Review: Before I Fall

Synopsis:

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today’s foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person’s life can affect so many others.
For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.
Named to numerous state reading lists, this novel was also recognized as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures.
Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Rating: 4-stars

Review

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is a stunning YA novel. Inside, I was immediately sucked into the protagonist’s mind. Everything, she said, did, or felt….felt like I was doing it all. Creepy in a way. This book is packed high with emotions. Anger, loss, love, and sadness. Every page was engaging. Entertaining. The ending was epic. The pacing of this book felt a bit slow. It was mostly a steady pace all the way through it. Lauren Oliver does have a talent for writing. I opened up this title and got lost. Teenagers go through so many dramas and emotions that I felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride. Ups and downs…craziness everywhere. Strong, bold, and dramatic. The effect worked. I was hooked. Before I Fall, is a recommended read. Beware you may need a tissue box….

Review: Until You Loved Me

Synopsis:

Sometimes starting over means finding everything you’ve been missing…
After catching her fiancé cheating—with another man–usually straight-laced, workaholic scientist Ellie Fisher liberates her wild side just long enough to indulge in a passionate one-night-stand with a tall, dark stranger she meets at a trendy Miami bar. Embarrassed by her recklessness, she ducks out the following morning without learning the guy’s full name, something that shouldn’t have been a problem…until a pregnancy test turns positive.
Being a professional football player, Hudson King has always been cautious around women. But this one had been different—so disinterested in his celebrity, so convincingly into him. When Ellie tracks him down, claiming she’s carrying his baby, he’s stunned. And more than a little betrayed.
But after growing up as an orphan, he’ll do anything to stay involved in his child’s life, so he urges Ellie to move to Silver Springs where they can co-parent. Hudson has a lot of love to give—certainly enough for his child, and when their initial spark reignites, perhaps for Ellie too… 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Until You Love Me is the third novel in Brenda Novak’s latest series. Each book within this series can be read independently and out of order. Once more, Brenda Novak has delivered another masterpiece. A story featuring a single woman who hold herself into a tight wad. But that all changes when she fI ally lets loose for one night. A night of fun that changes herworld faster than she ever thought. Ellie is pregnant with a stranger’s child. She never got his name. Her goal is to track him down….only that proves to be difficult. Hudson King has not had the perfect life growing up…and now, he learns that he’s a father. He won’t let his child have the same life as he did. Co-parenting is the only option. Neither Hudson nor Ellie thought that their one night could end up bringing them together in more ways. Sparks fly. Heat is there and so is the blossoming chemistry. I fell in love with the characters. Their situations reflect real life. Messy, complicated, and never easy. Until You Loved Me is a brilliant contemporary tale. Brenda Novak has reeled me into her latest story. Filled with romance, hope, and maybe a happily ever after….overall, I highly recommend this novel to readers everywhere. Once you start like I did, you won’t be able to stop until you finished reading it. 

Review: Ralphy the Rabbit Finds Himself

Synopsis:

It’s never too early for a child to learn to feel special and happy about who they are.
Ralphy the Rabbit has always been self-conscious about his ears because they look like dog ears. He’s ecstatic when Marta finally overlooks them and takes him home from the pet store. But when Oscar the Cat fakes an injury, compelling Marta to neglect Ralphy and nurse a faking Oscar back to health, Ralphy wishes he could speak like the parakeets in the pet store to let Marta know about Oscar.
One day, Ralphy spots a magician on TV, who changes a rabbit into a little girl. That’s it! Ralphy wants the magician to change him into a little boy. He could get rid of his dog-like ears and tell Marta about Oscar! The problem? The magician works far, far away at the flea market and Ralphy has no way to get there. 
When an opportunity arises for Ralphy to get a ride to the magician, he and Oscar wind up stranded together on the streets of Orlando. Can Ralphy and Oscar overcome their differences and help each other? Will Ralphy reach the magician?
Join Ralphy and Oscar on their journey of self-discovery where they have the opportunity to learn about friendship, creativity and acceptance and above all, about being comfortable with who they are.
Ralphy the Rabbit: Finds Himself is the first book in the David L Wallace chapter book series. If you like entertaining early reader stories that provides you a way to teach a child to feel good about themselves, then you’ll love David L Wallace’s debut children’s story.
Get Ralphy the Rabbit: Finds Himself and give yourself a fun way to help equip children to navigate their ages 6-8, preteen and coming of age years, today. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Ralphy the Rabbit Finds Himself by by David L. Wallace is a beautifully illustrated children’s book. Inside, are many lessons to learn. Educational and entertaining to follow. Every page is engaging. I couldn’t stop reading it. Major themes of friendship and acceptance are found here. Ralphy the Rabbit is an interesting character. I instantly fell in love. Overall, I recommend this read to readers everywhere. 

Author Interview with Patricia Gachagan 



Author Interview: Patricia Gachagan, Born Together
ULM: What lead you to writing your inspiring memoir, Born Together?

 

I have always been attracted to writing, keeping journals over many years as well as being a fan of the old-fashioned pen and paper letter writing as I travelled and lived abroad. I simply started one day to write down and express my deep feelings about the unexpected journey I had been taken on after giving birth to my son. I always wanted to write a book and before I knew it I had 20,000 words written and realised this was my opportunity as well as my motivation.

 

 

 

ULM: What was the journey like for you as you went through your diagnosis of multiple sclerosis?

 

There was an element that the whole situation was unreal and that surely it couldn’t be Multiple Sclerosis as I had only just had my baby and I was in the throes of adjusting to life as a first-time mum. It was also quite terrifying waking up in a ‘different’ body day by day, with my ability and mobility changing dramatically and I had no control over it. I was consumed by fear at the same time as experiencing joy with my wonderful baby. It was a real juxtaposition of my emotions to contend with.

 

 

 

ULM: What were your first thoughts when informed of your diagnosis?

 

I suppose it was disbelief in amongst the absolute panic as I had found out by accident, on my own with baby Elliot, at a routine doctor’s appointment. Even although I knew MS was the main contender, I was still shocked at the realisation that my worst fear had come true. My panic was not for just for me, but for how little Elliot’s life would be affected by my diagnosis. I was so scared to begin with.

 

 

ULM: How did you feel when writing about your journey in Born Together?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of writing Born Together. From the very first sentence, I was hooked. My writing journey unlocked many emotions, from grief and fear in the beginning to finally the relief of accepting my ‘new’ self and abilities. It very much challenged me, but I embraced those challenges fully and seized it as an opportunity to move forward with my new life.

 

 

ULM: Was the writing therapeutic for you?

 

Writing was very therapeutic for me and serendipitously came along at the same time as the counselling sessions I had been referred to by my GP. They very much worked together. They challenged me to the core about how I had been dealing with my diagnosis and all the changes it had brought about in my life. I had to face some hard truths and painfully let go of the ‘old’ me. It was not an easy task, but it was the beginning of a much brighter and more positive future. I am very grateful for my writing journey.

 

 

ULM: How did you find the determination to get through this difficult time for you and your family?

 

That was easier than anything else I had to face physically. Just one look at Elliot, just the thought of my wonderful son with his whole life ahead of him was enough to drive me forward with lethal determination that his life would not be adversely or negatively affected by me having a lifelong diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

 

 

 

ULM: What advice would you give to others going through what you did?

 

To stay positive and learn to accept your new self and the changes to your life. That is part of a process and doesn’t happen overnight, but the sooner it does happen, the better it is for yourself and those around you. There is the need then to adapt to those changes, but to stay very much focussed on what you can do and not hold on to the past and what you can’t do anymore. Try to see it as a new beginning and not an ending and take charge of your own health. I am very pro-active in managing my MS and that has been a defining fact in my new abilities and creating a different quality of life, but still one that is enriched and fulfilling.

 

 

ULM: As a mother of a new-born with a disability, was there anyone you had for moral support? What gave you hope during these struggles?

 

I didn’t then, and still don’t now, see myself as someone with a disability. I see myself as ‘differently’ abled, but able nonetheless. I focus on what I can do and achieve and it is a lot. My husband, Allan, was an amazing support and tower of strength. He still is and he too is very pro-active and determined. My mum and sister have been selflessly committed to supporting me and Elliot and were around a great deal in those early days. Elliot, and the importance of his future, gave me the hope and the belief necessary that I could manage well and turn my life around from a path of ill-health and disability to one of positivity, achievement and ultimately a happy and fulfilled family life.

 

 

ULM: What’s your favourite quote to live by?

 

‘Do ordinary things to live an extraordinary life.’

 

 

 

ULM: Your memoir mentioned a new treatment. Would you recommend it to others?

 

This new and pioneering treatment is called Robo-Physio and is based on a ‘Spinal Approach to Health’. It is a physio therapy device which releases the stiffness in your spine. I have seen good results of this therapy, but it needs to be used on a regular basis to maintain the benefits. It helped very much with my fatigue and ability during the period I tested it, allowing me to be able to move my body better, balance better and walk better at that time. This is a private therapy, but I would certainly suggest people look in to it and consider giving it a try. It is available through Pacla Medical and you can contact them to arrange a free trial. There are no side effects which is a clear bonus and seems to make it worth trying to see if it is suitable for you individually.

 

 

ULM: What are your plans for the future?

 

I plan to continue writing and sharing my positive message as far and as wide as I possibly can. I plan to live as full and enriched a life, with Multiple Sclerosis, as I possibly can. I want to show others that a chronic diagnosis like mine does not have to be the end. We all have to take what we’ve got, whatever that may be, and turn it in to the very best we can.

I have introduced my MS jigsaw to help support individuals with MS and I plan to develop that further with a view to extending self-help ideas for living with MS. My MS jigsaw has many pieces, all of which can help someone with MS manage their symptoms and reach the best quality of life they can.

 

 

ULM: Where can readers find you and your memoir online?

