Monday, January 20, 2020

Review: The Woman in the Car Trunk

The Woman in the Car Trunk The Woman in the Car Trunk by John Meany
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book is about an ex husband seeking revenge on his ex wife for divorcing him. I am ambivalent about it. I went through a soon to be ex husband threatening me, and my children, with a loaded gun over the filing for divorce. It really does happen. The story, I felt, was possibly made with good intentions. As such, it brings to the table a scenario that happens too often. However, the raw emotion was missing. Trust me. The terror you feel is paralyzing. When you’re sitting in a chair with a six month old in your arms and a ten year old holding her three year old sister in hers, you are absolutely aware of everything you can’t do. You are absolutely aware the man in front of you, with the gun, has taken away any physical chance you may have had. You don’t argue. You lie. You lie worthy of an Oscar but you don’t pick a fight. You know with all your heart you pick a fight and those children are either going to die in front of you or they are going to watch you die. You don’t bring up things he did wrong. You don’t bring why you want the divorce. Their only chance is on you convincing him that the divorce is something you regret, (not a lie, as, in that moment, you are regretting with everything in you), you lying about getting back together, lying about how much he is wanted at home and how you just didn’t know how to stop it. You lie with your heart pounding so hard you are certain you will die, once the children are safe, from a heart attack. There was no raw fear. It was like it was just another argument. The only time I felt her fear was when she was in the trunk.
I don’t know the author’s experience with domestic violence. It didn’t feel to me as if he had any knowledge outside of bad movies. He made a big point of her nudity under her robe and her breast spilling out. I felt like that was there to titillate and it really bothered me. Domestic violence is a real problem. The victim may be female or male. They deserve to be treated with dignity. Most likely, in the abuse situation, they weren’t. I know I wasn’t. I can’t even begin to write out that horror. It stays with you. The memories can bring you down at any time. You can be fine and then a crying mess in a moment. I’m hoping the author wrote this to bring attention to the issue. If he did, even though it was poorly written, it earns the actual 2 1/2 stars, (I round up as I can’t actually give a 1/2). But I’m left feeling as if what I, and thousands of others, experienced was just for entertainment purposes. And that’s why I can’t give it more stars.

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Review: Girl Targeted

Girl Targeted Girl Targeted by Val Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Girl Targeted is the author’s first book. I, of course, read the second first. I highly recommend you read this before you read Only Lies Remain. There are parts in Girl Targeted that are intense and it is heightened if you haven’t read Only Lies Remain. Though, really, I was barely breathing through one scene even with what I knew.
I like how this writer spins her stories. In this one I did use a book club book so I could make a tree to make it easier to keep track of who everyone was and how they connected. There is a lot happening that needs to be solved but those things keep me turning pages. I was up all night! I kept saying just let me see how this chapter ends; I think I got it just a few more pages; omg what! I can’t stop now; and finally, oh wow the end is here and I smell breakfast, (I can smell the coffee shop across the way). It was worth staying up and I can sleep for a bit this morning.
I like Aoife and her curiosity. I don’t like that she doesn’t always think of the danger. I have heard it said, what you don’t like in someone else may be because you don’t like it in you. I’ll leave that there. Haha. Jason had me furious. I’m not certain anyone will like him. Yet I married someone who acted like that. I really think most of us have met a Jason. After experiencing one, I hope you haven’t been up close and personal with one. If you have, I hope you made it out okay. I understand his reasonings but bad things happen to us all. It doesn’t give you the right to treat others badly. I’m torn on my feelings for Maura. Amy was once again the only character I was trusting...and she was only eight months old. Good job Ms. Collins.
I hope you didn’t think I was going to go into the plot. I’m too afraid I’ll give out spoilers. Go read the book. I hope you enjoy it!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Review: Wings and Broken Things: Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Wings and Broken Things: Paranormal Cozy Mystery Wings and Broken Things: Paranormal Cozy Mystery by Trixie Silvertale
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the series. I have read it in the order written. I would encourage that because you will appreciate the growth of Mitzy, the main character. That growth is most noticeable in this book. I really loved how Mitzy is settling in with her “family,” which I believe is where her personal growth is coming from. By family, I am referring to more characters than her dad and ghostly Gram. Family is often people we choose. Mitzy is also becoming more comfortable with her gift and learning to use it. I have personally enjoyed the slow paced discovery and education of this part of the story. It allows me time to adjust along side of Mitzy.
There is a romance angle, of a sort. Mitzy has been smitten by a certain hot sheriff since she came to town. Aforementioned hot sheriff may, or may not, return the affection. Now, I don’t mind a background romance going on in my cozy mystery. Depending upon various factors, I don’t even mind when it goes from strike to home run in a few books. I can handle a triangle happening for a number of books that eventually goes one way or the other. (Please no stranger popping in after twenty books and that turns out to be the pick with marriage happening before the book ends. I mean we’ve gone twenty books with her debating which guy how does marry in one book someone we don’t know? But I digress. Sorry.) There is something to be said for an uncertain relationship. Mitzy and Erick have chemistry. They also don’t always see eye to eye. So will they or won’t they? I don’t know but I’m having a fun time with the dance. In this book, we have a possible new dance partner enter the scene. I’ll leave that there for you to discover how that goes. Along with a brand new mystery or two that need to be solved. I never give out anything on that. I’m too afraid to spoil your fun. Go enjoy the book!

