baghdad. And so on the day of his funeral Hannah did something she never thought she would ever do. 

She took out that teapot and gave it a rub . . . 

The Ugly Teapot by Fred Holmes is a timeless tale, filled with magic and adventure. More importantly, it will make you believe in the overwhelming power of love.



My Thoughts

Here I am, a few days after finishing The Ugly Teapot, and I am still going back and forth on how I really feel about this book.  There were things I liked, and there were definitely things I didn't really care for.  We'll see if I can figure out my feelings by the time I finish writing this review.

The very beginning of this book had my heart twisted.  My heart hurt for Hannah.  One thing that gets me every time is the emotion of a person losing someone that they love.  So, at the start, I was all in.  It was looking good.

Then, Hannah's dog walked in and talked to her...
I was not expecting that.  At all.  Griff, the dog, talks to her subliminally so no one else hears it.  I wasn't a fan of this part of the story.

I also want to add that, for a middle grade book, The Ugly Teapot has a lot of goriness (if that's a real word) in it.  Breaking of fingers, slashing of throats, and much more.  It took me by surprise!  Another thing I wasn't exactly a fan of.

Ok, so toward the end something happened that seemed to bring it all together and made it make sense.  Kind of a WHAT?!?! moment!  I don't want to say what happened because it is a major point of the book.  Anyways, it made me feel better about some of the other things I read, with the exception of something that happens with the dog.  I didn't like that part.

However, then there was something at the very end.  Something that, I realize, needed to be there to make the book part of a series.  But, I felt like it cancelled out the part that made everything make sense to me.  It was an interesting twist though!

Overall, I think I liked the book.  I'm pretty sure I did.  I definitely didn't hate it!  Pick it up and decide how you feel about it!

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Organizing For Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases by Jane Stoller



Summary

Organizing is a lifestyle, but it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Incorporating organizing into your life shouldn’t, ultimately, involve changing who you are, but rather maximizing it. Knowing where your favourite socks are, and having them stored correctly, means you’ll be able to wear your favourite socks more often, and look better doing it. Similarly, packing properly for a once-in-a-lifetime trip means you’ll be able to enjoy that trip even more. Remember: being organized doesn’t mean thinking about organizing all the time. Ideally, being organized means that you don’t have to think about organizing all the time—because you do it automatically, as an organic part of your everyday routine. And you can only reach this level of organizing bliss by making sure your organizing systems and routines are perfectly adapted to your goals, personality, and needs. Again: organizing is a lifestyle, but it needs to be your lifestyle. This is the mantra of the book, even though reference's to certain things that everyone should always do, such as labelling, folding, and ironing (to name a few) are included. Emphasis is placed on the basics and then adapting them your own lifestyle and goals.


My Thoughts

Oh My Word!!! This book came at just the right time!  I had been feeling a little overwhelmed by clutter and I wanted to much to organize things better.  When asked if I would like to read and review this book I jumped at the chance!

I took my time reading and I implemented some of the different ideas and suggestions.  Obviously, not everything will work for everyone but I definitely took plenty that worked for me!  I found that it wasn't as overwhelming as I thought it was going to be.

I don't want to go into too many details because, well, you need to get the book for yourself!  But, let me say that I even changed the way I fold my bath towels!  It may not seem like a very big deal but it actually is because I have been folding my towels that same way since I was about 8 years old and my mom taught me!

If you are ready to get more organized, do some decluttering, and just feel more in control of your daily habits and lifestyle then pick up this book!  You won't be sorry!

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

The Quest of the Golden Apple by Geoffrey Angapa




Summary

The Quest of the Golden Apple is something of a fairy tale or a traditional fantasy. Having a fair share of wonders and a fair bit of travel, it follows the adventure of Geoffrey and the Dragon.


My Thoughts


I quite enjoy reading Fairy Tales, always have, so when asked to read this book I happily accepted.  I personally felt that this book is more geared toward children so it wasn't exactly my preferred choice in a book.  Normally I would hand it off to my daughter but she was already in the middle of a book :)

So, I had to get my mind set as this being a children's book so that I could write an acceptable review!  The Quest of the Golden Apple turned out to be a cute little book, less than 100 pages, with a fun storyline.  There were some editing issues that could be addressed, but not anything that would make you want to stay away from reading it.

