Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jane of Manchester by J. G. Dow


Jane's life on the face of it isn't really too bad...she has great friends like party girl Natasha who's always up for a laugh and her close pal Polly, always there for her and of course her loving parents, but things could still be better... 

Most people she knows are either married or have kids and she has been single a while now and wonders if a good man is ever to be encountered again. The single life is far from a quiet one for Jane however, as she is constantly getting dragged to night clubs and bars by Natasha and the crew as well as enduring a particularly boozy weekend away at the seaside! 

Jane loves a lot about her life, disregarding rude plumbers in her flat and dealing with annoying superiors and a smug sister, but as a certain someone takes her eye, is everything about to change and get a whole lot more serious or is the single life determined to keep her captive a while longer yet...

My Thoughts

When I received an email requesting a review for this book I was pleased to too it!  It sounded like a fun read.  And, while it was a decent read, I'm not sure it was exactly for me.  I liked it well enough, I just didn't love it.

Jane of Manchester was a bit slow for me.  The storyline was good, it just didn't seem to keep me super interested.  I get several review requests a day, so I read several books a month.  I have so many to read that I have a hard time reading one that I'm not really enjoying.  If I'm not loving it I feel like I need to move on to the next!  This book didn't exactly make me feel the need to DNF it but the thought did pop into my mind occasionally that I could be reading something else.

I do have to say that this book did have kind of a Bridget Jone's Diary feel to it.  That was cool.  It made me want to watch those movies!  All in all, I didn't hate Jane of Manchester but I can't say that it was my favorite either.  I think I give it a 3.5 stars.

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

Monday, October 9, 2017

Penny by Peter Davidson


The life of a penny.

My Thoughts

Have you ever held a penny and thought about all the places that it has been?  Especially an old penny.  When I was a kid, when I would clean my room and, half the time, throw a penny in the trash if I saw it on my floor!  I've often wondered how many kids have done that and how many pennies are in dumps and landfills.

Well, this story basically follows a 1982, 95% copper penny.  You read several stories of the people that had the penny, ways it was spent (or stolen), times it was dropped or discarded, and many more.  There may not be many people like me who have literally looked at a penny and wondered where it has been, but clearly Peter Davidson is one.  And, honestly, even if you have never wondered it before, you will enjoy this book and it will make you think a little each time you hold a penny in your hand.

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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Gleam of Light by T. J. and M. L. Wolf


In 1995, at the age of eight, Una Waters survived a terrifying encounter at 30,000 feet aboard Flight 564 from Dallas to Las Vegas. It changed her forever. After 21 years, and a decade away from the Hopi Reservation where she grew up as a child, a surprise plea for help brings Una back, to solve a mystery that threatens their traditional way of life. The U.S. Army's sudden interest regarding a cave discovery in the Sacred Peaks has triggered alarm, leading to violence. With the help of friends, new and old, Una must confront her painful past, seek proof to qualify the ancient site for protection under law, and stand up to a stiff-necked general, whose agenda is more concerned with retrieving a mysterious power source.

My Thoughts

Let me start off by saying that A Gleam of Light isn't my favorite genre book.  I don't often enjoy many science fictiony books.  They just aren't my preference.  With that being said, I'm still not sure that my lack of love for this genre is the reason that I didn't really enjoy the book.

I actually had a few issues with it.  Not major issues, but when you add them up it makes for a lower rating.  First, I think that there was just too much going on in this book.  Too many themes and circumstances.  Maybe if they were all in individual books, or ever a few per book, it could have been a little better.

Next, I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters.  Usually when I read a book I connect with at least one of the characters.  I can either picture the situation they are in as if I'm living it or I can feel as if I know the person and can somewhat sympathize with the character.  I never felt a connection throughout this whole book.  It was very disappointing to me.  It makes a book really hard to read.

There were cringe-worthy lines and sections of the book that made it especially hard to read.  I came across another reviewer who brought up one line in the book (They laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at them because they are all the same) and she mentioned that she has come across that statement enough times that she wonders if it could be considered plagiarism and even if it isn't, it is such a cliche line to be used yet again.  There was also a part where Una started crying because her friend was crying and it was referred to as being a "woman thing."  Not my favorite part, for sure.