 

Readers can find me at www.patriciagachagan.com for more information and to buy Born Together. It is also available through kindle and at bookstores, such as Waterstones, to order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Faery Sight

Synopsis:

The realm of faery is breached and for the first time, Celeste comes face to face with a human. He strikes her as an extraordinary specimen and although they have yet to speak, her heart is racing. But Paloma, Celeste’s mother, is on her deathbed and before she breathes her last, the gruesome circumstances of Celeste’s birth are revealed, thus establishing the reasons why Celeste must leave the realm – her home. Grieving for her mother and dreading her inevitable entry into a world she knows is led by a woman bent on destroying her, Celeste yearns for one more glimpse of that handsome intruder.
Displeased with Celeste’s foolish longings, Nahia, Celeste’s birth sister, reminds her of a certain arrangement, also disclosed by Paloma, which means that when Celeste reenters the human world she views as contemptible, she will do so as the bride of a complete stranger.
Celeste has never been one to shirk or delay, but she won’t allow her romantic hopes to be dashed. She is compelled to fulfill the promise made to her dying mother, and she must satisfy Nahia, but above all, she must be free to give her heart to whomever she pleases.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Faery Sight by Patricia Bossano is one of the most fascinating YA reads, I’ve ever read. The book was deeply engaging from the start. I love it when novels suck me into their characters’ lives. Here, I met an interesting young lady, Celeste. She knows of the Faery world. A world must humans aren’t aware of…then her world turns crazy. Her mother tells her shocking things and now, it’s up to Celeste to choose her destiny. Rich, entertaining, and epic. This story has it a lot to offer. Righting wrongs, chasing down a sorceress, and returning back to a Faery world to claim the place as a rightful heir. Themes like loss, grief, love, and courage are found within the  novel. The charcaters both bad and good make this a must read. I felt like I was really there experiencing it all first hand. Well-told. Patricia Bossano has cleverly peaked my interest with her writing. I can’t wait to read more by her. Overall, I recommend Faery Sight to readers worldwide. 

Review: Whispering Winds




Synopsis:

Healing is a power that fifteen-year-old, Brenna Finlayson, has fought long and hard to subdue. When a harebrained idea suddenly occurs to her, she risks losing everything by revealing herself to the one person she fears losing the most. 

  

Brenna’s spontaneous unveiling brings about the revealing of other truths. She, and her twin sister, Keely, have destinies to fulfill. Destinies that require them to fight. maybe even kill. As an innate healer, violence is the last thing Brenna wants.  
In an attempt to live a normal, peaceful life, Brenna rejects her heritage, choosing a different path. But the path she chooses doesn’t bring her the normalcy she was hoping for. 

Not even close. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Whispering Winds Unveiled by Tiffany Garnett is another great YA read. For fans of the paranormal genre this needs to be added to your list. Two sisters, twins, have destinies to fulfill. Like most charcaters in this environment one of them isn’t too thrilled about her destiny. Avoiding her path, Brenna still faces the life she tries to avoid. The plot was intriguing. A bit slow at first but worthy of reading. A new adventure full of drama and twists. Brenna is a charcater that is easy to relate to…her life isn’t easy and tough choices have to be made. Overall, I recommend Whispering Winds Unveiled by Tiffany Garnett.

Review: Dragonsoul

Synopsis:

Littlehorn is the last dragon, born into a world that wants him dead.

The dragon’s blue scales and orange eyes are a stark contrast to the dull gray around him. The sky is gray. The ground is gray. Everything is gray, even the skin, eyes, and hair of every other living creature, including humans.

When Denyth, a simple farmer dreaming of a world of color beyond the gray encounters Littlehorn, the two set out on a journey to find the truth of where Littlehorn came from and if there truly is a world of color beyond the gray.

But Denyth isn’t the only human who knows of Littlehorn’s existence. A dragon-hunter named Zero, who has dedicated his entire life to purging anything of color, is coming after Littlehorn to finish the job.

Dragon and human flee together to the colorful land called Evenar, coming across a host of odd, colorful creatures, including a cat-like shapeshifter who can hear the land, a pacifist troll who wields a club the size of a tree trunk, and even a group of walruses who can talk.

Just as they think that they have found paradise, they discover a terrible secret: humanity wasn’t responsible for the fall of dragons after all.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Dragonsoul by Kayl Karadijian is an interesting YA fantasy. I liked the two worlds created by this writer. One of color and life and the other full of gray and doom. The farmer boy who finds the last dragon egg made my heart melt. The two new friends travel in the world of color…where there are other fascinating characters. While the dragon hunter tracks the farmer down down to kill his new friend the dragon, aka Littlehorn. For those who love adventure, fantasy, and a good journey, this is definitely a novel to read. I was captivated by the plot from the beginning to end. Overall, I highly recommend Dragonsoul to all. 

Review: Under a Desert Sky


Synopsis:

There comes a time in life when we find ourselves in the desert place of burning questions. Why? Why me? But even as we shake our fist heavenward, the heart whispers another question. Who? Who are you, God? It is a question of relationship, a question we all murmur in the hardest places. 

Against the backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, Lynne Hartke asks her own hard questions as cancer arrives like a thief with one goal: to take it all. Hair. The contents of a stomach. A marriage. A life. As her days become a blur of doctors’ appointments, treatments, and surgeries, she wrestles with a tumble of tangled emotions, a shaken faith, and self-doubt. Cancer is now not only threatening her own life, but, in a surprising twist, the lives of both her parents as well. 

Through her raw, lyrical words, Hartke invites fellow sojourners to discover that in life’s hardest places, they are not alone in their fear, they are not foolish to hope, and they are never forgotten by a loving, pursuing God. Never. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Under a Desert Sky by Lynne Hartke is an inspiring memoir of one woman’s journey with cancer. Cancer is the toughest path one finds in life. It takes hold of us, crushing us under its pressure. Sometimes, we feel like we’ve lost the battle and want to give up. However, this book, redefines hope, beauty, and faith in the hardest places. Lynne Hartke’s words grabbed my attention immediately. Her words made me cry and feel that hope never dies. Pain only makes one stronger. Beautifully written by a survivor, who went through it all. Pain, grief, and hope. Overall, I deeply recommend this memoir to all. 

Review: Goodbye Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison? (less)

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner is a stunning YA novel. Instantly, the plot dragged me into its depth. Deep, emotional, and troubling. As I read further, I wasn’t sure of what the outcome would be. Intrigue, sheer curiosity, and the intensity of the tale hooked me. Friends, death, loss, and uncertainty are major themes found on every page. The main character, Carver Briggs, has a way of luring me further into his life journey. Blame, angry, and heated moments are sure to follow…overall, Goodbye Days has the effect of breaking me into a million pieces and pulling me back together. That kind of epic adventure is truly one worth reading. I recommend this title by Jeff Zentner to readers worldwide. Whether one is a teen or an adult, the pages will send you falling into the book.

Review: Three Little Words 




Synopsis:

“Sunshine, you’re my baby and I’m your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she’s not your mama.” Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system. 

Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative,humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed – and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter is a biography that readers everywhere need to read. It gives readers a deep insider’s view to the foster care system. Sure we all think that it’s great the kids will be taken care of and all. But not all foster homes are perfect. Just like the fact that Americans are forced to believe about a 1950’s ‘ideal American family image’ that no family actually lived up to…society isn’t always that great. Inside this nonfiction book, I got to journey through the writer’s life as a foster kid and how she overcame the obstacles. I was deeply troubled by what occurred to her while in foster care and my heart tore in a million pieces. No child should have it worse when being taken care of…yet this woman did. I spent some time in foster care myself due to both my parents; however, my time in there was okay. But not all are lucky. I knew what happens. I remember seeing my day taken away from us kids the day before foster care picked us, kids, up…thus, relating to Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s memoir was easy and sad. Bad memories…Three Little Words is a well-written book. I highly recommend it to readers worldwide. 

Review: Jorie and the Magic Stones




Synopsis:

When Marjorie went to live with her frosty maiden aunt, she couldn’t imagine the adventures she would have with dragons — good and bad — and all the strange creatures that live in a mysterious land beneath the Tarn. The spunky 9-year-old redhead forges an unlikely friendship with an insecure young boy named Rufus who lives with his crusty grandfather next door. When Jorie — for that is what she prefers to be called — finds a dusty ancient book about dragons, she learns four strange words that will send the two of them into a mysterious land beneath the Tarn, riddled with enchantment and danger. Hungry for adventure, the children take the plunge, quite literally, and find themselves in the magic land of Cabrynthius. 

Upon meeting the good dragon, the Great Grootmonya, Jorie and Rufus are given a quest to find the three Stones of Maalog — stones of enormous power — and return them to their rightful place in Cabrynthius. Their mission is neither easy nor safe, and is peppered with perils in the form of the evil black half-dragon who rules the shadowy side of the land. They have to deal with a wicked and greedy professor, the tragic daughter of the bad dragon, caves of fire, rocky mountainous climbs, and a deadly poisonous butterfly. 

Jorie must rely on her wits and courage to win the day? Can she do this? Can she find all three Stones? Can she save Rufus when disaster befalls him? Can she emerge victorious? She and Rufus have some hair-raising challenges, in which they learn valuable lessons about loyalty, bravery, and friendship. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Jorie and the Magic Stones by A. H. Richardson is a children’s fantasy full of magic. Adventure, friendship, and danger can be found within the these pages. I was immediately drawn into the tale. A. H. Richardson has a way with leading readers further into her world of fiction. As an adult, I was fascinated with the journey. Dragons, magic, and tons of action to keep me entertained all night long. The charcaters are three-dimensional. It’s easy to relate to them and get lost within the scenes. Traveling a magical land, completing a challenge, and finding oneself is a lot of fun. Rich, engaging, and well-told. Jorie is a brave girl who journeys far to help find three stones and return them. Along the way, things happen. Danger is close by and the suspense was phenomenal. I can this book being loved by both adults and children alike. The story elements are appealing to all ages. Overall, I highly recommend Jorie and the Magic Stones to readers worldwide. 

Review: You Are A Queen


Synopsis:

What do you want out of life? What type of person do you want to be known as? What goals are you actively pursuing? At this moment in your life no matter where you are, I urge you to allow discipline to outweigh desire.When considering sex and relationship it is time to put each in the right perspective as both have their importance and respective placement. Perception is everything, yet for many the problem is that they tend to “put the cart before the horse.” Predominantly most people place sex ahead of marriage, relationship before intimacy, and desire tends to precede the caution of rational self-discipline. The greater truth here is that without self-discipline, no matter what you want in life, success will be impossible. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

You Are A Queen by Derrick J. Little is an inspiring read for all women. It’s a deep Thought provoking book. It asks questions that make the reader really question about what they’re doing with their life. It motivates women to be better. To be strong no matter what. Derrick J. Little’ nonfiction guide also teaches women to love themselves. I found positive change in this title. Life isn’t easy, but we can learn from it. Inside I was pulled in…to look thoroughly at myself. Where I am at now, where I wanted to be, and how were my appearances, actions and words taking me. Explored my conscience, feelings, and actions as a woman. Derrick J. Little also has some exercises that readers can go through after reading certain parts. I thought this book was great. Getting to know oneself better. A coaching to review my behavior and myself and see where I was heading and whether that was the direction I wanted to go. Overall, I recommend You Are A Queen to readers everywhere.