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Review: The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude

The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. My opinions stated here are how I feel about the book.
This book is actually a companion to a book called Simple Abundance. I have not read that book. I am thinking of getting it. You do not need to read it to enjoy this book.
I have always been a grateful type of person. My experience with life has been more difficult than easy, starting in childhood and continuing through adulthood. I believe that when you are repeatedly hurt as a child you come to believe what you are told. You start to believe that you do deserve to be hurt. It can lead to a lifetime of pain. Unless someone steps in to teach you different, you most likely stay with what you know. You choose the type of people you are familiar with. I wanted different for my children. I actively choose everyday to do my best to show them they were loved and worthy of kindness. Unfortunately, I never felt that. So they were witnesses to the complete opposite of what they were getting. I know, now, how confusing that must of have been for them.
Somewhere in my childhood though, most likely through the books I read, (definitely Anne of Green Gables), I learned to be grateful for whatever good came my way. I learned that you can choose if that glass is half empty, half full or waiting to be topped off with something delightful. I learned that you can’t control how anyone treats you or what they say to you. You can, though, choose how you let it affect you. You can choose how you respond. That’s not to say it is easy or makes anything better. Some things hurt with a hurt so deep you absorb it even as you choose to respond with forgiveness or kindness. But you can still find little things to be grateful for. You may have to look hard at something you would rather bury deep inside but, if you do look, you will find it. That’s what this book is about. The challenge of finding five things, no matter how small, to be grateful for each day. You can go a step further and make that five things you have not written on any other day. That means you only get to say I’m grateful for health, family, friends, my pet, the sun, moon and stars one time in one year. The rest of the things must be different. This will prevent the book from becoming repetitive and force your brain to think positively in almost every situation.
The book starts out with words from the author. I found them realistic and inspiring. She then goes on to 150 Overlooked Blessings. I love this list. Yes, you can cheat and use this list to write on your paragraph. But it is only 150. You need 365 days of five not repeated blessings to be grateful for. That’s a lot. It might seem too much right now. All those months with the days listed and blank lines waiting for you. But as you go along, if you do this each day, you will find an odd thing happens. It becomes easier to find the blessing, the one tiny good thing in something horrible, the one thing you will choose to be grateful for. No. It doesn’t stop bad things from happening. You will still have unexpected things to get through. But you may find instead of a bad day, you now have had a bad moment. The day is still good. Tomorrow is still unblemished, a promise of deliciousness in waiting.
I find this book, with it’s monthly paragraph of inspiration and the scattering of quotes throughout, to be a good focus point. It encourages me and keeps me on track. The end of the book has lined pages eagerly waiting for your moments of happiness to be recorded. That is what we want, isn’t it? Happiness. Joy. Love. Kindness. They don’t need to be profound moments of great inspiration. A joke that made you laugh joyously and with abandon. A smile of understanding. A quiet moment of a shared burden. A surprise kiss. A flower picked for you. A poem that touched you. A song that had you dancing. Whatever it is that brought a moment of happiness, it was time well spent. Record it there.