I think that the only thing I enjoyed about A Gleam of Light was learning some things about the Hopi Culture that I hadn't heard of before.  I haven't read many books about Native Americans before so I found that pretty interesting.

All in all, I didn't really care for this book.  I hate posting negative reviews.  It's heartbreaking to say negative things about something that someone worked so hard at.  However, I have vowed to be honest in my reviews.  No matter how hard it may be sometimes.

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Before I Forget: A Boyhood of Little Drama by Tom Turkington


Tom Turkington grew up in a small Cape cod town in mid-century, middle-class America. "Before I Forget" accurately recalls and vigorously explores those times and the author's place within them. This is far more than a narrative of a moment in history. With thoughtful insight and good-humored reflection, Mr. Turkington examines closely the events and individuals that shaped his life. What started out as a simple chronicle of memorable moments in his boyhood became an affectionately rendered tale of growing up, wherein we will find our own moments, our own histories and ourselves.

My Thoughts

Before I Forget is a wonderful book about Tom Turkington's life, from a young boy to an adult.  This book is simply Tom telling his life story, his memories.  There are moments of humor and just plain wonderfully average days.

I love reading books that give you glimpse into someone's life.  It makes you look back on your own life and take a trip down memory lane.  Thank you, Tom, for letting us peek into your 'boyhood of little drama.'

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gastric Girl: Seven Plus Years Beyond Bariatric Surgery by Nicola Travis


Ever wonder what happens after surgery? When the weight falls off and you become “normal”? That’s the catch. There is no normal. Life continues no matter what weight you are at. This memoir walks through a bariatric patient’s life after her surgery and the seven years that follow. The journey does not end after surgery. The emotional, physical, social and economic impacts of this surgery continues to affect both the patient and those that love her.

My Thoughts

While Gastric Girl: Seven Years Beyond Bariatric Surgery isn't the kind of book that I typically read, when I received the review request for this book I was immediately interested.  I have known a few people that have had weight loss surgeries, and there are questions that have come to my mind, but it feels weird to ask them such personal questions.  So, those questions that I have tend to go unasked.  With this book I was able to see what it is really like, what it feels like physically and emotionally, to go through this life changing surgery.

This book is a memoir.  It is personal to Nicola Travis' life.  I admire people who are brave enough and are willing to open up and tell their story to a bunch of strangers!  I'm not sure that I could do it!

Thank you, Nicola Travis, for sending this book to me and for sharing your story with everyone.

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

Jake's Nature Guide: Rocky Mountains by Mark Danenhauer


Welcome to the Rocky Mountains! Parents, children, and nature enthusiasts alike will find Jake’s Nature Guide an easy-to-read, informative, and easily accessible guidebook on their adventures through the Rockies. Bring Jake along to help you gain a deeper appreciation of one of America’s most breathtaking areas! You will not only learn how to identify plants and animals, but gain fascinating insights along the way. For example, did you know that while gathering food a bee may fly up to 60 miles in a day?

My Thoughts

This isn't a novel that you can read front to back and then tell how you liked, or didn't like, the storyline and/or writing style.  Jake's Nature Guide is just what it says, a guide.  It is a book of facts and information about plants, bugs, reptiles, animals, and fish that you can find around the Rocky Mountains.

I enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading about the different plants and animals.  My son, who likes books like this, read it next.  He enjoyed it too!  I then passed it on to a little boy who was in my class last year because this type of book is perfect for him!

Jake's Nature Guide is definitely a great book full of facts and information.  It is obvious that I recommend it being that I have already passed it along to two other people!

Thank you, Mark Danenhauer, for sending this book to me!

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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Leftover by Brooke Williams


A reserved wallflower discovers that reality TV is the perfect backdrop to develop her confidence in this lighthearted rom-com. Megan Malone is the ultimate homebody. When her sister talks her into going on The Leftover, a local version of the TV show Survivor, she isn’t sure she’ll make it past the first vote. Meanwhile, Cane Trevino is nursing a broken heart by joining the show as a medic. With time away from his regular job and a dozen contestants to distract him, he hopes he can finally get over the woman he thought was “the one.”