Review: Evil Rises




Synopsis:

THE MAKING OF A MONSTER

Warp speed action. Gripping story. Compelling read.

From China’s ancient spiritual center, the rogue monk Chin arises to redefine Shaolin Kung Fu as a battle plan for his lust for criminal power. Cruelty, murder, and torture are this monk’s hallmarks.

How did Chin become like this? More importantly, as he builds his global criminal syndicate, will no one stop this errant true believer? Can anyone stop Chin and his criminal army? Do they even have the guts to try?

Just like classic literary villains like Tony Soprano or Keyser Söze, Chin gladly spills rivers of blood to force the world’s underbelly to kowtow to his plans.

With cold, unblinking precision, author Wesley Robert Lowe takes you all the way inside this icy criminal empire. Unleashed is the perfect introduction to the psychopathic cosmos of Shaolin Darkness. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Evil Rises by Wesley Robert Lowe is a thrilling read. Every page is full of action, choices, and danger. The suspense was in full force. An epic journey of one man determined to become a monk like the one he met. But once a good man…is now an evil one. I enjoyed watching this particular character go from one end of a spectrum to another. Quite interesting…to watch as it all unfolded. 

Wesley Robert Lowe’s writing is great. I was easily entertained and hooked. The character’s life was becoming a sad one until he left it for another ….then it spiraled out even far worse than it started…and whether it will change for the better or not is for readers to dig in and read. I recommend this dark, violent, and engaging novel to readers everywhere. 

Review: Rayna 




Synopsis:

Rayna escaped the bordello as a teenager. She meets a Buddhist monk that helps her to learn that life is worth living again. She learns different languages and several studies of martial arts. Rayna also has a secret. Without warning, time will stop moving. Only Rayna is allowed to move in this frozen world. She can not control it, but uses it to her advantage to seek revenge on those that have hurt her.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Rayna by R. K. Marts is a wonderful YA fantasy. One that instantly draws out an emotional attachment to the protagonist. I felt her sadness, anger, and frustrations. Then, the knowledge about her birth mom only led my curiosity out further. 

Rayna is a young girl who spent her entire life in an orphanage. The kids teased her because of her pretty looks. She has never known her mother. Soon, she’s adopted and and that’s where the plot takes a knife to one’s heart. Dark, frightening, and sad. Rayna will experience things girls herage never should have to go through…yet it still happens. From there she escapes and friends a monk. A man who defended her. I wanted to hug the monk. After that the plot spirals readers further on a journey of revenge, discovery, and a mission for truth. 

R. K. Marts’ book was easy to read. Following along, was simple. Danger, violence, sex, arejust a few themes inside this tale. I would recommend this YA read to those eighteen or older due to the adult content. Beside that, the story was powerfully told and engaging to read. I recommend Rayna to readers worldwide. 

Review: Mary Poser


Synopsis:

The recipe for a warm and humorous story…

In a modest bowl of Nashville, gently place a girl who is Country music, Bible belt, and a steakhouse foodie.

Then add a surprise portion of exotic and handsome Anglo Indian to the container who is a passionate Bollywood director, vegetarian and Hindu.

Stir vigorously on a bed of intense attraction. 

At first, the ingredients will seem to clash and separate.

Keep stirring…

Include a dollop of jealous boyfriend and a meddling mother.

Splash in a serving of fun and mischievous friends.

Keep stirring…

Add a dash of crazy aunt and a minister father to keep the flavors working together.

Sprinkle in even more complicated family members to taste.

Cook on high emotions.

The secret ingredient that cuts through the sweetness is a final layer of shocking revelation that adds a surprising depth of flavor.
Finish with a twist of ‘Oh My God! Is she really going to do that?’.

Serve as tasty bite-size chapters in a novel dish of mayhem and madness with a side of 

Country music and Bollywood dancing.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Mary Poser by Angel A was the most interesting novel I have read in awhile. The culture and religious content Mad me even more curious. The entire story was entertaining. The main character, is in a sticky situation. Her parents want her to do what they want yet she’s not happy…and what makes her happy is something they wouldn’t want for her. However, she has to,learn for herself whether she wants to break free and be happy or live forever within the hold of her parents. Life is messy, complicated, and a major struggle after struggle. Here, Mary Poser has what I call the real life syndrome. Struggles are just a part of life. Mary is at a crossroads…and when she finally finds the courage to make a decision it will be beautiful. The tale lagged a bit at times but then picked up speed. Angel A created a realistic plot that readers can easily relate to…and feel connected to the characters. Overall, this story was a great read. 

Review: The Dog Who Was There



Synopsis:

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told. 

Rating:  4.5-stars

Review:

The Dog  Who Was There by Ron Marasco is one of the most interesting biblical stories I have read. It is told through the eyes and ears of a dog, named Barley. Barley takes readers on a wonderful journey. The emotional tugs at one’s heart is hard to ignore. This story wasn’t to be about, Jesus, the Kind Man. It was more about Jesus and his teaching. Along the path, readers got to meet a variety of new characters. Each one holding a piece to this tale. Their stories made the learning experience quite stunning. 

Ron Marasco has brilliantly led me back into the past. Exactly during the time of Jesus. Here, I got to meet a loving couple who took in a dog, Barley, as well as criminal. Through the animal’s experience I enjoyed each scene. It was beautiful, to watch. Struggles, new relationships, friendship and a lot more can be found inside this book. The Dog Who Was There is an epic page turning read. Both the title and cover lured me to read it, and I am estastic that I did. Overall, I recommend to all Christians. Truly, a perfect read.

Review: The Hope Chest


Synopsis:

The Hope Chest is a deeply emotional novel about three people who have seemingly lost all hope until one woman’s heirloom hope chest is rediscovered in the attic, along with its contents and secrets.

Mattie is a fiercely independent woman battling ALS; Don, her deeply devoted husband is facing a future without his one true love; and Rose, their struggling caregiver, is a young, single mother who feels trapped in her life. With each item that is discovered—including a beloved doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and not only helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges but also brings new meaning to family.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Once more Viola Shipman has stunned me with her characters. The plot is like a vine. It keeps growing until it has me wrapped itself around me…taking me deep into it’s story. The heart of it, is sad yet beautifully told. Life, love, family and most of all hope. A family passes on the words of hope to their daughter. Later on in her life, she passes it onto her helper and her husband passes it on the the helper’s daughter. The Hope Chest is more than just a title or suggestion. It has meaning. A purpose that draws more life into the lives of others. Viola has sucked me into her main character, Mattie’s life. She’s suffering from ALS. Her hope has vanished. Until the Hope Chest is found and once more the forefront of the tale. Mattie’s suffering brings tears to reader’s eyes. Her husband has to watch as his once strong wife grows weaker each day. So much hope and joy has vanished that it’s intense when Mattie looks at her old home. Remembering her life as it was. But then enter’s a new woman. Rose. She is a helper for those needing extra care. Mattie and her husband need Rose’s help. Don, Mattie’s husband is trying not to cry and trying to breathe. It’s hard for a man to keep strong around his wife. Her life isn’t the same anymore. With Rose, life becomes more joyful. Don once more has hope…even as Mattie is deteriorating. The ending made my heart break and mend with love and hope. Overall, I loved reading this book. Viola Shipman creates a world where readers lose the,selves completely. Getting caught up within the emotions brought on by the scenes on every page. Stunning, well-developed, and the most engaging novel, I have read. Truly, a masterpiece all should read. I highly recommend it to all. 

Review: Faces of the Mother



Synopsis:

What happens when a group of everyday women go off in search of the most vital riches they contain…leaving behind notions of who they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing?! Through this creative inner journey, Sharon Ann Rose, M.Div., intimately explores with a circle of women the many facets of the Mother…the full spectrum of Her deepest darkness to Her lightest ignition. Each woman goes through a life-altering transformation, facing resistance, shame, freedom, surrender, past wounds, new awakening, ancient understandings and the realization of what we encounter as we commit to fully living from the Sacred Feminine and its integrated expression in our modern world. Faces of the Mother offers an intimate portrayal of the REAL DEAL of CREATION, offering a pathway to face one’s greatest self-judgments. Here we learn to honor our deepest longings so we can work with, instead of resist them, and birth a life of beauty, blessing and extraordinary love.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Faces of the Mother by Sharon Ann Rose is deep, thoughtful, and a soul enriching read. This book is written for all women. No matter what difficulties in our lives or what kind of lives we live…every woman can find encouragement. Relaxation is also a key topic. Life is stressful enough. With this beautifully written guidebook, women can find their stress levels dropping. Each chapter focuses on different topics. Each new topic helps the readers feel motivated, less stressed, and renewed with energy. It was like Sharon Ann Rose breathed life into her pages and once opened, readers breathe it in…

While Faces of the Mother is a guidebook it is also a bit religious in a way. However, I didn’t let that bother me at all. It felt more like women speaking to women about daily things. Rather than a gospel book. There were prayers inside it. I thought those were nice. Calming, steady, and a way for others to connect. A total personal transformation kind of read. It inspires. The artwork with each section was easy on the eyes. I loved the color tones. They suited well with the book’s content. Overall, I recommend this to women everywhere.

Review: How to Mend a Broken Heart


Synopsis:

A compelling, heartbreaking tale that will make you laugh, cry and believe in the kindness of strangers. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.

Life is good for nurse Kat. That is until the man she intended to marry legs it, she’s unexpectedly promoted to a position with too much responsibility, and a patient arrives on her ward under strange circumstances.

Susan is a mystery. She refuses to speak or interact with anyone, she’s obsessed with a book of fairy tales, and the only name in her diary is that of Rhys – a plumber she barely knows.

Down-to-earth Rhys is trying to get his life back on track after the death of his beloved brother. His mum is his priority, and she needs him as much as he needs her. Or at least she did, until she starts disappearing, leaving him to find comfort in the form of his brother’s girlfriend.

Complicated is an understatement.

As the lives of these three lost strangers intertwine, will they find a way to lay ghosts past, present and future to rest? And when the chance comes to mend their broken hearts, will they be brave enough to take it?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

How to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Mansell is a tale for all. It’s about three people who dig through their lives finding a way to mend what’s broken. Happiness can only be found if determined to find it. Life is complicated and messy. Women everywhere can easily relate to the characters and their issues. Real world issues masterfully told in an entertaining way. Deeply emotional and thought-provoking. Mysterious, intriguing, and highly engaging to read. It was easy to follow along as the plot unfolded. Everything felt real. The pacing of the story is slightly slow but good. I haven’t read anything by Anna Mansell before, until now. I recommend her nove to all. Healing is an important themes that needs to be read and explored by everyone. 

