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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

#FrostyVoxBox Reveal

I got my Frosty Vox Box from Influenster.  I love getting boxes from Influenster.  It is always a pleasant surprise to see what’s in the boxes.  Influenster sends me a free box of goodies for my honest opinion.

6a85a1d141a995281bf507750d52eebae6e133353567af287d207b95d96dd0ed This box contained Red Vines licorice, an EcoTools Hairbrush, NYC lipstick, Rimmel eyeliner, McCormick Thyme, No. 7 serum, Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Tea, and Rimmel Eye Makeup Remover.

3101c257e55842c77df67ea345bd7015     2e7fd19965f26504e656319556dd5d4d 9d9d9042ef491a350eec3d323de96de21ff29a0fd61f7262e4786448f408c345 1d7be9f0cb8dc8e80a4a61f2fb31082ef5da0056046d7e6c1508708f9768910a

The only thing I have used so far is the McCormick Thyme.

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I use thyme in a lot of recipes like chicken noodle soup.  I also use it when I make Princess Ivi her Thyme-Roasted Carrots.  The original recipe came from Epicurious.com.  I use the original recipe except I cut the butter in half because I find that with the olive oil and the butter, it is a bit too much. 

Recipe:

ingredients

  • 2 pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut on deep diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss carrots, oil, and thyme in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread carrots in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet; dot with butter. Roast until carrots are tender and brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes

I am a big fan of McCormick spices.  I really like the thyme.  It has a rich flavor and smells very fresh.  It really enhances the flavors of the food too.

I am very pleased with my #FrostyVoxBox and I can’t wait to play with the rest of my box items.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2015 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge

I love reading challenges so I am looking forward to participating in the Book Vixen's 2015 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge. 

2015RS Reading Challenge Details:
  • Runs January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015 (books read prior to 1/1/2015 do not count towards the challenge). You can join anytime before 9/30/2015. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to read as many romantic suspense novels as you’d like. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself.
  • Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio).
  • Novellas that are 100 pages in length (give or take), as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • To join the challenge, grab the 2015 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge button below and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc., so as long as you have a dedicated shelf for the 2015 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge and yourprofile is not private. The point of linking up is to have a place where people can see what you’re reading.

Levels:

  • Civilian: read 1–5 romantic suspense novels
  • Hunter: read 6–10 romantic suspense novels
  • Marksman: read 11–15 romantic suspense novels
  • Sniper: read 16–20 romantic suspense novels
  • SWAT: read 21+ romantic suspense novels

I think I’m going to go for the Sniper level.  Have fun!!!

Join me in the Show Your Shelves Some Love: A No Book Buying Challenge! #ShelfLove

My bookshelves are overflowing with books that I haven’t read yet and let’s not even discuss my virtual shelves on my Kindle.  To fix that, I am going to participate in the Show Your Shelves Some Love: A No Book Buying Challenge! #ShelfLove. 

    showyourshelves_zps8f6e8b06-png320x480

    The Guidelines

  • Abstain from spending money on books for one calendar year (or follow a monthly book budget).

  • Gift cards OK,  audible account OK, but no buying extra credits (Rose!!!)

  • Encourage other challenge participants via comments, social media and emails.

  • Participate in the monthly posts. (The link up post will go live on the first of each month and be open for 30 days.)

  • Library books do not count for this challenge. This challenge is mainly for books you already own.

  • Netgalley books can count for this because you have the book, so read it!

    No Book Buying Challenge Step 1: Select your goal

Yellow Belt —-> 1-10 books: shake hands with your shelves

Blue Belt    —->11-20 books: pat your shelves on the back

Green Belt  —->21-30 books: give your shelves a warm friendly hug

Purple Belt —->31-40 books: regular date night with your shelves

Brown Belt —-> 41-50 books: my shelves are now my bff

Black Belt —->51+ books: my shelves and I are going steady

My Spending Goal:  Because we have our local Friends of the Library book sales twice a year, I am not going to kid myself into thinking that I will not buy any books.  Instead, I am going to set a spending goal of $30 to spend on books purchased from the FOTL book sale only.  I will either spend it all in April or October or divide it between the two sales. 

Other than that, I will not purchase any other books this year.   My shelves will be thankful for that.  