My Thoughts

Let me tell you, I have been so excited to read this book!  It just sounds like the perfect, fun little romantic comedy!  And, since I have always been a fan of the show Survivor, this book really appealed to me.  The good news is.... it did not disappoint!!! Not in the least!

I absolutely adore Megan Malone!  I haven't read many books with characters quite like her. I mean, it seems like most books nowadays have the strong, warrior, I-Don't-Need-A-Man type of women.  And that's fine, but sometimes you want to read about an average, not a perfect and strong kind of girl.  Someone that the average girl can relate to.

The Leftover is such a fun read!  It's not intense.  It's not dramatic.  There's nothing sad or heavy in it.  It is just a really fun (I know I keep saying fun but that's what it is!), entertaining book!

I am so happy that The Leftover popped up on my tbr.  I really needed a good, fun (There's that word again) book!  Thank you, Brooke Williams, for sending this book to me!  I hope to read more from you in the future!

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

Can't Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon


In the early 1950s, Odessa Drake (Dessa) is rescued from a bleak existence with a single mother. She takes a chance on the unknown to work in a boarding house owned by a widowed great aunt in Mineville, New York. Dessa is devoted to Aunt Flo and especially a young man, Nicholas, who appears and takes shelter in the attic, the only available space. Four years pass. She looks forward to each day because of his presence, in spite of the tedious work. Dessa is now eighteen and knows little more of Nicholas than the day he arrived to work the mines. She knows only he is a remarkable man who has a limp and she trusts Nicholas explicitly. There is a familiarity both recognize and an unshakeable bond develops. Nicholas has reasons to keep his past buried. Dangers loom and become evident when Nicholas gets too close and exposes their bond. What is the mystery behind this threat? To discover the answer, they escape by railway heading West, colliding with treachery and uncovering secrets, mile by mile. Their journey is impossible, but, they are supported by friends who risk their lives to make sure a great love and lineage is preserved. Or is it? None will forget their odyssey as they proceed to their destiny farther than they imagined.

My Thoughts

The summary of this book sounds wonderful.  The cover looks great too!  I was immediately intrigued and excited to read this book.    I jumped into the first chapter and liked it pretty well, although when you read this book you are kind of thrown into the story without much of a backstory.

As I continued reading, a few things started to bother me.  First of all, the writing style was a bit hard to follow.  It was pretty choppy and it jumped around to the point that I would feel like I missed something so I would go back a bit to see if I accidentally skipped something.

Then the way Odessa loved Nick... without even knowing much about him or his life!  It was kind of weird.  And the way he basically took ownership of her rubbed me the wrong way.  I wasn't a fan of that at all.

Things became more and more confusing with every chapter.  Actually, probably with every page!  I still don't think I fully understand the book.  I'm pretty disappointed, to be perfectly honest.  Can't Buy Forever became harder and harder to read the further I got into it.  I really wanted to just quit but I had already gone so far I wanted to see it through.

I hate when I'm not able to give a good review but sometimes it just happens.  In my opinion, this is a 2 (maybe 2.5) star book.  I feel so bad but I have to be honest!

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

Nest by Terry Goodkind


#1 New York Times bestselling author Terry Goodkind reinvents the thriller with a provocative, page-turning walk among evil.

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes.

Trying to grasp the implications of this revelation, Kate is drawn deep into a world of terror. She is tracked down by Jack Raines, a mysterious author with shadowy connections to those who share her ability. He tells Kate that her unique vision also makes her a target, and only he can help her.

Now, hot on Jack and Kate’s heels are a force of super-predators, vicious and bloodthirsty killers who will stop at nothing until Kate is dead. But even as she fights for her life, Kate still isn’t sure if Jack is really her salvation, or another killer coming to slaughter her.

An explosive mix of action and suspense, Nest is a landmark new novel from worldwide bestselling author Terry Goodkind, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

My Thoughts

Ok.  I am still so torn!  Did I like this book?  Ahhhh!

So, I think I did like Nest but there were a few things that I had some problems with.  But first let me say this...

The storyline was actually very good!  As a matter of fact, I was completely sucked in within the first two chapters.  The drama, suspense, and terror in the beginning was exactly what I was expecting when I picked this book up.