Review: The Karaoke Queen

The Karaoke Queen: And Her Year of Yes (Adventures of The Karaoke Queen Book 1) by [Powers, Annie]

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes you get older before you actually grow up, and twenty-seven-year-old Kennedy James is about to discover just that.

Sure, she has a fiancé and a future, but she realizes (just in time) that it isn’t quite the future she wants—much to her down-home Arkansan family’s chagrin.

Stifled by the conventions of Southern society, the expectations of older generations, and the everyday struggles of being a responsible adult and professional woman, Kennedy is in desperate need of a change.

She ditches the ring and starts over closer to home. With the help of a lively best friend, a new puppy, and a few nights with too much alcohol (OK, maybe more than a few), her decision to embark on a “Year of Yes” drives her closer and closer to her true self.

Through everything, she slowly discovers a person she can truly love—the quirky, empowered, karaoke-loving Kennedy she hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

The Karaoke Queen by Anne Powers is a great read. The main character, Kennedy goes about life exploring. She has to say yes, to everything within reason. I thought that was interesting. However, it felt like she wasn’t really into anything at all. She just skirted by life and ended up where ever life took her. That’s how it felt to me. The only thing that made me like her was her getting Rosie. A newborn puppy. I didn’t feel any kind of emotional attachment to Kennedy. She rolled with each chapter. No connection to anyone or any place. She dumps her fiancé, which I totally understood why. Then, she dates but nothing really hooked me into her story or into why she should be liked. I felt like this was more of a memoir than fiction. No hook. The character was real and I can see her doing the things she did…but everything felt empty. No purpose. Nothing. She didn’t fall in love. She didn’t get her heart broken. Kennedy just does what she wants. This is why I give it only three stars. Felt flat to me. I wanted to be swept off my feet and plunged into the book. That never happened here. The writer’s book was okay. Not the best. The ending held nothing for me as well. So, she forgave someone and moved completely on…but there was no emotional feeling to it. It was like a teacher telling students to do homework. Their minds and hearts are not into it but if they don’t do it, they get a zero. Kind of how this read. The Karaoke Queen would be better if their was a way for readers to connect with Kennedy. 

Review: Cancer Country

Synopsis:

The only symptoms were itching. The prognosis was slightly incredible – a type of cancer that only one in a half million Americans get, and my chances of survival were one-in-ten.
That was the beginning of the journey. Along the way were anger and surprise and relief and fear … a bone marrow transplant … and the feeling of being in a strange country whimsically designed for the absurd.
Visit http://www.cancercountry.com for more information.
From Cancer Country
“In the Medieval world, Death was the standard guy with the scythe, coming around when your time was up. Now then, one morning, drinking coffee in my kitchen around 10 AM, I looked out the window and saw, a few houses away, a twenty-year old guy with a clipboard – a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, or a college kid with some environmental issue.I then had this weird vision of him being Death, of him having started his canvassing miles and miles away, way up in northeast Portland or somewhere, and now, after 67 years of human life, he had made it down here, to me, and in about five minutes would be knocking at the door, and I’d answer it, and he’d ask me if I like unpolluted air and clean water and tall trees, and I’d say Yes, and then he’d ask me for a donation, and I’d write a check, and then I’d sign his petition, and then all this world would be gone, just like that. All the places I’d hoped to travel to – forget it. All the years left with family and friends – over. Yes, that’s it, I thought: the Medieval people had a nice thing going with the black hooded figure and the scythe, but he was so out of date, so past-millennia. This was our hooded guy now: a door-to-door canvasser, clipboard, politeness, a good cause. Death handing you a ballpoint pen that only half-worked.”

Rating: 5-stars

Review

Cancer Country by Chet Skibinski is one of the best memoirs about this particular topic. Cancer. It is one of the most scary things that can happen to a human being. One day, we are perfectly fine, the next, we find out we have cancer. The shocking, frightening, sad discovery is a difficult one to swallow. One can live or die. Surviving it is slightly improving but still it takes a lot of will power going through the process. I was able to get lost inside this incredible memoir instantly. It was easy to relate to and follow along. I have lost people to heart conditions…so, I know how they writer felt when told about the cancer found. Anger, frustration, and grief. However, as the book unfolded, I found some humor as the cancer survivor fought back. I thought the book would end in a certain way and then, I was surprised. It took on a completely different path. One that I was super happy with and the emotional journey tugged at me. So many emotions and not knowing until the ending how or where it was going to lead me. Cancer Country is an inspiring read for all. I highly recommend to readers everywhere. 

Review: A Sister’s Place



Synopsis:

Sometimes the friend you’ve always needed is the sister you’ve always had.
Throughout the years, sisters Gracie and Juliette Bennett have let life’s changes pull them in opposite directions. But when their beloved grandmother Mimi passes away, they’re drawn back together in the most unexpected way. Set to inherit the family home, a charming Craftsman with an overgrown garden and lush fruit trees near the beach in Santa Barbara, the estranged sisters learn there’s a catch: the house can be theirs, but only if they agree to live in it for one year—together.
Suddenly Gracie, a pragmatic paralegal who’s always stayed close to home, and Juliette, an intrepid recent NYU grad in search of the next thrill, are living under one roof. Forced to reexamine their relationship, they find themselves confronting their pasts and bonding over love, heartbreak, and deeply held secrets. Soon they’ll discover whether a sister’s love is what they need to get them through their darkest hours—and if their grandmother’s clever plan can preserve more than just a piece of family history. It just might preserve the friendship of a lifetime…and reveal the sisters and women they were always meant to be.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Sister’s Place by Savannah Page is an interesting yet heart wrenching novel. Losing someone one loves dear is hard. Life does begin and end…and in this case it was time for a grandma to leave. Her family is brought together. Especially two sisters who were the best of friends when they were younger. Now, as young twenty-something’s they hardly speak or are there for each other. Their friendship hanging by a thin thread. However, with their grandma’s wish, both have to live together in the house for a year. Or else the family home will be sold. Neither wants to lose the family house. With no other choice they begin filling their late grandmother’s wish. 

Savannah Page has created a book that allows readers to re-examine life in a new way. Deeper, more emotional, and funny too. I loved following the two sisters. Their journey made me laugh and cry. Both are completely different. The younger one is taller and more of a wild card. The oldest is more calm and a ruler abiding punctual adult. Together, years and memories unfold as they learn to accept each other as sisters. Sisterhood as their grandma, Mimi, called it. It’s a special gift. After reading this novel, it makes me wish my baby sister was closer. As each day grows, I miss my own sister more. A Sister’s Place is realistic and heartfelt. I loved it. Overall, I recommend every woman and sister to read this book. 

Review: The Oarsman




Synopsis:

In the novel, The Oarsman, a magical river begins singing out, and a dying man suddenly aches to know if the paradise at its end is real enough to fill his heart. He hires an oarsman to take him upstream, but a twisted encounter sends them back to revisit every role the man has played in his long life.

A merchant hoarding, an artist trying to capture love with a brush, a warrior looking for peace in war, and a dreamer imagining himself a knight to fight a dragon — these, and more, were faces of the man.

As forces try to derail their quest, and as they row further back into the man’s past, the man begins to suspect that the oarsman is more than he seems.
The Oarsman, with its combination of adventure, fantasy, and spiritual inspiration will delight any reader, and also excite the currents of the river flowing through all our hearts.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Oarsman by Zubin Mathai is one of the most fascinating reads I have read. It begins with a man set on a journey. A journey to finding that peace he so desperately yearns for…yet resides within him the whole time. Peaceful, engaging, and inspiring. Readers will enjoy this tale.  A fantasy that allows readers to explore the character’s deep soul. As the story unfolds the man has a lot to learn before his journey is complete. Man struggles. Life is complex and difficult. But if we truly allow ourselves time to discover, we can find what we search for inside ourselves. I loved the deep meanings found on the pages. Rich, entertaining, and beautifully told. The book almost makes life look like a maze. We all must find our way to the end (opening). Overall, I highly recommend The Oarsman to all. 

Review: Three Fat Singletons



Synopsis:

Dotty the virgin, Jesse the divorcee, and Mary the man-eater are best friends with four things in common: they are single, obese, pushing 40, and unsatisfied with life.

Together they explore the fat-underworld of London including blind dates, Internet dating, phone sex and the possibilities of lifetime celibacy.

When a week-long getaway to Greece turns into a whirlwind of romance, sex and horrific embarrassment, each one of them will have to decide what they really want in life.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Three Fat Singletons is a laugh-out-loud kind of read. Readers will find themselves relating to the realistic issues of the three women. Being fat is a major issue we see in our world, today. Here, are three friends who are struggling with being over weight. Their heavy weight is the center of their problems. Then, there’s their choices they make…that leads them further into a whole. I thought it was great to read about real women with real issues. Dotty, Jesse, and Mary are as real as characters can get in fiction. It was refreshing. Most books portray skinny or curvy women getting the hot sexy man and lucking out with everything. However, in the Three Fat Singletons, J.M Bartholomew captures reality with ease and flair. I enjoyed following the friends as they went opabout their situations from food to men. Their journeys are not pretty nor the best, but it was quite entertaining. Well-written, funny, and three dimensional characters…I would recommend this novel to readers everywhere. A great women’s fictional piece, as well as a comedy. 

Review: Of Stillness and Storm




Synopsis:

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing. 

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix is a stunning tale. The emotional journey is like a strong current taking readers deeper into the characters’ lives. Sad, heartbreaking, and silent. The pages bring to life one family’s struggles. They started out as one unit and then…into broken pieces. Only time will tell if they ever heal and become whole again. Michele Phoenix has created a beautiful heart wrenching masterpiece. The characters dilemmas are so real,that it’s frightening. Readers like myself will need a box of tissues nearby. A storm so powerful will drag readers into an unforgettable world. A mother’s love, a broken marriage, and an injured child are just the highlights to this story. Communication comes and goes. It left me wondering if the communication between the parents will ever connect once more like they used to…and what will happen if it doesn’t. Captivating, intense, and suspenseful. Of Stillness and Storm is indeed a wonderful novel. The title fits the tale like a glove. I couldn’t stop reading this book. I can’t wait to see what this talented writer brings next. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers worldwide. 