My Reading Goal:  I am going to be realistic for 2015 and aim for the Purple Belt.  I usually read a lot of books.  In 2012, I read over 300 books, over 200 in 2013, and over 100 in 2014.  But I am starting school in 2015 so I am setting my goal lower this year.  

To join the challenge check out Chapter Break's site.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: A Promise to Protect (Logan Point Book #2) by Patricia Bradley

unnamed (1)

In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

"A taut story of mistakes and betrayal, a mother's fierce love, revenge and danger--and the redeeming wonders of faith and love."--Lorena McCourtney, author of the Cate Kinkaid Files and the Ivy Malone Mysteries

"Old secrets, second chances at love, and a skillfully crafted small-town suspense. You will fall in love with Ben and Leigh and cheer them on as they fight for their happy ending. I'm making room on my shelf for all of Patricia Bradley's novels!"--Susan May Warren, bestselling and award-winning author of When I Fall in Love.

Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love Award and was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award. The author of Shadows of the Past, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

*******

This book was not one of my favorites.  I felt the story was not original.  I also felt there were critical conversations between Ben and Leigh were missing. 

This book was also very unrealistic.  The author expects you to believe that Leigh went to college, then went onto medical school and got a job as a doctor all while raising a baby with no delays.   I am not saying that it would be impossible to do this, but I think it would be very difficult and parts of your education process would be delayed.  As a single mom, who had her baby when she was 19, I can tell you that it took me longer to get my degree.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review: Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley

unnamed (2)AN INVITATION TO BREATHE:  Catastrophe or no catastrophe, if you are unhinged, disoriented, suffocating, or otherwise generally dragging, I'm inviting you to pull up a chair at this table . . .

Breathing Room is a beautiful release of self-condemnation, a discovery of the rest that comes when we offer ourselves some space to breathe. Vulnerable and winsome, Leeana Tankersley shows you how to stop beating yourself up, how to be radically on your own team, and how to truly experience grace. If you've been putting on a strong front and yet are secretly coming apart, you'll find in these pages a trusted friend.

"Leeana says out loud the things we all feel, and she says it with grace and eloquence. Reading these pages is like sitting with a friend."--Shauna Niequist, author of Bread & Wine.

"Leeana refuses to reach for easy answers, instead leading the reader on a journey of accepting our own humanity. Quite simply, this is one of the most thoughtful books I've read all year."--Emily P. Freeman, author of A Million Little Ways.

Leeana Tankersley holds English degrees from Liberty University and West Virginia University. She and her Navy SEAL husband, Steve, are currently stationed in San Diego, California, with their three children: Luke, Lane, and Elle. Leeana writes about living from the spacious place on her blog, www.leeanatankersley.com

*********************

I love this book.  Leeana is a real person and you can tell from this book.  You can feel it in what she says and how she says it.  My favorite quotes:

“I haven’t always known how to inhabit my own feelings.  I haven’t always known how to let life be both hard and good.  I haven’t always known how to make peach with the paradoxes and texture of life…”

“Let go of the lies on the exhale, so we can take in the truth on the inhale.”

“If today, if this hour, if this year has not been what you had hoped you can begin again…We must wake up and choose to live in each minute, each day, each year.  Moment by moment…”

  “We know it’s not OK to bully other people, but somehow we forgot—or never learned—that it’s not OK to bully ourselves.”

The opposite of holding our breath isn’t inhaling. It’s letting go.”

“Show up and participate in what life has in front of you, in what God is doing in your life. Continue to lean in. Continue to open your eyes. Continue to scout the beauty. Continue to create. Continue to love.  Continue to get well. Continue to breathe.” 

Leeana reminds us of the most important thing….it is okay to feel what you are feeling.  Sometimes when we voice our feelings, those around us tell us we are not “allowed” to feel that way because life is too good, or you’re too skinny, or so good at your job, or whatever, to feel that way.  Leeana reminds us that you don’t have to justify your feelings, whatever, they may be.  You can feel it. It’s okay.

Leeana is so good at encouraging you to keep going.  I would recommend everyone who is going through a rough patch or has ever gone through a rough patch to read Breathing Room.