Actually, I loved the book and then was annoyed by it, then loved it and then was super annoyed by it again!  This went on over and over thought out the entire book.  I guess that is why I'm having a difficult time deciding if I really like this book or not!

Here's the deal, like I said already, the first two chapters were great.  They were very suspenseful and had me extremely interested.  The third chapter was good but then there were several chapters that were just plain info-dumpy and boring.  The information that was given was probably important but it just went on and on with no action involved.  Seriously, it was just basically conversations between two people for several chapters in a row.

Then, finally, there would be another great and exciting chapter!  Sometimes maybe even two in a row!  However, there would then be several more info-dumpy chapters in a row yet again.  This continued throughout the rest of the book.  In my opinion, Nest is a 428 page book that could have probably been less that 300 pages if all of the long, long conversations could have been condensed.

Now the ending...

Oh.  My.  Word.

I was like, NO! No, No, No!!!

And then... wait, what?!

Oh, that ending!  That was enough to make me want to see what happens next!  Wait though, will there be a sequel?  I'm not sure, but with that ending there certainly can be!

So, here's the thing, I really enjoyed the actual story itself but the chapters full of just pure information made Nest harder to read.

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Smugglers and Scones by Morgan C. Talbot


Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world.

Juggling her book-writing guests, small-town intrigues, secret club agendas, and a possibly fatal attraction, Pippa must sort fact from fiction to know who to trust before a desperate killer claims a final revenge nearly a century in the making.

My Thoughts

There are some books that, to me, are cozy books.  I'm not sure if that makes any sense to anyone else, but for me, that is how I describe certain books.  It doesn't mean that the book was sweet, warm, or a fuzzy feeling kind of book.  It just means that there's something about it that makes me want to curl up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea and read it.  I said all that to say this... Smugglers and Scones is a cozy mystery book.

When Morgan C. Talbot sent me an email with the review request for Smugglers and Scones, I was pretty excited.  The synopsis sounded really good and I couldn't wait to get started.  Unfortunately, it did take a little while before I could get to it because I had so many on my list to get through first.  When I finally got to it I jumped right in!

I absolutely love the way Morgan C. Talbot writes!  Her style just flows and brings your imagination right into the story.  I wanted to visit the bed and breakfast and meet all of the quirky authors that were staying there.  I love Pippa and Lake so much!  When I finished the book and looked at the cover, I was so excited to see the words "Moorehaven Mysteries: Book 1."  That means there will be more!!!!  I hope to see the progression of Pippa and Lake's relationship!

Anyways, in case you haven't figured it out, I loved this book and I definitely recommend it!  It has humor, a bit of romance, mystery, danger, and suspense.  Pick up a copy and see for yourself!  Thank you, Morgan C. Talbot, for sending this book to me!

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Love at the Fluff and Fold by Kitty Bucholtz



Cassie Lane and Danny Kessler have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Then he up and married Bright Shiny, the new girl in town, and all of Cassie’s hopes were dashed.

But now Danny is long divorced, and Cassie barely escaped getting hitched last Christmas. Cassie’s uncle, Willie Larson, loves these kids and he’s tired of watching them dance around their attraction to each other. It’s time to push them back together.

So he tells them he’s dying. Simple plan. He needs them to work together to help him prepare his estate and plan his funeral. Secretly.

But the quirky, lovable folks of Loon Lake find out and believe the ruse. Soon Uncle Willie is hiding in the bathroom and his great plan is falling apart. Can true love win out over well-meant deception?

This sweet, small town romantic comedy follows the short story, “Welcome to Loon Lake,” in The Strays of Loon Lake series.

My Thoughts

Love at the Fluff and Fold is the second book that I have read written by Kitty Bucholtz.  I loved the first one and I loved this one just as much!  Kitty has become a dear friend of mine since I reviewed her book, Little Miss Lovesick.  She invited me to do a monthly guest post on her blog and I gladly accepted!  We have been friends since then!

With that being said, it's a bit scary to read a book that a friend wrote!  What if I don't like it?!  What if I feel the need to write a negative review?!  Well, there was no need to worry at all with Love at the Fluff and Fold!  I loved it!  Kitty's books are so good!

