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.