This book is considered a Christian book which is good.  What I really liked is that it talks about faith and grace.  I found it refreshing to read about a woman who has faith who still experiences sadness and depression and everything that goes with those feelings who takes a normal, healthy approach to getting through it. 

I consider myself a Christian in that I believe in God and have faith but I don’t particularly care for books that tout Scripture endlessly. I want to hear from real people like me who experience these feelings but find a way to pull through it.  So this book was perfect for me!

 

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Book Review: Thunder:A Stone Braide Chronicles Story by Bonnie S. Calhoun

unnamedThe Time of Sorrows is long past.
The future of Selah and her people is shrouded in mystery.
And the clock is ticking.

Hidden in the tall grasses along a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city, a hunter crouches. It is the eve of her eighteenth Birth Remembrance and high time she proves to herself and her brothers that she can stand on her own two feet. Selah Rishon Chavez waits not for game but for one of the small boats that occasionally crash against the desolate shoreline. Because inside one of these boats she will find her quarry--a Lander.

These people from an unknown land across the ocean are highly prized by the Company and bring a good price--especially if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander whom Selah catches is stolen by her brothers, and Selah wakes the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bodhi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell in the Mountain.

With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of disturbing scientific advances, devious political conspiracy, and survival in a hostile wilderness, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a society more like our own than we may want to admit. From the tension-laced first scene to the captivating last page, Thunder is an epic journey into the heart of humankind that explores how far we are willing to go when we're pushed to the limit.

Bonnie S. Calhoun loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three Bs: body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML and website design. Bonnie lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass. But she'd rather buy fish, ready to eat and under plastic, at the grocery store. She shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she is waitstaff.

To see an exclusive video trailer and to get more information on the Stone Braide Chronicles, go to www.BonnieSCalhoun.com.

******

I am not usually a fan of the whole dystopian future books.  However, there was something about this book that I enjoyed.  The writing was clear and evocative.  The storyline was intriguing.  The characters were very well developed. 

What I liked best about this book was the interaction between Selah and the Lander.  It was very realistic.  I also liked the portrayal of Selah and her feelings when the mark appears. 

What I did not like about this book was how many extra characters there were .  It felt like there were too many names and people to keep track of. 

Right now, you can get the prequel Tremors: A Stone Braide Chronicles Story for free on Amazon here:

tremors

Tremors was great because it did a really good job of setting the scene.  I would recommend everyone go and grab this now and read it.  Then, be sure to read Thunder and keep an eye out for the next Stone Braide Chronicles Story.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Deceived by Irene Hannon

A grieving mother. A mysterious child. And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.

For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.

9780800721251 This was an awesome book.  Ms. Hannon blew me away.  I loved the main characters and how complex they are.  I can’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to give any spoilers but Hannon did a great idea pulling this story together. This was by far one of the best books I have read in a long time. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a mystery with some romance thrown in. 

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Prescription for Life by Richard Furman, MD FACS

cover50935-medium Vascular surgeon gives readers medically sound strategies and tools to avoid prevalent health problems like heart disease, cancer, and dementia--and to turn back the clock on their physiological age to live younger longer.

This was an interesting book.  Dr. Furman is obviously very passionate about his work as well as very knowledgeable.  This book was great because it described a lot of information such as how the heart works, what can cause strokes, and most importantly, how your diet and exercise can limit the risks of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  He also emphasized how healthy eating and exercise can prolong your life.  

What I like about this book is how it gives some great ideas for food and your diet.  He also gives great ideas for exercise, even for couch potatoes.  He also does a good job in showing the effect certain foods have on your body.  He suggests you stop eating those foods altogether which for some may be very difficult. 

This book was very informative and I feel energized to put what I learned into effect.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll….Sort Of

I recently read a post on BlogHer by PurpleClover entitled “I Gave My Daughter Her First Joint”.  Here’s a brief synopsis: Mom provides her 14 year old with her first joint rolled from Dad’s stash.  Daughter takes it to friend’s house to share.  Mom continues to provide 14 year old with pot. 

There were a ton of comments on this post and it got me thinking about my daughter, who is now 18, and how I feel about pot and her. 

 I understand a lot of people commenting have bigger problems with this post than the fact that she “let” her daughter smoke pot but I don’t want to get into those.  I likely share some of those opinions myself.  These are just thoughts I have on sex, drugs, alcohol and teenagers in my experience.   

