Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: When Love Returns Star Lake #1

When Love Returns Star Lake #1 When Love Returns Star Lake #1 by Lorana Hoopes (LL Hoopes)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Love Returns is the second book I have read by this author. I was provided an ecopy of the book, before publishing, for review purposes. The final version may contain slight differences.

I love Christmas books. There is just something magical about the Christmas season that makes anything possible. Even a second chance love that never had the chance to bloom the first time.

I adore this story so much. First, if you put children and Christmas in the mix you have my attention. Second add in first love coming back and you have guaranteed I will read your book. Who doesn't remember their first love? Who has never wondered, what if things were different and we met again? I will be honest and admit I clearly remember him, (I can still recall exactly what he was wearing and doing the first time I saw him). I do dream about a second chance with him. So you have my attention, you have your book in my hands. This better be good because I am not about shattered dreams when thinking about my first love or Christmas.

I had no need to worry. The story grabbed me from the start. I love the majority of characters. Joy is adorable! I really enjoyed having the custodial parent being the dad. Usually it is a single mom I am reading about. It was a nice change for me. It was also a realistic one. I know quite a number of Dad's in real life who have stepped up. I also enjoyed the fact that there were minor stories going on around them that weren't romantic set ups for future books. Yes that was in there, too, but there were ordinary things going on that were a part of the story. Just like life. People were flawed. There were choices to make. There were misunderstandings and hurts to work out. And there was Joy. Little Joy, who you just want to have the best Christmas and happiest life. Will she get either?

The author writes clean books with a leaning towards Christianity. This book did not overwhelm you with it. It was just a sweet, clean romance. It is a quick read. If you are reading it during the holiday season, this is perfect for relaxing with after a crazy, busy day. You don't have to wait for the Christmas season, though, to enjoy this story. The magic of Christmas is something the world needs on any given day. We all need the hope, the love and the kindness that has represented the Christmas season for decades. The commercialism, eh, not so much. If you need a little sugar in your day to sweeten it, pick up this book.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: A Killer's Grace

A Killer's Grace A Killer's Grace by Ronald Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came across this book through BookTasters. The author provided an ecopy for review purposes.

This book was a surprise for me. It was what I expected yet not what I expected. It opens with a letter from a criminal to a journalist. The letter was not proclaiming innocence though. The criminal admits to the crime but blames mental illness. In reality, this is not uncommon, in my opinion. I have heard many times, it was because he/she was mentally ill. Or abused. Or another excuse. From the opening I expected a story that explores that. I was right but wrong.

The book unfolds with Pitcairn, trying to decide if he should write something or not. It then goes where I didn't expect. Into Pitcairn's life. We learn that while under the influence Pitcairn did something devastating. Something he can't ever change. He can't even truly talk about it, though his AA sponsor and his wife know what happened. He had no way to make amends with this incident. Now, he believes he may have a chance at it. The story then goes on with Pitcairn. We are left with witnessing his journey.But we are not just silent witnesses. With each step he takes we are pulled along, examining our belief about alcoholism, mental illness and more. It is a book that you want to hurry through because you want to know more. But what you want and what you need are at war. You need to go slower. You need to think about a scene. You need to question or examine something. Make sure you have given yourself plenty of time when you begin. I wish I had this book in hard copy. It is one that I imagine would hold a treasure of my musings in the margins. I rarely write in a book but when I do, it is because it touched me deeply. Would I recommend this book? Yes.

View all my reviews

Review: Ken

Ken Ken by Rachelle Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed listening to this story. I found it to be funnier than I expected. When I picked it up, I was expecting a steamy romance. I got that. This story is definitely steamy. I was also expecting it to be a bit more on the serious or depressing side. Being stood up at the altar doesn't make for happy times. Yet that is what Rachelle Ayala gave us. The "honeymoon" was hilarious! The story also held a sweet surprise for me. That twist made it more interesting. The return of the groom made for some tense reading and a what would you do daydream. Yes. Depending on the story and the skill of the narrator, I can daydream myself into the story. I like Chris Abell. He brings the story to life and draws my imagination in. The twist in this story resonated with me and made it easy to put myself in the story. I had a good time. I will probably be listening to this again during the long cold winter days. I recommend the book to romance lovers who like a story with some heat to it.