All in all, this was a pleasant read and I definitely know of a few young people that I will recommend it to.  Thanks for sending it to me, Geoffrey Angapa!

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan



Summary

What if the one thing meant to keep you alive was used to kill you? 

Embattled CEO Jack Getty is nervous. This is his final chance to save his company. He is announcing his firm's breakthrough discovery at the world’s largest annual biotech conference. A discovery that trials show will extend human life by 75%. But as Jack approaches the podium, he suffers a major heart attack and collapses onto the stage, stunning the conference attendees. 

Jack is rushed to the emergency room where surgeons implant the latest Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker, saving his life in the process. What Jack doesn’t know, however, is that an underground hacking group has its sights set on manipulating his “secure” pacemaker to get information only he can provide. Despite the hackers unrelenting terror, Jack refuses to give them what they want and soon starts to uncover the true motives of this mysterious and powerful group. 

Fast-paced and complex, this medical/techno thriller twists and turns as it stays one step ahead of the reader. Readers will find it a heart-pounding novel that dances on the fringe of the dangers lurking within today's modern technologies.



My Thoughts

Whew!  What a book!  Being in a family that has frequent heart problems, Cardiac really makes you think about how advanced modern medicine can be.  If I ever have to have a pacemaker some day I will probably be a bit of  nervous wreck!

This is a great book.  It is very action packed and it keeps you on your toes wanting more!  I had a hard time putting it down!  What is better than a book that you NEVER want to put down?!  Not much!

Cardiac is a must read!  Thanks so much, Jeff Monaghan, for sending this amazing book to me!

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

American Gilt: Debut by J. D. Peterson




Summary

American Gilt Debut (Vol 1) Based on a true story of the Gilded Age Newport, R.I. 1880 - American debutante Sara Swan Whiting has been trained for one purpose: to marry well into society. Together with her friends, Carrie Astor and Edith Jones (Wharton) Sara debuts into society and is introduced to the bachelors of New York's wealthy families, hoping to find the perfect marriage. 'Ethereally beautiful' and 'the spirit of the ball', Sara garners many suitors. But none steal her heart, until destiny steps in and she is introduced to Oliver Belmont, the handsome son of financier August Belmont. Raised in the privileged style of his family's wealth, Oliver is pressured by his father to find a suitable vocation, but prefers a gentleman's life of leisure. Sent to the naval academy by his parents, he begs to resign, and then shows up at his mother's Paris suite unannounced - away without leave. Oliver begins to realize marriage will offer him freedom from his father's constant insistence on a career, and he sets his sights on the naive and beautiful Miss Whiting. Smitten with Oliver's charms, Sara begins courting the handsome Mr. Belmont. While on an afternoon outing Oliver spontaneously proposes marriage, breaking protocol by not getting his parents approval first. Sara accepts the proposal - only to discover his parents disapprove of the match. In an effort to squelch the romance, Oliver is sent to Germany for an internship with his father's banking associate, Mr. Rothschild. In an age when royal titles and large dowries were exchanged through marriage, Oliver and Sara find themselves forced to deal with the decorum of Gilded Age society while embracing their newfound love. What develops is a story that will transport you through time as 'American Gilt - Debut' unfolds. With information gathered from letters, historical newspapers and personal interviews, J. D. Peterson skillfully weaves a compelling tale based on the true account of the Belmont-Whiting Scandal of 1883. Previously published as "SWAN SONG - The Vocation of Marriage"


My Thoughts

I love reading books that make you feel like you're sneaking a peek at someone's life.  American Gilt: Debut does just that.  I used to think that Historical fiction books would be boring but I have definitely changed my mind about that.  My new found love for Historical fiction runs pretty deep!  With this book being about a real person, well it just makes it even better.

When a book can transport you to another time and place while you are reading it there's nothing better.  You know you have found a great book.  I really enjoyed reading about Sara Whiting.  I found myself cheering her on and also wanting to yell warnings to her!  