I’ve always been the type of mom who doesn’t bury my head in the sand when it comes to my kid’s behavior.  I know she is going to have sex which is why we had the safe sex conversation when she was about 11 and I would randomly start the discussion whenever I felt it had been too long since I had brought it up.  I knew she was going to drink alcohol which is why I would make sure she understood to never drink and drive and if she found herself in a situation where she needed me, to call me, even if she was drunk as a skunk.  I also knew she was going to have friends that drank and I made sure I told her to never get in a car with someone who was driving after drinking. 

I have always tried to encourage her not to smoke cigarettes or pot.  Cigarettes because they are poison and disgusting.  I used to smoke so I know what I am talking about.  But mainly, I encouraged her not to do these things because she has asthma and asthma and smoking don’t mix.  I know she smoked a cigarette with a friend when she was in 9th grade.  She didn’t like it.  I don’t think she has smoked pot but I could be wrong.   

I think if she didn’t have asthma, I would be the type of mom who would recognize that it is hypocritical of me to say that she cannot smoke pot.  I did.  In fact, I was 13 when my brother, 18 months older than me and oh so much cooler, gave me my first joint.  I smoked pot until I was a junior in high school.  I stopped because a boyfriend let me smoke a laced joint and I did not react well to it.  At that point, my brother was out of the house and living his own life so I didn’t have him to watch out for me and make sure I was not getting pot from shady dudes.  After that incident, I realized that I didn’t know for certain what I was smoke and it wasn’t worth it to me to continue smoking. 

I would, however, encourage her to wait until she was older to smoke pot and I would also have to set some ground rules like not sharing pot with her friends because her friends’ parents may not feel the same way as me.  Also, I would worry about her smoking pot away from home because I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning beside some guy and having very fuzzy memories of how I got there.

I found that being open with her and explaining to her how it made me feel (out of control) and stupid decisions I had made while under the influence (with guys, mainly) and the shame I felt after being with a guy while under the influence, this had a bigger impact on her than just telling her not to do it. 

I don’t have access to pot as an adult so obviously, I couldn’t provide it to her but if she wanted to get it, I would talk to her to make sure she is getting from someone she trusts.  I would also want her to smoke it at home so I would know if there was something wrong.

I know that pot is being legalized in a lot of places.  I don’t have any particular opinion on that.  Actually, I feel that the government has more important things to spend their money on, like ending homelessness, than worrying about whether people are smoking pot.  The problem I have with people who smoke pot is when that interferes with their life.  If they aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing, at work, at home, as students or parents or whatever, then I have a problem with pot.  I also have a problem with people saying they “need” to smoke pot to relax.  That is like someone saying “I need a few drinks every night to relax.”  I think when it gets to that point, you can consider yourself an addict and I have a problem with addiction.  Addiction makes people do things they normally wouldn’t do. 

Thankfully, I was never faced with this situation where I had to outright “condone” any sort of pot smoking.  My baby is an adult now, but I would like to think that the lessons I taught her about drugs, alcohol and sex, stayed with her and whatever choices she chooses to make, she makes smart ones that are right for her.

My only comment to other parents who criticize this mom for condoning pot smoking is: Be careful not to be a hypocrite.  If you smoked pot when you were young and you turned out fine, is it right to say outright that your kid cannot do it?

Please know that I am not saying you should tell your kid it is okay to smoke pot, if that is not how you feel. 

What I am saying is that sometimes honesty helps.  Admitting to your kid that you smoked pot when you were in high school but that you didn’t like how it made you feel, or what you did when you were stoned, or whatever you want to share with them, may be a better alternative to getting your kids to “just say no.”  Kids are smart and they respect honesty so be honest with them.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Kate’s Escape from the Billable Hour

Kate's Escape from the Billable Hour by Petula Parker is a great book.

Having been a paralegal for the past 16+ years, I found this book to be a lot of fun to read. Anyone working in the legal field and familiar with "Big "Law" firms and the never-ending need for more billable hours, will find a lot of humor in this book. However, this book is so fun it is for everyone, not just those of us slogging it out in the legal field.