Review: Acanemia 



Synopsis:

An irreverent appraisal of America’s higher education players–administrators, faculty, and students–offered by an emeritus professor at a university established in the 1960s.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Acanemia is a fascinating memoir. It took me on a journey to learning about higher education failures. I also got a sneak peak to a liberal instructor’s point of view on education. It was quite an informative read. Lawerence E. Hussman took me through his journey of learning in school while talking about the good and bads of higher education. He doesn’t blame a particular group or institution but explains it’s a group failure. This book discusses the numerous issues facing the American higher education system. I agree with the writer. As an American student, the higher education has many failures indeed. Lawerence E. Hussman goes on with suggestions to reforming the higher education system. One such problem is that school officials have a personal versus inclusive agendas. This a major effect upon education and those earning their education. I found this book to be quite educational. I enjoyed exploring the roles of education and the system itself. Acanemia is a must read whether one is getting their education or working in that field. It’s even beneficial to those looking to solve the issues happening everywhere. Lawerence E. Hussman gives a deeper meaning to the topic. Both drawing from his personal experiences and from what he does as an educator. Overall, I recommend it to all.

Review: The Mortifications

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Synopsis:

Derek Palacio’s stunning, mythic novel marks the arrival of a fresh voice and a new chapter in the history of 21st century Cuban-American literature.

In 1980, a rural Cuban family is torn apart during the Mariel Boatlift. Uxbal Encarnación—father, husband, political insurgent—refuses to leave behind the revolutionary ideals and lush tomato farms of his sun-soaked homeland. His wife Soledad takes young Isabel and Ulises hostage and flees with them to America, leaving behind Uxbal for the promise of a better life. But instead of settling with fellow Cuban immigrants in Miami’s familiar heat, Soledad pushes further north into the stark, wintry landscape of Hartford, Connecticut. There, in the long shadow of their estranged patriarch, now just a distant memory, the exiled mother and her children begin a process of growth and transformation.

Each struggles and flourishes in their own way: Isabel, spiritually hungry and desperate for higher purpose, finds herself tethered to death and the dying in uncanny ways. Ulises is bookish and awkwardly tall, like his father, whose memory haunts and shapes the boy’s thoughts and desires. Presiding over them both is Soledad. Once consumed by her love for her husband, she begins a tempestuous new relationship with a Dutch tobacco farmer. But just as the Encarnacións begin to cultivate their strange new way of life, Cuba calls them back. Uxbal is alive, and waiting.

Breathtaking, soulful, and profound, The Mortifications is an intoxicating family saga and a timely, urgent expression of longing for one’s true homeland.

— The Millions – 2nd half of the 2016 book preview
— New York Times Book Review, 100 Notable Books of 2016

 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Mortifications by Derek Palacio is a fascinating debut novel. This Cuban-American literature takes readers deep into the lives of immigrants. Human needs and wants are explored throughout the story. Home, faith, family and survival are just several themes readers can find. I found it enchanting. Derek Palacio has brilliantly created a Read that will shutter readers’ hearts everywhere. The novel provokes strong emotions and realistic attachments from readers to the characters. Each character presents his or her life to readers openly. The struggles are believable. I found that the title, The Mortifications was indeed a perfect name for this book. There were shameful moments…within the pages. However, this novel showed me the hardness the immigrants like the Cuban Americans faced while trying to create their new lives. It was a refreshing reading experience from what I usually read. The journey is worthy of reader’s attention. The Ecarnacions are a dysfunctional family that experience all the trials life brings and takes from us. Vibrant, entertaining, and bold. Overall, I recommend this writer’s novel to readers worldwide.

Review: Tea Planter’s Wife 



Synopsis:

#1 International bestselling novel set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young English woman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he’s keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies is a captivating read. A historical that sucks readers straight into its world. I was mesmerized by the tale. From the beginning, I liked the main character. A young woman who marries a man and leaves everything behind her. The story weaves an emotional journey that dragged me deeply into it. Frustrating, sad, and mysterious. Dinah Jefferies has woven a book that will hook readers into the life of her novel. A time in history when things were so much simplier yet harder. Marriage life is portrayed as something that is like a rough sea. Both terrifying and rocky. Giving birth to a baby, usually makes a marriage more cemented. Yet, this marriage felt like it was spiraling deeper and further apart. Every page kept me lured. I was so intrigued and wondered what would happen next. A mystery surrounding Lawerence’s first wife creates a hostile and intense environment throughout the tale. Gwen is a female character that all could sympathize with and love. She brings a softness to the tale’s rough edges. Darkness creeps around the couple and holds fast onto the, squeezing out the happiness and only leaving painful memories behind. The Tea Planter’s Wife is bold, engaging, and rich. I loved reading it. This was a historical novel, I won’t be forgetting…the memory of it shall linger in my mind forever. Overall, I recommend this stunning well-written story to all. 

Review: Pepper’s Ghost

Pepper's Ghost by [Auten, William]

 

Synopsis:

Charlotte Alexandra Long is determined to create her own life, but severe reverberations await her at the crossroads of each decision and always the possibility that the very thing she put in place on her own terms could be wiped away by an uncertain future. As Pepper’s Ghost weaves in and out of her experiences as a teen and young adult, and locations in the South and Midwest, Alex emerges from the remains of young Charlotte, but her evolving identity will never escape being an outsider in society’s eyes. After a series of ill-fitting jobs, Alex joins a traveling amusement company as a sideshow performer, where illusion and reality interplay through the metaphor of an old theater trick. She faces challenges from her troubled but devoted father, her self-absorbed mother, a spectrum of circus employees, and emotional ties to memories and places that give solace in times of ambiguity and loneliness.

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

Pepper’s Ghost by William Auten is a YA read that will lure readers into its depth. The young character, Charlotte Alexandra, aka Alex, is interesting. She is unlike most leading female characters. What she really is surprised me…her journey was one wild roller-coaster ride after another.  The dynamics of family life are played throughout this read. The parents make the life for Alex a bit more complex than should be. I liked how as a main character she was constantly challenged. Alex took on each challenge moving through life the best she could do. Sometimes things worked out and sometimes not. William Auten portrayed the realities of life along with fantasy in way the just made readers like myself more curious. Memories…and emotions were strong, it was easy to be swept up within them. Pepper’s Ghost is a coming of age tale that comes off as entertaining, mysterious, and deep. The plot was developed and the pace was steady. Overall, I recommend it to all.

Review: Computer Love Inc.

Computer Love Inc. by [Hansen, Kurt, Hansen, Jessica]

 

Synopsis:

Computer Love Inc. is the story of an imminent bio-robotics boom,
a questionable death, and two young paramedics who stumble into a technological nightmare in the form of a tiny blue chip. With the help of an eccentric godfather, they become compelled to unlock the mystery of what’s become of a famed artificial intelligence manufacturer, forced to make troubling moral decisions along the way. Through sharp twists and action paced faster than an air-car, Computer Love Inc. weaves a complex technological tale of conflict and camaraderie, all the while leading us to ask ourselves: What does it mean to be a true friend? And, should some truths remain unspoken?

Rating: 4 stars

Rating: 

Computer Love Inc. by both Kurt and Jessica Hansen is a fascinating science fiction read. Fans of this genre will immediately fall in love with the plot. It is fast-paced, exciting, and pulls readers into its depth. Technology and the future are major themes incorporated into this well-written novel. I am not usually one to read science fiction, but this one was great. It held my at attention from the start. Plus, it contained mystery, suspense, and a bit of romance. Those are my favorite things to look forward in any read. Both writers put together a compelling read for readers to enjoy. Robots, science, fantasy, and death all in one action packed title. The characters were mostly males who dominated the entire book. Only one female. Quite an interesting world of fiction to explore. Overall, I recommend this book to readers everywhere.

Review: Gone Without a Trace

 

Synopsis:

Hannah Monroe’s boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It’s as though their last four years together never happened.

As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth…

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen is definitely one thriller readers won’t want to miss. I was immediately taken into the book. The main character seems to have two lives. Like another literary novel that we all know and love, this one too, will send readers’ heads for a spin. Try to keep track of what is happening and once you do realize it…there’s been a plot twist that no one including myself expected…the ending was crazy. I never saw it coming. I feel sympthaty for the main character almost until the ending. It was brilliantly phenomenal…

Gone Without A Trace shows us just how insane life can become and how fast our own destruction can take us. Mary Torjussen is a talented writer. Her words soak readers in deep. Luring them into a trap that they never want to leave…it’s frightening yet so real. I couldn’t stop reading this tale. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.

Review: Wreck and Order 


Synopsis:

A boldly candid, raw portrait of a young woman’s search for meaning and purpose in an indifferent world

Purposefully aimless, self-destructive, and impulsively in and out of love, Elsie is a young woman who feels lost. She’s in a tumultuous relationship, is stuck in a dead-end job, and has a relentless, sharp intelligence that’s at odds with her many bad decisions. When her initial attempts to improve her life go awry, Elsie decides that a dramatic change is the only solution.
While traveling through Paris and Sri Lanka, Elsie meets people who challenge and provoke her towards the change she is seeking, but ultimately she must still come face-to-face with herself.

Whole-hearted, fiercely honest and inexorably human, Wreck and Order is a stirring debut novel that, in mirroring one young woman’s dizzying quest for answers, illuminates the important questions that drive us all.

Rating: 3 stars

Review:

Wreck and Order by Hannah-Tennant-Moore takes on strong issues and weaves them into a great novel. The writer has a bold writing style that leaves behind no questions with her readers. Simple too. Readers are then taken on a young woman’s journey into the real world. She relies on her fathers money and while exploring the world. Immediately, I didn’t like the main character. Her attitude seem typical of the young adults who don’t care about anything until their freedoms are restricted. The book unfolds one drama after another. Plenty of adult content like sex and drugs are within its pages. Elsie feels lost and when the ending came it felt as though she were still just a lost soul searching. Nothing in life is easy. That was the huge theme played throughout the tale. I couldn’t sympathize with the main character at all. It seemed that she held the key to her life and the bad choices were all hers. No one else to blame. Readers will get to travel a lot. I still felt the main character has a long way yet to get to get to where she should be. Wreck and Order was exactly what Hannah-Tennant-Moore presented. A young woman wrecking her way through the muddy and daily challenges of life. It was believable and realistic. This was not my kind of women’s fiction. However, it may suit others.

Review: Thanksgiving Eve 




Synopsis:

Ray Seymour receives frightening news from his doctor on Christmas Eve. He goes home, feeling sad and angry, to confront the tense atmosphere of his home. His wife, eight-year-old daughter, and fifteen-year-old son remain separate, not cohering into a family. Ray resolves to make things better in whatever time he has left. Unfortunately, his time has run out. Ray dies that evening.