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I plan to get the next two in the series.  Thank you, J. D. Peterson for sending your book to me!  I loved it!

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Sickness In Time by M.F. Thomas and Nicholas Thurkettle



Goodreads Summary

THE MOST DANGEROUS OPERATION

In 2038, the human race is in a death spiral, and most people do not even know it yet. Technology that was supposed to make us better and stronger instead is birthing a strange and terrible plague we may not be able to stop. When the young daughter of Josh Scribner, a wealthy tech entrepreneur, starts to succumb to the illness, he dedicates his fortune in a desperate effort to save her life. Working with a friend & celebrated physicist, Josh develops the ability to send objects back through time. Their goal to recruit an agent in the past who might change our fatal path.

In our present day, a broken and traumatized Air Force veteran finds a strange message in the woods, drawing her into an adventure spanning decades. All humanity is at stake, as she and her small group of friends become the unlikely heroes taking up the secret fight against our future doom.

MF Thomas and Nicholas Thurkettle, authors of the acclaimed sci-fi thriller Seeing by Moonlight, are back with this time-twisting adventure that asks if our own destiny can be healed.


My Thoughts

It took a little bit to get into this book, a few chapters or so, but then once I got into it I didn't want to stop.  It definitely kept my attention.  I have recently found a love for time travel books and I've always liked suspenseful type books so A Sickness In Time fell into the 'My kind of book' category!

Each chapter went back and forth from future to present and you would think that it would make it confusing, but it didn't at all.  Also, the science part of the story was very believable and not confusing for me!  I know pretty much nothing about 'science things' so there have been several times when science fiction books were a little over my head.  This book wasn't like that.  I didn't feel lost or confused.

A Sickness In Time stayed at a pretty good pace and wasn't predictable.  There were plot twists that made the story interesting and enjoyable.  Well done, Thomas and Thurkettle!  Thanks for a great book!

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

When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell



Goodreads Summary

In a few hours, Millie will say “I do” to Bump Anderson, a man who loves her through and through. But would he love her if he knew the secret she keeps?
Millie’s mind is racing and there seems to be no clear line between right and wrong. Either path leads to pain, and she’ll do anything to protect the ones she loves. So she decides to bury the truth and begin again, helping Bump launch a ranch in the wilds of Colorado. But just when she thinks she’s left her old Mississippi life behind, the facts surface in the most challenging way.

That’s when Millie’s grandmother, Oka, arrives to help. Relying on her age-old Choctaw traditions, Oka teaches Millie the power of second chances. Millie resists, believing redemption is about as likely as moving mountains. But Oka stands strong, modeling forgiveness as the only true path to freedom.

Together, Bump, Millie, and Oka fight against all odds to create a sustainable ranch, all while learning that the important lessons of their pasts can be used to build a beautiful future.


My Thoughts

I was a little concerned that I would be lost since I didn't read the first book of this series, but I was able to jump in fairly quickly.  Not that jumping in was easy... Well, it was easy as far as catching up and all, but the dramatic beginning was... well... dramatic!  This book started out with an intense storyline where Millie is basically having a flashback/memory of her rape that happened just 6 weeks earlier.  I certainly wasn't expecting that!

When Mountains Move is a beautiful story of love, strength, trust, relationships, faith, and, while it's a historical fiction, it has the feel of a YA/Coming of age type story.  It is absolutely beautifully written and I am in love with it!  I definitely want to purchase the first book so that I can read it, of course, and also collect the series.

I love reading books that stick with you for a while after you have finished and this one certainly will stick with me.  Another time I am so thankful that I love to read and am blessed with the opportunity to have books sent to me that I might not have picked up on my own!

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh




Goodreads Summary

On a cold autumn night, twelve-year-old Remi Cobb makes a startling discovery—a mysterious object floating on the pond in her backyard. With no idea where it came from, or how it got there, Remi is compelled to unravel its secrets. Her quest for answers takes her on a perilous journey across realities, where she finds a crumbling world—and the dark forces behind its ruin. Here she learns the truth about her connection with the strange object, and of those that will stop at nothing to destroy them both. 