View all my reviews

Review: Playing the Rookie

Playing the Rookie Playing the Rookie by Rachelle Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this book on Audible.

This is a quick read from a baseball themed series. I have read two others in the series. I'm normally not into sports themed books but I have truly enjoyed this series. The players tend to make cameos in each others books which enhances my investment in the series.

This story involves Jessica, a spring training intern, and Jay. who has come to the US as a rookie to start spring training. There is a spark but will it ignite love or just passion?

I connected more with Jessica. I loved her inner goddess scenes.I liked Jay but just couldn't get into him as much. At first I thought it was because he is a male character. However I have read a few books by this author and this was the first time I had difficulty. Then it dawned on me it was the point of view. I think because each of them had their own narrator, Jay being written in third person was what threw me off. I don't believe I would have noticed as much if I were reading it on my Kindle.I enjoy the look into Asian culture. One of my favorite things about Ms Ayala's books is that I learn something while I am being entertained. She has a way of combining humor with respect in teaching us about different cultures and situations. It is a wonderful gift that helps bring harmony to a battered world.

This book is for mature readers. It is a heated romance that uses mild but somewhat explicit wording. I was listening and had the gardener hooked. I have a small Sitka Rose bush outside my window. He took over 2 hours to trim it, normally he is done in 15 minutes. I guess that is proof this book can be enjoyed by both women and men. Ha!

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Writing - JoAnna

A few weeks ago, I decided to share a short story I had written. After writing about Blue I was a bit haunted by her daughter, JoAnna. I wrote her story as a separate yet connected piece. I don't know if I should continue this or just let it end here. Maybe I should just pick another prompt and move on. If you would like to help me decide, please leave a comment, (approval needed due to spam - sorry), tweet one, (@AlaskanBookCafe), or shoot me an email at alaskanbookcafe@gmail.com with the subject short story. Please be advised that the story deals with a mature theme that may be difficult. It is a story of domestic violence, family violence, child abuse. Domestic violence is usually thought of as being a couple issue. In my eyes, domestic is another word for home and home can consist of more than just a couple. For me, domestic violence is a family issue.You are fooling yourself if you believe only the adults are involved. 

If you are in a domestic violence situation, I urge you to call the hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or go to 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline website where a chat is available along with information. (thehotline.org I cannot link it so please type it in your browser). Leaving is difficult and dangerous. Please talk to someone who can help you. 

Warning: It is not an easy topic nor is it meant for children. There is violence. There may be domestic violence triggers. 

The following story is owned entirely by Alaskan Book Cafe. I am the sole writer of this story. 

JoAnna's Story
My name is JoAnna. I am twenty five. I have brown hair and green eyes. My hair is curly but I take the time to straighten it. It falls to just past my shoulders when curly but nearly to my waist when straight. I am 5'5 and weigh 135 pounds. I watch what I eat and exercise but I am not obsessed. I have gone to college. I was a high school cheerleader. I was a babysitter, a cashier at McDonald's and throughout college, I was a waitress at Cracker Barrel. I now work for Children's Services. I like to dance, hike, and ride horses. I drive a jeep so I can go muddin' in it. I collect fairies. I wish upon stars and birthday candles. I have a boyfriend. He wants to marry me. I have a mom, a brother and a sister. I never really got to know my father. I had a stepfather. Now you know who I am. This is my story.

 I don't have a lot of memories of my dad. He was there when I was little. He went away after Justin was born. When I was little I didn't know why. I do now. My dad wasn't really into kids. He liked them best when they belonged to another family. Don't take that wrong. He loved me when I was little. He just didn't think he should have a bunch of kids he would either work hard to support and never know or know them and watch them grow up poor. My mom, though, she thought having kids made a family. There more kids there were, the less chance anybody could walk away. I guess that came from her mom. My grandma had two kids when my grandpa found someone with no kids and left. I'm pretty sure it wasn't really like that. Honestly though, the only part that matters is how my mom perceived it to be. That perception was what influenced her. My mom was pregnant with me when they married. I have wondered if my dad would have married her if she wasn't.