Cassie is such a sweet character.  I loved ho loving she is.  She wears her heart on her sleeve and I adore that about her.  Danny, though he has his frustrating moments, is perfect for Cassie!  He just needed to figure it out!

This is such a good book and I am so blessed to have been a part of Kitty's Beta readers group!  Thank you, Kitty!  I loved it and I'll gladly read your books any time!

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

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Molly Bell and the Wishing Well by Bridget Geraghty


Molly Bell is an eleven-year old girl who used to be a whimsical, sporty type of a child with a zest for living. All that has been turned upside down by the untimely death of her mother two years ago. To make matters worse, her father is getting remarried to a high-maintenance beauty that Molly seemingly has nothing in common with, and she comes with an annoying six-year old son, Henry, who finds a way to wreck everything in his path. Molly can't find anything about her new circumstances to be excited about, until her Aunt Joan tells her about the wishing well at Molly's grandparents' farm. According to Aunt Joan, every wish she ever made there came true. And it just so happens that Molly and Henry will be staying at the farm for a week while their parents are on their honeymoon. Molly is convinced if she could just find that wishing well, she could wish for her mom to come back to life and everything will be okay again. But Molly is in for a few surprises, and more than a few hard lessons about being careful what you wish for when the consequences of Molly's selfish desires wreak havoc on her entire family. Can Molly make things right again through the wishing well? Or will she need to find it within herself to bring back the joy in her life that has been missing all this time?

My Thoughts

Molly Bell and the Wishing Well is a sweet little middle grade book that I found so charming.  This book teaches you to live in the now and to learn to live with the life you are given.  The message is clear to me as an adult but I'm sure that middle graders won't feel like they are earning a life lesson while reading.  They will just be entertained!

When the author, Bridget Geraghty, sent me a review request I jumped on it!  I don't read very many middle grade books but this one sounding lovely.  I was right!  It was definitely lovely.  I hope to read more from Bridget Geraghty someday soon!

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

Cold Summer by Gwen Cole


Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future. 
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

My Thoughts

I am so, very, madly in love with this book!  I seriously can't sing its praises enough to do it justice!  Cold Summer just might be my new favorite book.  It is, at the very least, in my top five!

I picked this book up because, first of all, it was on my tbr, and second of all, I was getting books ready for a read-a-thon and this book fit a challenge perfectly.  The challenge was to read a book that you bought because of the cover and, while I didn't actually buy this book, the cover took my breath away!  It is so beautiful!!!!

Ok, so I read this book and, from the moment I started reading it I didn't want to put it down!  Oh I just love it so much!  I would try to describe it but I am ridiculously horrible at summarizing a book in my own words (my July wrap-up video on youtube proves that statement) and also, you can just read the book summary for yourself!

Cold Summer is a beautiful story and I couldnt get enough of it!  You must read this book!  Thank you so much, Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing for sending this book to me!

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

One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Province by Keith Van Sickle


Keith and Val had a dream – to live in Provence, the land of brilliant sunlight, charming hilltop villages and the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean.

But there were two problems: they weren’t French speakers and they had full-time jobs. So they came up with a plan…

Follow their adventures (and misadventures) as they quit their jobs, become consultants and split their time between two countries. Laugh along as they build a life in Provence, slowly mastering a new language and making friends with the locals over long meals and just a bit too much wine.

This light and breezy memoir is full of wry observations on France, like the power of cheese to sway elections, the right and wrong ways for men to kiss each other, and the law requiring that blood donors must speak French.

If you’ve ever dreamed of changing gears and learning what joie de vivre is really all about, you won’t want to miss this delightful book.

My Thoughts

There is something about that feeling of peeking into someone's life.  Hmmm... did that just make me sound like a creeper?! Lol!  I didn't mean it that way!  But seriously, I love reading books that let you feel like you're living the writer's life right along with them.  One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Province gives you that feeling.

I picked this book up for a few reasons.  First, it was coming up on my tbr anyways.  Second, I just like books like the (like I already stated).  And third, I was getting books together for a read-a-thon and this one seemed to be a good pick for the challenge.