But even if she can find a way to survive, can she find a way home?



My Thoughts

When Jonathan Ballagh asked me if I would like to read this book I couldn't say yes fast enough!  I really enjoyed The Quantum Door so I was really excited to read The Quantum Ghost.  Even though both books are geared for middle grade readers, I really enjoyed them both.

If you haven't read The Quantum Door yet, no worries!  You can still read The Quantum Ghost and not be lost!  Remi is a whole new protagonist, I love her btw, and the story is different as well.  Brady and Felix, boys from the previous book, are mentioned and explained a bit but you won't necessarily feel the loss of the first book if you don't read it first.  Although, you really should read The Quantum Door anyways!

I actually read the first book right at a year ago while on vacation and I read this book while vacationing as well!  They seem to be great vacation reads for me.  Not too long and not too short.  Just the right amount for good world and character building.  Especially good for middle grade readers who tend to shy away from somewhat lengthier books.

Thank you, Jonathan Ballagh, for another great book!

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

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee



Goodreads Summary

'Family curses don't exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don't think so.'

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.



My Thoughts

This book had me on the edge of my seat!  I wasn't completely sure what I was reading about, all I knew was that I wanted to keep reading.  So, so good!

I have been on vacation this week and, let me tell you, this was the perfect vacation read.  I loved how the chapters went back and forth from the past to the present.  I've read books that did that before that seemed confusing but this one flowed in a way that didn't confuse you.  Now, there were other things in Broken Branches that confused me, however, it wasn't because of the writing style.

Some things were left kind of open and unexplained.  I'm still not completely sure why Ian's brother and father became so distant from him, especially his brother.  Actually, Im not exactly sure if that really happened at all not that I think about it...

No matter what, somewhat confusing parts and all, I thoroughly enjoyed Broken Branches!  Thank you, Hideaway Fall, for sending this book my way!  I highly recommend it!

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern



Goodreads Summary

"Madam Tulip! Actress, fortune-teller, psychic, sleuth!" 

When out-of-work actress Derry O'Donnell moonlights as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip in an English Stately home, she’s trying to make some cash. 
Instead, she is drawn into an alien world of wealth, titled privilege and family secrets. 

A countess once a chorus girl, a gambling earl and his daughters, a cultured and handsome art expert—all caught in a terrifying web of ghastly threats, murder and 
abduction. As an aristocratic engagement party turns into a nightmare, Derry and her friend Bruce face the prospect of a gruesome and infamous death. 

Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and 
reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.


My Thoughts

Madam Tulip is back and I couldn't be more excited!  I loved the first book and, if possible, I think I loved this one even more!  So much mystery and excitement, definitely a hit!

Davis Ahern has a way of writing that you can totally create the scenes in your mind.  It makes me want it to be a movie or television show!  Well, maybe not, the books are always better.  I'll continue to let my imagination play in my head for now.

If you like funny, exciting murder mystery type books (maybe like the Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum books) you will definitely love these!  I certainly adore Derry O'Donnell/Madam Tulip and all her antics and adventures!  This book keeps you on your toes for sure!

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

Dangerous Skies by Brian James



Goodreads Summary

It's the height of the Blitz. Night after night, waves of German bombers pound London streets determined to bring the city to its knees.

As the air-raid sirens wail, Alan and his best mates, Tommy and Wilkie, skip school to play among the bombed out homes of their neighbors. They are soon sucked into a gang of looters run by infamous Duggie, but the police are on their tail and catching up quickly. Even if they escape, they could still fall victim to the dangerous skies above them. 

This thrilling story, based on the author’s own experiences growing up during the Blitz, is an antidote to nostalgia. It shows the terrors of the Blitz and how war brings out both the best and the worst in adults and children alike. 



My Thoughts

Although this book is considered a Children's Fiction I found it to be extremely interesting for adults as well.  The concept of a book written about such a horrendous war time from the perspective of a child is such a wonderful idea.  So well written, for children and adults.