Ray returns to life to find he’s been given time to try to reconcile his family. He sets out to make them love him so much they’ll feel terrible when he’s gone.
Ray still has to deal with his next-door neighbor, who knows about his time-travelling, his sarcastic sister, hostile ex-wife, and childish daughter. There’s too much to fix and not enough time. And what about that homeless man near the mall who keeps turning up?

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Thanksgiving Eve by Jay Brandon is an emotional journey that will hook readers instantly. The main character’s journey starts out as sad and unavoidable at first…the tension and emotions escalating after that. Then, slowly, the main character takes a deeper look at his surroundings. This causes him to really see and think about his life, especially his family. At, first the attitude towards his doctor is one of anger and confusion then by the ending it changes completely. I loved watching the transformation in Ray Seymour unfold. His character growth was stunning. I wanted to hug the man. He’s one that readers will love and relate to…as well as find him as an inspiration. The stroy shows us what we can do, and that it’s never too late to start helping others. By helping and understanding others around us, life comes to a more peaceful mind than before…

Jay Brandon has a way of luring readers, like myself, into his book. I couldn’t put it down after reading the first page. From there I was thrust into his world of fiction. I felt the wave of emotions hit me as they hit the main character, Ray Seymour. Thanksgiving Eve, is not just a read for the holidays but one that readers can read on any day. Heart melting, realistic, and awe inspiring. Overall, I highly recommend this to readers worldwide. 

Review: Long Way Gone


Synopsis:

“No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone. You can always come home.”

At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.

Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past—and if he is ready to face it himself.

A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin is truly a phenomenal story. I couldn’t believe the writer’s talent. I kept asking myself why or how I haven’t read any of his previous books until now…absolutely amazing. The tale instantly hooks readers into the plot. It was memorizing. The heart and soul can be felt with every page. At first the tale reminded me of the biblical tale about the older son leaving and then returning home. In a way this was similar to that. The main character, Cooper O’Conner is one that readers like myself will never forget. His journey was epic. Sad, realities, and heartfelt. It makes me want to reach out to the character. The past can only hold us back from our futures if we let it. That was the theme I strongly senesed inside here as well as one of redemption and love. Then there was also, hope. The ending was heart melting. I loved reading this latest novel by Charles Martin. He definitely knows how to wrap his words around and into readers’ hearts. Overall, I recommend this coming of age read to readers worldwide. 

Review: Ayden’s Choice


Synopsis:

On the back seat a teenager sat nervously fumbling for his phone in the footwell. His fingertips brushed hard plastic and he strained to inch it closer, fixing his eyes on the driver as he did so that he could plead, “Turn back, please turn back… Sir… Please take me back…”

A terrible crime has been committed that only Ayden can solve with his cyber talents, two innocents without hope are in prison, and the people who should be helping them are blinded by racial prejudice. Will Ayden’s unknown saviours manage to fight the Wall of Blue with their digital powers? Can they prove the truth and give Ayden a new life to unfold his potential?

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Ayden’s Choice by Sam Felix is a young adult novel that I truly enjoyed reading. Immediately, readers will sense the danger and fall for Ayden. He is left with choices throughout the novel.It contained a lot of real issues. Issues that are still being faced within our world, today. Racial issues seem to never end. However, it is with this new character and fascinating tale that readers will set foot in one of the greatest emotional rides ever. A teenage boy is beyond intelligent for his age. He uses that intelligence to help those who need it. In this case to innocent souls are being condemned. Yet no one is taking their time to really investigate their case nor believe them. Yet, it’s this innocent boy, Ayden, who believes and may hold the power to saving them. I was speechless as I read this book. Sam Felix has a way of producing a suspenseful and highly engaging read. I believe that this tale could be a new classic. It contains themes that everyone should be aware of but is set in an entertaining world of fiction. That doesn’t make the issues any less real but it surely shows or opens readers to the issues while setting them an an adventure. Fighting the legal system and saving lives despite what weighs against them. Baited, lured, and hooked. Interesting scenes that come to life. Characters like Ayden are the kind readers will want to meet. Intense plot with great dialogue. The action inside made this a quick read. I enjoyed reading this tale. For fans of technology and action, then this is definitely one I highly recommend. Overall, I recommend Ayden’s Choice to readers everywhere.

Review: Stray Son 


Synopsis:

Stray Son is an adult novel telling the story of a haunted Vietnam vet in the year 2000, reduced to working for a Santa Barbara mortuary, picking up dead bodies. One day he picks up a live one—his elderly father’s young ghost, a WWII Marine who starts following him around town. Then son receives a phone call that his old father just died. At that moment the young Marine knocks on the son’s trailer door. The grieving, confused son can no longer keep this apparition from his wife and kids—and opens the door. The Marine finally declares why he is there: to straighten out his stray son—and bum a ride to see his dying mother in a 1942 Sioux City, Iowa hospital. The son needs to take his family to Sioux City in the year 2000 to attend his father’s funeral. So the young father and the old son take their battles back to World War II on a trip across a wartime America towards death and an elusive reconciliation.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Stray Son by Richard Slota is an interesting piece of literature. Here, readers go one a ride of a lifetime. Traveling between the character’s past and present. Themes like family, love, and redemption are woven into the tale. Stray Son is a novel that leaves readers following Patrick. Patrick defys the norm when it comes to fictional characters in a way. He’s day job is peculiar yet he pays the bills. Bills like the months of rent. His job is to pick up dead bodies. Bodies of people that just died. Then, there’s his life background that made me feel sympathy for him. Soon, he sees a ghost and thinks he’s losing it. Only he can see a Marine. A Marine ghost that doesn’t stop following everywhere. Until, he introduces the ghost to his family once he found out that his father died. Sort of. Now, as a ghost and staying near the son he kicked out…is a lot to swallow. I found this tale stunning, heartbreaking, and realistic. The emotional journey of father and son is one that readers won’t be forgetting. It will stay with me forever. The sadness became my own. The life that the older son, Patrick had to live through because of his mother and father…was crazy. Yet in the end, it was good. Saddening in a good way. Then, somehow, when readers will least expect it, Richard Slota, surprises readers once more. Stray Son, is a great story. So much was packed into it. I felt like I was swallowed into one of those movies that make the watcher cry endlessly. Sad but good tears. Overall, I loved this powerful yet gritty novel. I recommend it to readers everywhere. 

About the Author
My life is about going for the long odds, so of course I’ve written a literary novel, Stray Son. I assisted at autopsies in the army during Vietnam and worked countless hard scrabble jobs since. I earned my Masters in Creative Writing, have BA’s in Theater Arts and Psychology and I am a produced playwright and published poet.

Review: Surviving Mental Illness (My Story)


Synopsis:

The Road to Recovery…

Written from the perspective of someone whose life has been challenged by mental illness, this book offers help, hope, and inspiration to others struggling with psychological disorders. It provides information about mental illness in general—and mood disorders in particular—valuable tips about treatment and medication, and resources and organizations dedicated to helping those suffering from these disorders. 

Surviving Mental Illness helps break through the fear and stigma of mental illness and focuses on how to find health and happiness. The author shares her personal journey: the heartbreak and challenges of bipolar disorder, and the joy of making her way back to mental health. Through her own story, she shows that help is out there, and with a little faith, recovery is possible. 

My faith in G-d has led me to recover in ways you cannot imagine. Life is having faith to overcome any obstacles, and that is what my recovery from mental illness is all about.
Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Linda Naomi Katz’s book, Surviving Mental Illness, is a must read for all. Not just to educate ourselves on mental illnesses or to make ourselves more aware of what it’s like for those suffering from them, but to put ourselves inside their shoes. As a college student I took course in sociology. They all mentioned a term called stigma. That is a term for the labels that a society forces upon a person of group of people. It’s not a good thing. In fact, we all should steal clear of stigmas. But we’re humans and we fall into society’s trap. Until we’re the ones suffering from it. I fell in love with the writer’s book for many reasons. One it talked about the stigma issues on those with mental illnesses. Second, it led through Linda Naomi Katz’s journey as she battled her own mental illness. Her life journey was both inspiring and educational. I want to hug the writer. She went through a lot and worked hard to get to where she is. The ending doesn’t just end with the book. Both her and her husband work in discussing and teaching others about mental illnesses. I was surprised that these two amazing people didn’t let life get to them. Instead they both embraced it and with determination succeeded. I recently was forced to watch a TED speaker for a recent class of mine. It was about failure. Failure was defined as giving up instead of pursuing our goals or dreams. It talked about grit. Grit being the passion to continue in life when all seems hopeless. If we have grit like Linda Naomi Katz did, then we are successful no matter what. This book reinforced that TED talk. I truly believe and felt that this book, Surviving Mental Illness has what it takes to make a difference in this world. Whether it’s to bring an awareness, to stop the stigma against those with mental illnesses or to educate us what it’s all about…the book’s contents will stay with me forever. I found it very inspiring and plan to share this with as many people as possible. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers everywhere. 

Review: Willowkeep

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Synopsis:

Charlotte Darby’s ship is sinking. Penniless and alone, she is struggling to care for herself and her young sister in the harsh seaport town of Hull. But when a solicitor from London brings news that she is the heir to a vast estate in Kent, it seems her days of rough seas are over. Willowkeep is prosperous and grand, far too much for a shipping merchant’s daughter to manage, and she quickly comes to rely on the help of Henry Morland, the estate’s kind and handsome steward. Henry has worked hard his entire life, but all the money he’s saved won’t be enough to get his father out of debtor’s s prison. And Henry’s fondness for Charlotte and her sister is only another reminder of his low status and lack of wealth. Though he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charlotte happy and looked after as the county’s wealthiest lady, she can never be his.
Courted by a charming man of the ton, threatened by those who want her money, and determined to keep her sister safe from the same fate that cost her the rest of her family, Charlotte must face some heartrending decisions. For no matter the size of the fortune, life and love are never smooth sailing.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Willowkeep by Julie Daines is a romance novel set during the regency time period. This historical setting was perfect. The setting and mood were set just right. Readers won’t be able to put this book down…I was hooked. Instantly Julie Daines takes readers on a journey. One of an older sister taking care of a younger sibling. Both are higher up in society than the servant that serves them so well. It was different to see a servant actually want to take care of his superiors in the way Henry does here. He knows he’s not for Charlotte but can’t help feeling attracted to her. His actions are good. I really liked him as much as I did the sisters. The younger sibling has a learning disability that readers do not hear about much in these kind of novels. I was happy that Julie Daines portrayed this into her stunning tale. It was charming, realistic, and sweet. This was the first novel, I have read by this talented writer. I hope to read more by her in the future. Overall, Willowkeep is a must read for all who love romance and historical tales.