This book is for those people with a first crush they can't move on from and those of us stuck in a job we hate who ask “what am I going to be when I grow up” and “is this really all there is”. This is also perfect for people who love a lot of humor in their books.

I found this book to be particularly funny because it made me remember working for an attorney who used to lecture us to bring a file into the bathroom with us so we could count it as billable time. 

The cover of this book is cute although maybe the suitcase should be a little bigger to more accurately reflect the baggage we all carry. The book was also well written and well edited.

Disclosure: I received a free book in exchange for my unbiased review contained herein.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Snack Girl to the Rescue! by Lisa Cain

snack girl large download

Do you need to be rescued from bad eating habits and junk food? Are you looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle but don’t know where to begin? Well, fear not because Lisa Cain, a.k.a. “Snack Girl,” is here to help! A busy mother of two, Lisa faces the same challenges to healthy eating that we all do—unlimited access to junk food, a jam-packed schedule, a tight budget, and a love of delicious food. So in Snack Girl to the Rescue, she has created a way to make small changes that will make a difference in how you eat and live.

On her mega-popular blog Snack-Girl.com, she shares the simple secrets and delicious, healthful recipes that have helped keep her budget and her body in check. without sacrificing fun or flavor. Now with Snack Girl to the Rescue! A Real-Life Guide to Losing Weight and Getting Healthy with 100 Recipes Under 400 Calories, Lisa is sharing her best, tried and true advice on avoiding common weight-loss pitfalls, shopping healthier on a budget, and getting in shape, along with 100 recipes for fun, quick, and affordable meals and snacks—all of which clock in under 400 calories and are Weight Watchers friendly!

There are no gimmicks, no short cuts, it's just how you're supposed to live: a healthy balanced life. Lisa shows us in this book, that nobody is perfect—but with a few minor tweaks, you can change your lifestyle, be happy and be healthy.

Here is a bit about the author:

Lisa Cain, Ph.D, an evolutionary biologist by training, is the founder of Snack-Girl.com. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her husband, their two children, and their dog.

I have been a long-time subscriber to Snack-Girl.com so when I had the opportunity to read and review Snack Girl to the Rescue! by Lisa Cain I was so excited.

This book is broken up into parts.  Part One is the meat of the book.  It includes Lisa’s thoughts on fad diets, diet pills and other sorts of diets.  It also includes her personal experiences with many of these diets.  It talks about healthy eating, healthy balances of foods, and the importance of exercise.  Honestly, I had a hard time getting through the first part of this book.  Not because it was poorly written or not interesting but just because this seemed to be my particular hurdle. 

Part Two is the good stuff, at least for me anyway.  Part Two is the recipe section and let me tell you there are some really good sounding recipes in there.  For instance, the pineapple vodka slush seems to keep calling my name.

 Smile

These recipes are great because they are low in calories but still taste great.  For many of us trying to lose weight or maintain our healthy weight, the thought of eating another tasteless backed chicken breast and a pile of plain steamed veggies sounds about as appealing as walking across hot coals carrying an elephant.  But with Lisa’s recipes, they introduce tons of flavor and variety into your healthy eating habits (notice I didn’t say the dreaded “d” word). 

If you are looking for practical, real-world changes to your eating habits and lifestyle, this is a great book for you and I would recommend you take a look at Lisa’s recipes for low calorie food ideas. 

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: The Winter Calf by Michael S. Nuckols

The Winter Calf is a beautifully written book. This is probably one of the best books I have read in a long time. The writing is magical and takes you on a journey as the story progresses. The story has many twists and turns and doesn't end how you think it will. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful, moving story. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an amazing story. However, keep the tissues handy.

The cover is great and although, it is stark, it matches well with the story. As for the writing, I found one error in the whole book. Other than that, it was flawless.

After reading The Winter Calf, I will be reading other books written by Michael S. Nuckols to see if they match the beauty of The Winter Calf

Disclosure:  I received a free book in exchange for my unbiased review contained herein

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: Worlds of Obsession (Celtic Otherworlds) by Kella McKinnon

 

Worlds of Obsession (Celtic Otherworlds) is a great book. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Worlds of Obsession had a good storyline, great characters, great dialogue, a great struggle and a good ending. You can’t help but love the characters. The “hero”, Bastien, is a wounded, brooding man who faces a great struggle when he meets Liv. The “heroine”, Liv is a little lost and not sure where she fits in the world. Unfortunately, the road these two must travel is a pretty bumpy one but in the end, everything becomes clear and all the pieces fit together. This book also has great supporting characters and it will be exciting to see how the author writes their stories.