Reading about the war from a 10 year old child's perspective had my heart and stomach in knots.  Just the thought of children going to school and hearing names called out during roll call of children that weren't there because of injury or death from bombs... it's a hard thing to think about.  It is sad to think that during such rough times people then turn on each other and loot and vandalize as well.  The contrast between the normal childhood days and games and then the issues of war that had to become somewhat normal to them at times was gut wrenching.

Dangerous Skies is definitely a book to read.  Being that it is a children's book, the war isn't described in gory or graphic details but you are still educated on the subject.  Children of ALL ages will enjoy reading about Alan and his friends.

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


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pattern of Deceit by Leigh Duncan



Goodreads Summary

Finding her long-lost father was the easy part... 

Following the hit-and-run death of her grandmother, Meridith Woodson discovers that her entire life has been based on a lie. Leaving everything she’s ever known behind, she sets out to unravel the truth. Her journey takes her to the Amish countryside outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she infiltrates a demanding religious cult to meet its founder—her father. 

The ink has barely dried on Brad Lang’s medical license when yet another odd accident lands a raven-haired tourist on his exam table. Concerned for her safety, Brad warns Meridith away from the ragtag sect on the outskirts of town, but his fears mount when she falls under the spell of the group’s charismatic leader and disappears behind the compound’s fortified walls. 

With guards monitoring her every move, Meridith quickly discovers that gaining acceptance among The Prepared was the easy part. Escaping—even with Brad’s help—will require more strength and courage than she possesses.



My Thoughts

I read this book in two days...it would have been one day but I started it really late at night so I only read for an hour on that first night.  My point is that it was so good I didn't want to put it down.  Once again, my responsibilities were put on hold for a book!  I don't regret it at all!

I loved Meridith, I loved Brad, and I obviously loved them together.  Of course, there were plenty of characters that I didn't like AT ALL, but they were necessary for the story.  Guys, I just really enjoyed this book.

I think I say this kind of often, but I have never read a book like this before.  Honestly!  I've never ever read a book about a cult.  I was super intrigued!  And, I was very pleased with the ending.  Too often a book with a really good beginning and middle gets ruined by a bad ending.  This was not the case with Pattern of Deceit!

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I highly recommend picking this book up!  I really don't think you'll be disappointed.

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Chance Beginning by Christopher Patterson




Goodreads Summary



Erik Eleodum is a simple man. He doesn’t want to be a hero. He doesn’t need fame or fortune. He is content farming his family’s homestead in northern Háthgolthane and raising a simple family, like his father, for the rest of his life. In fact, adventure is the last thing on his mind. 


Befel, Erik’s brother, and Bryon, his cousin, can’t think of anything worse than farming for the rest of their lives. They want to be heroes. They want fame and fortune. They want to leave their families and go east, to the country of Golgolithul, where they are sure to find easy wealth and great adventure. 
But when these three young men leave their farmstead, they quickly discover the world is not so simple, not so easy. Most fortune is laden with treachery, fame must be earned with blood, and adventures are rarely grand. Ideas of grandeur are crushed and the road east is hard. To get there, these men must ultimately sell their swords and become friends with thieves, dwarves, soldiers, and mercenaries well past their prime. They battle a band of ruthless slavers, slip past assassins, and experience the deadly consequences of black magic. 
Will Erik ever be able to return to the simple life? Will he unwittingly become famous, become rich, become a hero? Or, will he even survive? 
Often the deeds of those deemed smaller, either in stature or status, go uncounted by chroniclers of history. Yet, it is these deeds that repeatedly change the course of history. For every hero whose feats minstrels sing, there were fifty men following his stead, giving blood and sweat just as he did; and because they were not the first to return from a long voyage away, or perhaps they did not return at all, their glories are never sung. This is a story about those men who would only be known in the local legends, who would have been forgotten by time save for a small bit of chance. Chance, Fate, Destiny, Dumb Luck; all these and more, and then maybe none of these things, are the reasons a young man can go from a farmer’s son, a boy of lowly birth born with dirt on his face, to a great warrior, a kingly knight, a dragon slayer. 
Three young farmers, tired of plowing endless fields from sunrise to sunset, gave up all they knew to pursue fame, pursue riches. Their crying mothers at their backs and the unknown ahead of them, they worked in pigsties, slept in the alleys of outskirt cities, traveled with strangers and shed blood unwillingly. They trusted men they should not have trusted, and did not trust those they should have. These young men who left their way of life for fame and glory would soon learn, as most young men full of grand ideas and just ideals do, the world is not what they thought it to be.