Review: Supernova

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Synopsis:

C. A. Higgins’s acclaimed novel Lightless fused suspenseful storytelling, high-caliber scientific speculation, and richly developed characters into a stunning science fiction epic. Now the dazzling Supernova heightens the thrills and deepens the haunting exploration of technology and humanity—and the consequences that await when the two intersect.

Once Ananke was an experimental military spacecraft. But a rogue computer virus transformed it—her—into something much more: a fully sentient artificial intelligence, with all the power of a god—and all the unstable emotions of a teenager.

Althea, the ship’s engineer and the last living human aboard, nearly gave her life to save Ananke from dangerous saboteurs, forging a bond as powerful as that between mother and daughter. Now she devotes herself completely to Ananke’s care. But teaching a thinking, feeling machine—perhaps the most dangerous force in the galaxy—to be human proves a monumental challenge. When Ananke decides to seek out Matthew Gale, the terrorist she regards as her father, Althea learns that some bonds are stronger than mortal minds can understand—or control.

Drawn back toward Earth by the quest, Althea and Ananke will find themselves in the thick of a violent revolution led by Matthew’s sister, the charismatic leader Constance, who will stop at nothing to bring down a tyrannical surveillance state. As the currents of past decisions and present desires come into stark collision, a new and fiery future is about to be born.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Supernova by C. A. Higgins is the second adventure in this brilliant series. A sci-fi fantasy that brings women up to the forefront and puts them on an unthinkable journey. I found this novel, quite interesting. It had all the right elements of its genre and still swept me off my feet. I love the computer intelligence shown inside this tale. One that is almost human like. Frightening, intriguing, and highly entertaining. Supernova is about computer science, emotions, and choices. Choices that can have consequences…C. A. Higgins is a talented writer who words lured me deep into a fantasy that has it all. Fighting, action, and technology. The emotional journey was like that of a roller coaster ride. Very exciting. Overall, I recommend this tale to readers everywhere.

Review: The Ghost Writer

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Synopsis:

Once a writer, always a writer . . .

What would you do if you came back as a ghost? You could finally write that novel . . .

Meet Arnold Showalter, ghost.

At night, Arnold haunts the magnificent underground Mystic Caverns of Appalachia. But during the day, Arnold becomes The Ghost Writer, the first “literary voice from beyond the grave.” Yet before Arnold can capitalize on his fame, he must first exorcise the “ghosts” of his own past. And it is easy to become bitter when one is dead . . .

Fortunately, Arnold’s world is rocked when he meets Clarisse, a 15-year-old fatality of a car accident. Her fresh outlook and spunky energy awaken Arnold to the real possibilities of post-life existence. Clarisse inspires a quest that takes Arnold to the farthest reaches of the universe, and deep within himself.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Ghost Writer by Damon Norko is a paranormal urban fantasy. Imagine being a ghost, who is a bestseller from the beyond. However, being a ghost even a talented writer doesn’t suffice especially for Arnold. He needs something more to keep him busy. A ghost that is easily bored, is one that will get into a whole leap of trouble. Arnold needs a friend to quake his thirst in his afterlife. Fate is funny, because he ends up getting not one but many friends. Friends who will also get into major trouble along with Arnold. Arnold is a ghost that is not like any others i have read about…he days the norm. Damon Norko has created an unusual yet highly entertaining fantasy that readers everywhere will enjoy. The ghost’s journey and growth as a character are brilliant. Arnold is also, very easy to connect with…his feelings are believable and portray him as realistic. I enjoyed this short easy-to-read novella. The Ghost Writer is one that baits, lures, and hooks. Overall, I recommend it to all.

 

Review: Gatekeepers of the Grapevine

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Synopsis:

Set in gorgeous Cape Town, South Africa, GATEKEEPERS OF THE GRAPEVINE follows the lives of three women as they navigate through their tumultuous relationships and changing fortunes.

Elizabeth and Carolyn both live in the luxurious gated community of Vintner’s Estate, but Carolyn is harboring a secret. When Elizabeth stumbles on the truth, she plots to use the information to her advantage unaware that her own life is soon to spiral out of control.

Living off the Estate is Elizabeth’s neglected sister Sarah who starts a design business and quickly becomes the darling of Vintner’s Estate. As Sarah’s fortunes rise, Elizabeth battles to regain control as queen bee, only to discover that her own life has been as much of a lie as Carolyn’s.

Filled with scheming and secrets, GATEKEEPERS OF THE GRAPEVINE will keep you turning pages until the very end.

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

The Gatekeepers of the Grapevine  by Jane Paterson is indeed the perfect title to this novel. There are three women whose lives intertwine inside this book. Two are sisters. The other is not. The realistic version of what sisters  can be like is revealed. I liked that it wasn’t forced nor fake. Complete opposites was another theme but regarded the sisters more so. The tale overall, was deeply engaging from beginning to end. I felt that the ending could have been stretched out a bit more. Other than that I found this to be a great read. I enjoyed the suspense and the different lives presented. I got to live through a couple of African women’s lives. That was the most interesting part. South Africa is hardly mentioned in fiction and when it does pop up, it’s usually always a good book. This novel caught my attention immediately upon opening it. The characters will tug readers into a two-way direction. There are some things I enjoyed about them and other things I didn’t like about them. Meaning they weren’t characters I would want to best of friends with but could tolerate if I had to…Overall, The Gatekeepers of the Grapevine is definitely for those who liked Sex in the City. For those who like a good mystery and secrets than this is the book, I recommend to read.

Review: Deborah Rising

Deborah Rising: A Novel Inspired by the Bible by [Azrieli, Avraham]

 

Synopsis:

Set in ancient Israel, Deborah Rising (HarperCollins, 2016) portrays the dramatic (and unlikely) rise of the first woman to lead a nation in recorded human history. In the tradition of The Red Tent, The Fifth Mountain, and The Mists of Avalon, this absorbing novel delivers an inspiring story of suspense and adventure in pursuit of freedom and self-determination, starring a courageous 14-year-old girl who would become the most powerful woman in biblical lore.
Before he was murdered, Deborah’s father had dreamt that his daughter would one day become the leader of the Israelites. But the social and religious mores of her time dictated that a girl must marry–even against her will–and obey her husband in all matters. When Deborah is forced to marry the violent son of the local judge, she rebels, determined to forge a path of her own.

Captivated by the notion of escaping the arranged marriage and fulfilling her late father’s dream, Deborah embarks upon an epic journey to find a mysterious elixirist, one rumored to be blessed with the ability to turn women into men. It is a journey that proves increasingly perilous–filled with wild beasts, lustful men, unscrupulous priests, and warring tribesmen. Yet Deborah manages to attract unlikely allies, including lepers, slaves, Moabite traders, and even a dead tiger, while she persists in the face of seemingly insurmountable setbacks and continues to pursue her daring quest.
Part historical novel, part adventure story, part visionary fiction, Deborah Rising is a captivating tale about a girl on the cusp of womanhood, whose unrelenting struggle to overcome discrimination, sexism, and paternalism spoke to the lives of girls and women today.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Deborah Rising by Avraham Azrieli is a stunning historical fantasy. One that has an epic journey that no reader could guess. It’s nothing like anything I have read. This novel brings about some historical people and their customs as well as what kind of lives they lived back then. I was constantly intrigued by the story. Each page sent me on another journey. the main journey was one that a father passed down to his youngest. After losing her parents and her older sister, the young girl sets off to fulfill her destiny. However, trouble comes her way each time. The men from her land are worshiping idols and killing innocents due to lies and greed. The lives of women are similar to those of the Indian customs. Many women are controlled by men. A paternal ruling that still survives, today. I was frightened by what the women went through constantly. Even if they followed rules by their society there was always a man or men who abused them. Sadly, many are stuck in this threatening lifestyle. Like Deborah’s older sister. One false accusation and she like many other women were stoned to death over a lie. Women were not permitted to speak on their defense. I almost wished Deborah’s sister retaliated. Imagine letting your own people stone for no reason at all. Why should the innocent be slaughtered so easily? Realistically told and captured the time period perfectly. Avraham Azrieli is indeed a talented new author. His work can be read by teens and adults. The issues presented in this novel were strong yet the material was done in a clean manner. After reading this book, I felt like I traveled back in history. The young woman’s journey was quite fascinating to follow. An adventure that is both intriguing and entertaining. Deborah Rising is a YA religious tale, that I highly recommend to readers worldwide. I believe that the issues shown in this title are ones that need to be read by all.

Review: The Tidewater Sisters

The Tidewater Sisters (Carolina #1.5)

 

Synopsis:

Tandi Reese and her sister, Gina, have always been bound by complicated ties. Amid the rubble of a difficult childhood lie memories of huddling beneath beds and behind sofas while parental wars raged. Sisterhood was safety . . . once. But now? Faced with legal papers for a fraud she didn’t commit, Tandi suspects that her sister has done something unthinkable. With Tandi’s wedding just around the corner, a trip to the North Carolina Tidewater for a reckoning with Gina was not part of the plan. But unraveling lies from truth will require confronting strained sibling bonds and uncovering a dark family secret that could free Tandi from her past or stain her future forever.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Tidewater Sisters by Lisa Wingate is an extraordinary novel. A perfect read for all. The tale inside is full of loss, heartbreak, secrets, and distrust. A mystery surrounding the lawsuit in Tandi Reese’s hands lands her back to her childhood home. There she finds things she never thought she had. Anger, frustration, and sadness crept, over readers, as they follow Tandi’s final journey. Imagine two sisters, not on good terms at all and then a horrible surprise leading back to the past. One past, that the main character thought she left behind for good. Her current life has moved forward. A marriage on the horizon with a decent man and now, this.

The Tidewater Sisters is the final book in the series. The writer’s style is beautifully played throughout the story. I felt the emotions as if they were my own. The struggles were believable and the suspense of what was to come…kept me hooked. A fast-paced read that will stun all. I would love to see Lisa Wingate’s novella turned into a movie or TV series. It’s definitely that entertaining as well as intriguing. Overall, I recommend this read to all.

 

Review: To Love a Viscount

Regency Romance: To Love A Viscount (CLEAN Historical Romance) by [Bennett, Jessie]

 

Synopsis:

Her childhood friend is available, but a handsome stranger makes her doubt her choice.