Again, I like reading books that give you a glimpse of someone's daily life, especially when adventure is included.  This book gives you just that.  I love the thought of picking up and moving away somewhere and starting fresh with new adventures!  I don't think that I could ever do it but I love the thought of it!

This was a fun, true story of the adventures of Keith and Val as they pick up and start a life in Province.  I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this!  Thank You, Keith Van Sickle for sending this book my way!

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gravity: A Short Story by Jessica Schaub


What would you do? 

I'm Jefferson Stanhope and I'm short. Like, really short. As in bring-a-step-stool-to-drink-from-the-water-fountain short. It's not genetic or anything. My parents are tall and my older brother and sister are tall. But not me. I think God hates me. Caitlin says God doesn't hate anyone, but after what happened to her, I thought she would change her mind. She didn't. 

This is a short (pun intended) story about how I tried to help a friend but got wrapped up in a harmless lie that ended up involving the entire school. I know that sounds mysterious, but I didn't tell the lie! I just didn't tell anyone that what Mike said was a lie. What's the difference, you ask? Well, now I know the difference. Believe me, I won't let that happen again! 

"...a solid story, realistic and heart-warming." Lisa Schlegel, Reader's Favorite 

"Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy." Sir Isaac Newton

My Thoughts

Gravity: A Short Story is just that, a short little book.  However, at only a little less that 100 pages, this book found a place in my heart.  I really enjoyed it.

I loved the main character, Jefferson, and his sweet little friend, Caitlin.  My heart broke for her when her brother died.  My heart then melted when Jefferson became the friend that she really needed during that time.

I will say that I was expecting more of a funny story when I picked this book up.  Maybe it was because of the title.  I think that the title gives it a humorous vibe.  And, while there were some funny moments, this book is more of a heart-felt book.

This is a quick read, I read it in just an hour or two, and I definitely recommend it to all middle grade readers and those that just enjoy middle grade books.

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

Death By Roses by Vivian R. Probst


For the first time in nearly thirty years of marriage, Art McElroy Sr. buys his headstrong, disapproving wife a dozen yellow roses. Hours later he discovers her lifeless body seated on the toilet. Mae Rose McElroy's sudden death leaves a void in her family and in the entire Midwestern farming community of Fairview. It's a void Mae Rose will attempt to fill, herself, from the hereafter by meddling directly in earthly affairs.

Mae Rose's meddling leads to her spiritual expulsion from heaven, and she winds up in the body of Mary Lee Broadmoor (Scary Mary), a crusty writer and director of exquisite horror movies. Mary Lee refuses to succumb to stage-4 pancreatic cancer until she gets one final shot at an elusive Oscar. Like Mae Rose, who argues with God for a return to earth, Mary Lee pleads, from her Hollywood deathbed, for more time to complete her work, as her hospice nurse, Gertie Morgan, looks on.

The two women's spirits work together, and Mae Rose provides her host with a new script idea: a love story, based on her life! The script earns Mary Lee her coveted Academy Award, but the movie's release shocks and disturbs Mae Rose's family. They set out to find, and confront, the woman who has somehow co-opted, and publicly revealed, their personal tragedy.

Along the way, new love emerges as the reader meets a caste of crazy, eccentric, but highly memorable characters. "Death by Roses" suggests that relationships don't end at death, but continue until their ultimate purpose is achieved. The universe has every resource at its disposal to get the job done. It also has an amazing sense of humor.

My Thoughts

Death By Roses was not quite what I thought it was going to be.  Im not sure why I assumed that it would be something else, but I just did.  Maybe it is because of my preconceived ideas that I didn't enjoy the book as much as I had hoped.

I was expecting more of a comedic book.  Possibly a funny story about a murder (I know, that sounds weird... a funny murder?!) or something along those lines.  That is not what this book is.

I was wondering if I was alone in my feelings of this book, so I read some reviews from other readers.  One reviewer said it well when they described it as more of a life after death style book with very little humor.

The way Mae Rose died, the fact that Art and Mae Rose had such a disappointing relationship with each other, and the pettiness and bitterness she had made Death By Roses just simply not that enjoyable to read.  I feel somewhat bad about writing a "not-so-great" review, but this is how I feel about it.  I don't think that I would have even finished it if I hadn't been reading it to complete a certain challenge in a read-a-thon that I was participating in.