My Thoughts

A Chance Beginning is the first book in the Shadow's Fire Trilogy.  I was pretty intrigued after reading the synopsis.  It seemed fairly different than books I have read in the past.

First of all, let's talk about the cover!  It is so pretty!  It caught my eye immediately!

This isn't your typical fantasy book.  There were a several elements that were new to me, but there really wasn't as much focus on the magical things usually found in a fantasy.  This book truly is focused on the main characters, which I found to be pleasantly surprising. 

Before I go any farther, I do want to say that I did enjoy this book.  There were a lot of things I liked, things that kept my attention and kept me interested.  Now, this book wasn't without faults.  As far as the story itself, it didn't have the wow factor that you expect from fantasies.  As a matter of fact, at times it felt like a simple fiction rather than an actual fantasy. The ending was left open, but not the typical 'open' you expect with the first book in a series. It just wasn't clear enough, I guess.  I feel like a lot of things could have been fixed with better editing.

With that being said, I really don't think this was a bad book.  Actually, it was a pretty good book.  There were just a few things that I would fix up.  It almost seemed more of a coming of age type book than a fantasy so that may be why I couldn't wrap my head around it as much.

Now, even with the things I pointed out, I would still recommend reading A Chance Beginning.  I'm certainly not against reading the next books in the trilogy!  I would love to find out what happens next!

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

Class of '59 by John A. Heldt




Goodreads Summary

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.

In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.

Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.



My Thoughts

This is the second book by John A Heldt that I have had the pleasure of reading and, once again, I was not at all disappointed.  As a matter of fact, I read this book in one sitting!  I really enjoy the time travel story lines!  

One thing that I appreciated about Class of '59 was how the chapters were from the characters perspectives.  For example, one chapter would be from Mary Beth's perspective, the next would be from Mark's perspective, then another character, and so on...
That normally bothers me but it really worked in this book.

I keep going back and forth about which character was my favorite.  I really liked Mary Beth but I really liked Piper!  Honestly, I loved all of them! Except Ear Man, I definitely didn't like Ear Man.

Thank you so much, John Heldt, for sending another wonderful book my way!  I mean, really, I have to be one of the luckiest people alive!  Wonderful books are sent to me just so that I can read them and post reviews!  Seriously people, do yourself a favor and get this book!

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Fountain by Suzy Vadori



Goodreads Summary

Careful what you wish for. It just might come true. 

In the forbidden West Woods, Ava stumbles on the secret fountain that has granted wishes to St. Augustus students for generations. Unknowingly, she watches the coin she tosses disappear and with it the world around her as she knows it.

In a quest to undo the damage she’s done, she and alumni kid Ethan break every campus rule unravelling a tangled web of history. Ava discovers that what’s right isn’t always clear and finds herself torn between a love she’s always known and one she has yet to explore.

The Fountain is a Prix Aurora Award 2016 Finalist For Best Young Adult Novel.



My Thoughts

It had been a while since I received this book review request.  I'm not sure how I had skipped over it, but accidents happen!  Anyways, as soon as I realized what happened, I put it on my kindle and started reading.  I didn't take the time to read the synopsis, I just jumper right in.  Going in without a clue is a lot of fun sometimes but it can also be confusing as well.

The Fountain gets you right from the beginning!  As soon as I read the first chapter I was hooked.  I remembered the review request, the synopsis, and I was immediately excited!

Now, while this book did have some of the typical characters (all-american girl, the boyfriend, the cute boy at school, the mean girl, the cheerleaders, etc...) it wasn't at all a typical book.  The ending, for example, was a wonderful surprise!  Not at all what I expected to happen.

If you can't already tell, I enjoyed The Fountain very much and I highly recommend it!  It wasn't completely without flaws, but honestly, what book is?  Very enjoyable and entertaining!