One of the society’s most beautiful eligible women, Miss Emma Roberts knows that her father is dying and she must choose a husband. She has always known Viscount Francis Turner, and he seems the solid choice in her desperate situation. However, another opportunity has arisen. He may be the better choice for pretty Emma.

Handsome Viscount Francis Turner loves his childhood best friend, but he’s also in a desperate situation and must marry quickly in order to save his inheritance. Then the dashing Captain Jonathan Green captures her attention, and he doubts whether she is the right choice for him. He must make a choice to pursue her heart or watch her be claimed by another man, but he must also choose a bride for himself before time runs out.

Emma and Francis must find a balance between romance and friendship—and decide whether a solid friendship is a right foundation, for a lasting marriage. Theirs could be a marriage for love, but Emma must choose between security and the desire of her heart.

Can she overcome her reservations and discover which man is her true love?

Will Francis find a way to save his family home and win the heart of the woman he has loved since childhood?

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

To Love a Viscount by Jessie Bennett is an enchanting historical read. This romance is clean. The soul and heart of this story will captivate readers everywhere. Two best friends find themselves in a desperate situation. One’s father is ill the other is getting weaker. One friend is penniless and the other needs a husband. When both friends meet, their attraction towards each other is visible. However, Francis has to work for his money now, sacrificing his own pride to save his and his father’s home. Emma needs to find a husband before her father dies. He seems to be getting worse each time…and he wants to see his girls married before his last breathe. Fate is funny sometimes. Francis soon becomes a hero in rescuing his best friend Emma for a bad suitor and her father from an evil relative. Francis can’t ignore his blossoming love for Emma; however, he feels unworthy of her love. Emma has feelings for her best friend Francis but then there’s a new man trying for her undivided attention. Who she chooses will affect the rest of her life in many ways.  Jessie Bennett is a talented writer. Her work never ceases to amaze me. I love the charming yet realistic characters. Their drama and troubles make for an interesting read. I enjoyed following both Francis and Emma as their lives changed them and led them into new beginnings. To Love a Viscount is definitely a must read for all. I highly recommend Jessie Bennett’s novel.

 

Review: The Candidate by Lis Wiehl

 

Synopsis:

How far will a candidate go to become president? Erica Sparks—America’s top-rated cable news host—is about to find out.

Mike Ortiz is a dynamic war hero favored to win the White House. Standing by his side is his glamorous and adoring wife, Celeste. But something about this seemingly perfect couple troubles Erica. Is Celeste really who she seems? And most importantly, what really happened in that squalid Al-Qaeda prison where Mike Ortiz spent nine months?

But more than the nation’s future is at stake. Erica’s relentless search for the truth puts the life of her preteen daughter Jenny in danger, even as Erica’s own dark past threatens to overtake her.

In her latest Newsmakers thriller, NewYork Times bestselling author and Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl weaves a taut and chilling story. The Candidate is packed with political intrigue and media manipulation as the lust for power turns deadly indeed.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Candidate by Lis Wiehl is the latest new novel in the Newsmakers series. Lis Wiehl couldn’t have planned her novel better… in time when the presidential campaigns are happening. No one trusts the government. Exactly what one would do to become the next president is a dark thought. With the technology of today and money made available, anything can happen. My thoughts were running back and forth like crazy. The suspense killing me. I had to read this new novel. Then, take the interesting yet peculiar couple that is trying to win seats in the White House. Both persons are a mystery. Where their intentions really lay is a question for Erica Sparks to solve. But with any kind of digging like this can bring a danger Erica never wanted. The danger that could come after, the one she loves the most…her daughter. The Candidate is a political thriller that will lure all readers in like a magnet. I was captivated, intrigued, and hooked. Lis Wiehl’s writing is one that entertains and drags readers deep into her worlds of fiction. Killings, witnessing, and an investigation that sent my heart racing. Family life is complicated but as much as Erica Sparks. She is the main character that proves to be a strong heroine. Overall, I recommend this new read to readers everywhere.

Review: Wishing for You

 

Synopsis:

She’s a girl who can’t remember. He’s the guy she can’t forget…

It’s her final semester of high school, and Kimberley Rey is curious about what will come next. She needs to pick a college, but her memory disability complicates the choice. Will her struggles, to remember, make it impossible to leave home?

Help arrives through an unexpected and supernatural gift. Grant is a “genie” with rules. He can give her thirty wishes (one per day for a month) as long as the tasks are humanly possible. Kimberley knows just what to ask for–lessons in how to live on her own.

But her wishes change when a friend receives a devastating diagnosis. As she joins forces with Grant to help her friend, Kimberley learns that the ability to live in the moment–to forget–may be more valuable than she ever knew.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Wishing for You by Elizabeth Langston is a beautifully written novel. One that makes readers want to revisit it time and time again. The main character, Kimberley, has short term memory. This is viewed as a great distress to her. However, throughout the tale, she learns that it’s not as bad as she once thought. Her weakness makes her special. She is perfect for a man who needs a woman like her. The bond between the two characters is sweet. I loved how a man looked beyond Kimberly’s weakness and saw her strengths instead. Absolutely, an enjoyable fantasy read that will delight many. The friendship, romance, and subject matter covered within were amazing. Elizabeth Langston masterfully wove real issues into an entertaining yet inspiring novel. Overall, I highly recommend Wishing for You to readers everywhere.

Review: Resolve, Courage, & Hope


Synopsis:

On December 13, 2007, in the small town of Lake Wales, Florida, Leon Davis Jr. walked into an insurance agency with a gun, duct tape, and gasoline. He demanded money, wrapped two women in tape, doused them with fuel, and flicked a lighter.

In what is considered part of the worst killing rampage in Polk County history, Resolve, Courage, Hope tells the true story of how Scott Headley picked up the pieces after a longtime client deliberately and viciously killed two of his employees, the aftershock of Davis’s murderous rampage, court trials, night terrors, and regaining his sense of self.
Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Resolve, Courage, and Hope by Scott Headly and Alison Nissen was an intriguing memoir. It’s unlike most I have read thus far. It’s about one man’s journey into the darkness. How he crumbles and falls into a black hole. Letting it swallow him up whole. His journey happens so quickly and is quite frightening. I was shocked, scared, and interested. My heart broke into many pieces not just for the man mentioned but for his family and the families of the women who died. Death, destruction, and hope. Nightmares that come and stay forever. Those are images one can never forget. Sad, well-written, and highly engaging. I had to read it all. Needed to know how the memoir ended. Resolve, Courage, and Hope is a new read that I recommend to all. It shows the darkness that haunts our world and plagues those who still survive. Overall, a great read. 

Review: Enjoy the Ride


Synopsis:

This memoir chronicles the last seven years of the life of Uncle Sammy, a Holy Fool, as he travels the different dimensions of dementia. There are stories of deep wisdom in this simple tale, written by Sandia Siegel and Sammy after he came to live with her in Hawaii. He is truly a rascal and an unlikely sage.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Enjoy the Ride by both Sandia S. Siegel and S. George Green is a beautifully written book that all will love. It is about an older man who goes through the journey of suffering from dementia. I can truly relate to this book because someone from my family is suffering from it as well. It’s hard for us to accept a loved one going through the it. This title, gave humor and wisdom everywhere. It made me laugh, cry, and love it. Truly a refreshing outlook and a real experience that readers can be sucked into as well as enjoy. Life seems too harsh not to try and enjoy the present moments. Enjoy the Ride is definitely a memoir that I would highly recommend to readers everywhere. 

Reviews: Big Flies



Synopsis:

After Chester Daniel David, highly celebrated travel writer and hospitality critic, dies in an automobile accident, his son, Leland, is the heir to his prosperous estate. Among the late writer’s possessions are stacks of magazines hidden in an attic that suggest that his stories about his world travels were less than authentic.

As Leland grew up, it seemed as if his father was never home. If he wasn’t at the exotic locations depicted in the various publications, then where was he? What was he doing?

In a witty mystery that simultaneously follows the lives of the father and son, clues that Chester leaves behind point to notorious unsolved crimes committed within a fifteen-year span:

  • The D. B. Cooper plane skyjacking and ransom demand in the Pacific Northwest
  • The theft from a Caribbean museum of a twenty-four-carat-gold cross recovered from a sixteenth-century shipwreck
  • The inexplicable vanishing of $1 million from the Chicago First National Bank
  • The theft of a collection of priceless artifacts from a Mexican anthropological museum

As Leland unlocks the mysteries surrounding his father’s true life, he finds himself with even more unfathomable questions that he never anticipated asking about his family—and himself.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Big Flies by Keith Hirshland is a great read. I found myself intrigued by this talented writer’s style. It switched back and forth from two of his characters’ point of view. They told the story. Imagine losing both parents and finally after the loss of the second parent, the truth of that parent comes to light. What was once thought to be truth is far from it. A mystery woven into another mystery. The suspense was great. I enjoyed following the characters throughout the book. A son trying to discovery what he dad was and really is. I can relate to that as well. My dad is quite a mystery himself. Some questions still are not answered and maybe never will be. However, this novel was realistic, stunning, and one that all readers can easily connect to in one or more ways. Brilliant, clever, and mysterious. Keith Hirshland has a way that lured me in deep. I couldn’t stop reading it. Overall, Big Flies is one mystery I highly recommend to all. 

Review: Jack and Jill Went Downhill

Jack and Jill Went Downhill by [Gould, R J]

 

Synopsis:

Jack and Jill meet on Freshers Big Party Night at university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. Despite their backgrounds, personalities and interests being poles apart, the relationship flourishes during their university years. It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they start work, Jack in the City and Jill as a teacher.

Way back when they first met, they’d shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot – Jack falls down and Jill comes tumbling after.

Their relationship is on the rocks. Can it survive?

Rating: 4 stars

Review: 

Jack and Jill Went Downhill by R.J. Gould is a great read. The beginning moved too slow for my own interest. However, the middle was where it got super interesting. I mean there was action and all to enjoy. I felt that R.J. Gould could have left off the first part aka the beginning or shortened to a bits and pieces throughout the book like a flashback from the characters’ standpoint. The characters’ emotional journey hit it off in the middle. The ending made me wish the book wasn’t ending quite yet. The romance between the main characters is symbolic in many ways. I thought the portrayal of the romance between them was real. I can’t see most humans forgiving so easily all the time like most novel would have us readers think is believable. The realistic side of relationships can come off harsh and difficult. But that’s life. The story overall, was entertaining once the action started to come into play. Then, from there the rest was highly entertaining. I enjoyed the title and how the story captured the title onto its pages. I would recommend this read to others.