It honestly wasn't the worst book that U have ever read, but it wasn't the best book either.  Like I stated before, I did go into this book with the wrong idea of what it was going to be about.  So, with that being said, I may have enjoyed it a little more if I wasn't expecting something else.  And, just because it wasn't my cup of tea, it doesn't mean that someone else might really enjoy it.

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

Henry and the Hidden Treasure by B. C. R. Fegan


Henry and the Hidden Treasure is an imaginative adventure a young child has in defending his pocket money against his little sister. Henry constructs elaborate defensive measures that he is sure will stand up to the clever ambitions of Lucy. Little does he know, Lucy has a few tricks of her own.

With a focus on introducing children to the use of ordinal numbers, Henry and the Hidden Treasure also draws out some important qualities of being a kid – such as creativity, the value of listening to parental advice, and of course, being nice to your sister.

My Thoughts

Henry and the Hidden Treasure is a cute little children's book.  I loved the story and the illustrations are wonderful!  I teach Kindergarten, school starts back up next week, and I will definitely be taking this sweet little book to read to my class.

I don't get many requests to review children's books, and I'd say about have of the ones I do receive are just "ok", but this one is simply adorable!  I highly recommend it!

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

The Time Bender by Debra Chapoton


Sixteen-year-old Selina can bend time, though she doesn’t realize it yet. She also has a rare disorder which makes it next to impossible to socialize and find what she wants most: a boyfriend. Of course, there’s always super-loyal family-friend Alex, who’s been by her side like a seizure alert dog every time she’s had an “incident.” He’d like very much to fill the position of boyfriend. 

When a couple of aliens arrive on Earth in search of a time-bender they awkwardly flirt their way through Selina’s defenses and try to convince her she’s their only hope to defeat their planet’s enemies, whose next target is Earth. Now Selina is avoiding the truth: she not only has fallen for one of the aliens, she also loves Alex. If she leaves Earth she’ll never see him again. If she doesn’t go, she dooms Earth.

My Thoughts

I read this book several days ago but needed time to really think about it before posting my review.  I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this book.  Was it entertaining? Yes.  Did it keep me reading and wanting to see what happens next? Yes.  So, why am I not completely sure how I feel about The Time Bender?  I'll explain.

As an adult, who has read TONS of books, I had a hard time with a few things.  I'll get to those in a minute.  If I had read this when I was about 13-14 I would have loved it and not really noticed the things that bothered me as an adult reader.  It really is an entertaining book!  I don't want anyone to think that I hated it.

Now, the things that I had issues with...
The first is that Selina had almost no problem letting a stranger into her house.  Even when he acted so super weird and his skin was an odd color for a human.  Although, I do believe the book stated that her skin was a bluish color as well.
Next, when Marcum basically told her that she had powers she didn't seem to react like a normal person would have.
And then when Alex's dad told him his secret (I don't want to give too much away) Alex was just pretty much like "Ok, cool, no big deal!"
Those things were just too unbelievable to me.  I do understand that most Scifi books are somewhat unbelievable but they're supposed to make you believe in them!

Anyways, like I said, as a young reader I probably wouldn't have noticed these things but as an adult I did.  It is a good book and I will recommend it to younger readers.  I wouldn't mind reading the others in the series when they become available.  

Thank you, Debra Chapoton for sending this book to me!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Harmless by Katherine Dell


Be careful what you wish for.

After moving from Vancouver to isolated Hazelton, BC, high school senior Rachel Barnes hopes she’ll finally find closure and a sense of direction after tragedy has torn her family apart. When she and her friends discover the old spirit box her grandmother gave her, they see it as a chance to wish their troubles away. But the Great Spirits—deer, crow, bear, and the mythical wendigo—give away nothing for free. 

So instead of worrying about fitting in and finding a boyfriend, Rachel finds herself in a race to control the malevolent spirit who’s taken up residence in Mason Allen, who she fears and craves in equal measure. What began as a harmless game forces Rachel to confront her past—and offers her a future she never imagined.