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Bicycle Built For Two Billion by Jamie Bianchini



Synopsis

Jamie Bianchini needed a lift. A big one. After a series of spectacular business flops drove him into bankruptcy and the love of his life kissed him goodbye, Jamie knew he needed a world of help. But instead of seeking assistance from a counselor or support group, Jamie sought comfort where he’d always found it…on his bicycle.

As his world hit rock bottom, Jamie hatched a crazy plan that just might make everything right. His life lacked purpose, passion, and connection with his fellow man. So Jamie decided to go for a bicycle ride…around the world…on a tandem…solo…inviting everyone he met to join him for a spin.

A Bicycle Built for Two Billion is the moving story of an audacious optimist who tried to change the world – while hoping the world would change him – one rider at a time. A heartfelt, hilarious, adrenaline-fueled journey through 81 countries, A Bicycle Built for Two Billion will allow you to see the planet in a way never experienced before.

Come join Jamie and his unforgettable cast of co-pedalers – from inspiring villagers to conniving thieves, romantic paramours to unlikely gurus, excited school kids to seniors who have never set foot on a pedal. Come join them all for the ride of your life.

Includes nearly 200 spectacular photos and videos captured around the world, bringing this rich story to life.


My Thoughts

This book made me want to jump on a bicycle and take off on a little trip of my own!  However, I am definitely not in shape to do so!  I don't think I would make it a mile down the road!

I enjoyed this book immensely.  I especially enjoyed the honesty and vulnerability of the author.  Many people may find things about Jamie to be fairly unlikeable at times but, like I said, his honesty and openness draws you in.

His story was so much more than I ever expected.  I was intrigued from the beginning and it held my attention to the very end.  I could close my eyes and picture every location, every adventure, every individual.  Such great storytelling that at times you forget that it's about his real life.  Pick it up!  You won't be disappointed.

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

Sock Fancy - An Awesome Sock Subscription Company!




First, let me say that this is not a book review.  However, this is really cool!

I received an email a few weeks ago from a company called Sock Fancy.  They asked if I would like for them to send a sample and, if I liked what I received, if I would be willing to tell my readers about their company.  I agreed and just about a week later a box was in my mailbox!

Sock Fancy is a sock subscription company.  Basically, choose to give the socks as a gift or subscribe for yourself, pick your sock size, choose your subscription length, and then checkout!  Awesome, random socks will be sent to you every month according to what subscription package you chose.

When I received the sample I was very pleasantly surprised!  I was expecting one, maybe two, pairs of socks.  They sent a box of six!  And they are such great quality!

I definitely recommend Sock Fancy!  What a great idea!  Check out their website and see for yourself!




Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Girl Who Could Read Hearts by Sherry Maysonave




Goodreads Summary

Intuitive as a child, Sherry Maysonave has had mystical experiences throughout her life. At the mere age of five, she had a direct experience of her soul existing separately from her physical body, which forever changed her perception of God, life on earth, and life in heaven.

Inspired by a vivid dream with Sherry’s deceased sister shouting from a mountaintop, this story—The Girl Who Could Read Hearts—was born. 

An inspirational novel, this moving story teems with intrigue while exploring the mysteries of intuition, angels, death, the afterlife, prejudice, and miracles. 

Born gifted with a rare seventh sense—the ability to read human hearts coupled with keen intuition—Kate Kindrick struggles to understand her capabilities. She is often bewildered by her unique perceptions, combined with seeing symbols and colors in people’s hearts. 

Kate’s parents fear that their young daughter suffers from delusional psychosis. Their concerns are intensified by her claims that she has conversations with an angel. Only her grandmother, who is gravely ill, and her uncle, a famous writer, encourage Kate to develop her gifts. 

Yet it’s her naiveté of the intuitive signs that augur trouble. When she doesn’t heed an inner warning, her world spins into a dangerous spiral that spells hazard for her and those she loves. Her antics land her cherished uncle in the hospital. His life hangs in the balance.