* Thank you Goodreads, Grand Central Publishing, The Hachette Book Group and the author, Sarah Ban Breathnach for the opportunity to review and delight in this book. I shall put it to good use and I will use a gratitude space on you.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Review: Year-Round Trouble: 14 Original Cozy Holiday Mysteries

Year-Round Trouble: 14 Original Cozy Holiday Mysteries Year-Round Trouble: 14 Original Cozy Holiday Mysteries by Susan Y. Tanner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Year-Round Trouble is my first encounter with Trouble the wonderful black cat. I am so enchanted by him that I want to find every book he is in! If, like me, you haven’t read of him, I cannot encourage you enough to get this book. If you read his adventures than you are probably already planning to get it.
This book, written by various authors, is centered around a year of American holidays, (and yes, Cinco de Mayo, the way it is celebrated, is an American holiday. My ex-husbands as from D.F. and had no idea what we were doing. It took a couple of years for him to get over us making a huge fiesta over it.). I loved that smaller holidays were included, including my son’s favorite, Veteran’s Day. I know and love several of the authors included in this anthology. Many of them, though, I had not read before or had only read in other anthologies. I was blown away by how well this came together! You have 14 different authors with 14 different main characters who wrote in 14 worlds yet kept the book flowing flawlessly! That is a major feat. Kudos to all the authors! You are all tremendously talented and dedicated to be able to blend the stories so they stayed true and separated yet connected around Trouble.
As I stated all the stories have their own main character. Some of them are familiar to many cozy mystery readers. For me, I looked forward most to seeing who Ritter Ames was going to write about, (Mia on a train ride you don’t want to miss reading about); catching up with Lily Gayle from Susan Boles; and Cherry Tucker, (why can’t I just say Cherry? It’s always Cherry Tucker for me, as if there are tons of women named Cherry.), from Larissa Reinhart. I looked forward to reading some authors I have on my TBR and keep promising myself I will read them and to reading completely new to me authors. I am so happy to say I was not disappointed. Every author wrote fun stories that made me want more of them. Do you know what surprised me the most though? All these different styles of writing and Trouble stayed consistent throughout the book! I was prepared to have his personality or speech slightly changed because of all the different authors. That did not happen. No matter who was writing the story, Trouble was Trouble. I marvel at that. It was amazing!
Yes, I am recommending you get this book. You can read it all at once. Or you can read each story around the holiday it celebrates. If you are doing a cozy mystery travel challenge, this book will help you knock off a few states. Whichever way you decide to read it, I’m sure you will be as surprised and delighted as I was.

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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Review: The Christmas Secret

The Christmas Secret The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know. It’s sappy sweet. Some of the characters are less than desirable. But it’s Christmas! And I have a love of all things Christmas. The town and residents are so sweet you might need to check your blood glucose levels. Christy is a struggling single mom. She comes to the aid of an elderly woman and it sets off a train of events leading to a happy ever after.
This book has been made into Hallmark movie. Yes, I watched it. Yes, I enjoyed it. Even more so since it did follow the book. If you watch Hallmark Christmas movies than you probably have seen it.
I would recommend this book to Christmas lovers who enjoy sugary sweet romances.

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Friday, January 3, 2020

Review: Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun Midnight Sun by James Dommek, Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this selection greatly. I listened to it in one sitting because I was so engrossed in the book. It brings up points that need to be discussed. What does make up a jury of peers, is one. Mental health and alcoholism are others. It is a sad tale though interesting. I don’t always enjoy narrators who are the author. In this audio selection, I did. Perhaps be the story is a true one and the narration respected that. In my opinion it was well done. I’m happy I listened to it.

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Review: The Woman in the Car Trunk

The Woman in the Car Trunk by John Meany My rating: 3 of 5 stars The book is about an ex husband seeking...