The cover is wonderful and the writing and editing was flawless.

Disclosure: I received a free book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Buried Threads by Kaylin McFarren

Buried Threads is not a bad book.  However, it should be noted that in my opinion, this book cannot be read as a stand-alone novel.  Too many references are made to things that happened in the past and those thoughts are not completed in this book.  For instance, at one point, the heroine makes a comment that she is angry about her boyfriend’s child but it never explains why she is angry.  Although I have not read the previous book about Rachel Lyons, I would think this information was probably covered in it.  This was very disappointing because the book is not advertised as a sequel or part of a series. 

Additionally, there was frustration while reading this book because “issues” that are portrayed as being major issues in the beginning of the book miraculously solve themselves without any true insight into the character’s development in overcoming those issues. 

However, if you are fans of the Japanese culture and history, this book will interest you.  The adventure scenes were written well and made it easy to visualize the scene. 

The cover art is beautiful and the book is edited well in the sense that there were no obvious typos, etc.  Other than the fact that I think it should be listed as a sequel or a second book in the series and a note added that it is not a stand-alone book, this book was a good read.

Disclosure:  I received a free book in exchange for my unbiased opinion of the above-referenced book.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: The Prayer

The Prayer cover

The Prayer by Jacqueline von Zwehl is an inspirational “nonfiction literary narrative”.  I found the message of this book – “Your destiny is to live a life filled with miracles, shared with your soul mate, and filled with the joy of eternal love each and every day” – to be very good.  However, the writing left much to be desired.  There were no substantive grammatical errors.  My biggest problem with the writing was the author’s tone and frequency to use exaggeration.  For instance, many things were “devastating”, “crushing”.  I found the overuse of this method to take away much of the book’s believability.

My other problem with this book is that I had a hard time identifying with the character.  She writes a lot of about her overwhelming fear, fear of “losing it all”, fear after the 9/11 attacks, etc.  Because of this, I could not relate to her and found it irritating.

Additionally, she uses a friend’s child sexual abuse as the catalyst of her anger which finally breaks her faith.  This part made me very angry at the author simply because I felt that her description of her emotional reaction to her friend’s story seemed fake.

Lastly, one minor irritation is when the author would talk about a situation but not extrapolate on it until much later in the chapter.  For example, “the screaming would wake me up” is not explained until many paragraphs later and you learn that it is her parents’ screaming that wakes her up and then you learn that the screaming is because of the father’s gambling.  Of course, this chapter follows an earlier chapter where she talks about how great her dad was, how he was such a hard worker and how everyone loved him.  To me, it seems like she couldn’t decide how she felt about her father and until this issue was better resolved, it would have been best to omit it from the book.

With respect to the cover, I felt it was very beautiful and simple which perfectly matches the message of this book.

There are some beautifully worded sections of The Prayer and I wouldn’t completely discourage readers from it.  As long as they knew going in that there are some issues.  As I said before, the message is very good but I would caution readers who have a more realistic view to read at your own risk.  

Disclosure: I was provided a free book from Bookplex.  This review contains my unbiased opinion of the book.

Book Review: November Echo

 

November_Echo_Book_Cover

November Echo is a great book.  Although it is short, it had suspense, humor, gritty action scenes and a brilliant story.  I have never read any of James Houston Turner’s other books before and I think this was a great introduction to his work and a great introduction to Talanov.  I will be reading his other works on this wonderful character.

I liked Talanov.  He comes across a bit chauvinistic but lovable.  There were times I wanted to hug him and other times I wanted to strangle him.  I love how this character can make the choices he makes and is ready to handle those consequences from those choices.

There isn’t a lot to say about this book that won’t spoil it but I will say that if you are a fan of suspense and spy thrillers, you will definitely want to read November Echo. 

 

Disclosure: I was provided a free book from Bookplex.  This review contains my unbiased opinion of the book.