Just when she believes things couldn’t get worse, her life cascades down a doubly treacherous path. She is forced to spend extended time with her teenage cousin, Marilla Marzy, and the girl’s sinister father—Vaynem Moxsin. Tormented by both of them, she prays for rescue. Shocking events transpire.

This captivating novel explores issues relevant to many of today’s societal woes: prejudice, abuse, eating disorders, and limiting belief systems. It delves into the mysteries of death and of angels, plus intuition, finding God in all, and true love. 
Full of spirit, this poignant story brims with inspiration, daring, and hope.



My Thoughts

Although this book may have started out a bit slow for me, I almost put it down a few times, when it did pick up it basically flew!  The Girl Who Could Read Hearts gave me so many emotions throughout the story, a literal emotional journey.  Trust me, get past the first few chapters and you will be glad you stuck with it.

Kate was such a sweet character and you just want to wrap her up and protect her.  She was by far the best in the book.  There were definite "good guys" and "bad guys" portrayed in this book and they were made very clear.  No confusion or gray areas about who they were or what their motives were.

The Girl Who Could Read Hearts is well written and the concept of 'reading hearts' is creative and extremely interesting.  I'm so pleased to have been given the opportunity to read and review this book.

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Szen Zone by Gary Szenderski



Goodreads Summary

Szen Zone: Reaching a State of Positive Change, by Gary Szenderski, is a compilation of stand-alone short stories and observations that celebrate the power in each of us to create positive change in our lives, to be what we want to be. 

Where ZEN is of the moment and what is, SZEN celebrates what could be. 

Szen Zone contains lighthearted and positive narrative on life and its possibilities, with stories that cover the gamut from interesting to profound. 

The general overarching theme of the book is change and all of the aspects of it - creating, surviving, and managing change with the goal to recognize the power we have to create positive change in our lives and be what we want to be. 

If you are a fan of short inspirational stories like those in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, then this is a book you would certainly enjoy. Wherever you may find yourself in life, you will discover an insight or example in this book to help you change course and take charge of your life.



My Thoughts

When I was contacted about reading this book I was pretty excited, to say the least.  Reading other reviews and simply reading about the book itself had me checking the PO Box daily looking for this gem in the mail.  I wasn't disappointed.

This was exactly what I was looking for.  Something to read nightly, just before bed, that was uplifting and didn't consume a lot of my time.  One, or sometimes two, short stories a night.  I just loved it!  And the Szenippets were my favorite parts!

Thank you, Book Publicity Services, for sending this gem of a book to me!

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

The Other Side Of Courage




Goodreads Summary

Elizabeth Blackwell was a brave and persistent pioneer who overcame all adversities to earn a degree in medicine, becoming the first woman doctor in the world. Her path was not without suffering the constant throes of anger and antipathy from the all-male medical profession. However, despite this bitter and harsh treatment, Elizabeth was determined to prevail through stubborn courage and an iron-clad will and triumphed for the good of all society.


My Thoughts

Although I am sure that I have heard her name before, I can't remember learning much about Elizabeth Blackwell.  That is, at least, not until now.  The Other Side of Courage didn't really feel much like a fiction novel, but more like I was reading a biography of her life.  Those words may turn people away from reading this book if you're not really into reading biographies but, let me tell you, don't let it scare you.  While there were a few times when it felt a bit slow, it would soon turn and peak my interest again.  It is very well written and I really do recommend it.

Thank you, CyPress Publications, for sending it my way!

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

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Kena the Good Hyena: Left Out by Gabriela Arellano and Gustavo Mazali




Goodreads Summary

Kena's birthday is coming. The cub invites all his classmates to his party, except one: Bako. Kena's mom intervenes to have Bako invited as well.
At the end, Kena realizes that a single act of friendship can lead to a beautiful outcome.



My Thoughts

This was a cute little book with a great message.  As an elementary teacher, I am always trying to get the children to be kind and be friends with each other.  This book was a great tool in helping them to understand a little better why excluding each other can hurt feelings. I read it to my class and they didn't see it as a "lesson" but instead just a fun time of classroom reading.

Thank you, Gabriela Arellano, for sending this book to me!  I love having new books to read to my class!

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