My Thoughts

So, I opened up my planner a few days ago and realized that I had written in to try to review the book Harmless this week.  I couldn't remember what it was about so I searched for the review request email and read the synopsis.  It sounded pretty good so I wasn't worried, but at the same time, I sure was hoping that it would be the kind of book that I would be so into that I would want to put it down (You know, since I didn't have much time to read it being that I'm a procrastinator).  Well... It was SO GOOD!

I seriously read it in 2 days.  It would have been 1 day if I hadn't started it late at night!  I really enjoyed it.  Even after reading the synopsis, I was still surprised and kept on the edge of my seat.

Before reading Harmless I had never even heard the word wendigo, much less knew what one was.  I really like learning about other cultures and things so I found that pretty cool.  I don't know that I would ever want to meet one but learning about them was neat! Lol!

Harmless was left somewhat open ended.  Hopefully that means there will be a sequel to this story!  I would love to hear more about what happens with Mason and Rachel!

Thank you, Katherine, for sending this book to me!  I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more from you!

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Operation: Hail Storm by Brett Arquette


Marshall Hail was a husband, a father, a Physics Nobel prize winner and industrial billionaire. But when Hail's family was killed in a terrorist attack, he became a predator and redirected his vast industrial assets toward one goal, removing every person on the FBI's Top 10 Terrorist list. With the help of his MIT colleagues, Hail designed and built a devastating arsenal of attack drones of all shapes and sizes that are flown by the nation's best young gamers. The world will come to realize that Marshall Hail possesses the capability of getting to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unleashing an operation so disturbing that the CIA has named it Operation Hail Storm.

My Thoughts

Such a great book!  It is fast-paced and certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.  I didn't want to have to put it down!  The character development was phenomenal.  My personal favorite is Kara!

Operation Hail Storm is the kind of book that somehow makes you feel a bit smarter when you've finished reading it.  I feel like I learned so much more about technology but didn't feel like I was being forced to learn.  So Good!

I honestly don't know that I would have picked this book up on my own.  It's not the genre that I usually prefer.  That is one thing that I love about reviewing books for people.  They send books that I wouldn't necessarily pick out for myself, I read them, and then I end up a happy girl with an extended book genre preference!  Love it!

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

Ten Tips For The Frazzled Parent by Birgitta Karlén


'Ten Tips for the Frazzled Parent, When You've Reached the End of Your Rope!' takes a behind the scenes look at the joys and frustrations of raising children. Most would agree there is never a dull moment with a child in the house, and several can be downright overwhelming! Having conceived and written the book in the parenting trenches, author Birgitta Karlén takes a real look at how fun, yet frustrating, demanding, challenging and sometimes silly the job of parenting can be. Illustrator Michael Pugliese brilliantly captures the nuance of the family dynamic, with his loveable characters and true-to-life depictions. Parents and caregivers alike will find these ten bits of parenting "wisdom" charming and irresistibly funny!

My Thoughts

Ten Tips For The Frazzled Parent is such a cute little book.  It would be a great baby shower gift for a new parent.  The illustrations are fun and so relevant (great job, Michael Pugliese!).
I especially loved tip #4 "Even though it may seem like they are trying to kill you...slowly...you are the light of their lives."

It's a really small, short book that is a quick and fun little read.  Thanks, Birgitta Karlén, for sending it to me!

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

The Elephant Picture Book by Jack L. Roberts and Michael Owens


The Elephant Picture Book is a delightful picture book for children (ages 4-8) that tells about the differences (and similarities) between African elephants and Asian elephants. It also provides a special look at a group of elephants at Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand, a place where overworked and abused elephants have found a safe and loving home in a natural environment. Photographer Michael Owens captures both the gentleness and the majesty of these enchanting animals in his full-color photographs that are guaranteed to delight both young readers and their parents alike.

My Thoughts

I took this book to my class (I teach First and Second grade at a private school) and they LOVED it!  I read it to them first and then they wanted to take turns looking at it at their desks.  The book stayed in my classroom for the rest of the school year and will be returning when school starts back up in August!

The Elephant Picture Book was a bit hit in my classroom!  Thank you, Jack Roberts, for sending this book to me!

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