 I have been told my dad was happy when I was born. That he loved me and was proud to be a dad. My Aunt Margie said I was the only one he wanted.

 “If only your mother would have listened to him and just had you, your father would be here today,” Aunt Margie would start.

 She always made sure to say that she loved Jacelyn and Justin. I suppose she did. It's possible though she just loved Jacelyn and me.

 “It was what happened with Justin. That was why we lost your daddy!” She would cry then.

 She was usually drunk at this point. She was mad at my mom because when my dad left us, he left everyone. Her and her parents were included in that everyone. Her drinking and crying would loosen her tongue up. I was ten, when I learned Justin had a different daddy. I also knew that my dad knew that. The way Aunt Margie told it, my dad wasn't about to have another child after Jacelyn was born. He wasn't ready for her.

 After I was a year old my mom started hinting that she was ready to give me a brother. My dad, so the story goes, kept telling her to wait until things were better. He wanted job security and a home he owned. Mom wanted a baby and husband security. Neither one really won that war.

 So they had Jacelyn. Aunt Margie said my dad was proud and loving again. Unfortunately he was also worried about the future and all of us depending on him. When Jace was a year old, Mom started the hinting again. Dad told her no way. Then, without telling anybody, my dad took care of things himself.
He went to the doctor had a vasectomy done. Aunt Margie said when he came home, he told everyone he came down with a stomach virus at work and needed to go lie down. He took a couple sick days and then life returned to normal. He went to work and my mom kept seeking another baby.

  Aunt Margie said the day mom told him she was pregnant was the darkest day in that marriage. Mom had left Jace and me downstairs with my dad's mom to go to the doctor. When she got back she was glowing and excited.

  “Iris, could you keep the girls over tonight? I have some real happy news for Jackson. I'd like to make him a special dinner and have some alone time, please. Please, Iris? Just for tonight okay?” Mom pleaded.

  Grandma was reluctant but gave in, “Fine Blue. But you come get the girls as soon as Jackson goes to work in the morning.” 

  Mom went upstairs. We could hear her in the kitchen. Grandma looked at Aunt Margie. “That gal is crazy! There's not going to be any happiness in that house tonight!”  No one suspected just how bad the news was going to be though.

 We were sitting at the dinner table eating a special dinner my grandma made us; fish sticks, macaroni and cheese and peas with carrots. Grandma even made biscuits. It was my favorite. Jace liked it too.

 “Might as well make the girls a special meal too,” Grandma had told Aunt Margie. “If the news is what I think it is, no telling when things will settle down for them.” Aunt Margie replied, “I guess a peach cobbler would be nice. It will stretch that little bit of ice cream we have so that everybody can get some.” I don't think anyone got to eat that.

 We were just getting ready for dessert when a roar like you can't imagine came through the ceiling. It was followed by breaking glass and a loud thud. Turned out the loud thud was the table hitting the floor. My dad turned it over when my mom gave him the happy news that somebody was going to be a daddy. I'll say this for her, she didn't lie. Somebody was, just not my dad.

  Aunt Margie, eyes wide, asked my grandpa, “should we go up there?”

 “Nope. Blue knew Jackson didn't want any more children. What the hell was that woman thinking?” Grandpa was a great believer in folks settling their own problems.

 We could hear the yelling getting louder. Grandma was crying. She kept repeating, “Lord watch over my son. Help him accept this new baby.” I guess by then they knew what my mom's news was even though she didn't get to tell them. I guess, too, she should have been praying for my mom. Maybe grandma just figured Mom has her own mom to say prayers. We heard some more thuds, like Daddy was hitting the walls. Then there was running feet and screaming. The door upstairs opened but slammed shut right after. Then things went real quiet and everybody was looking at the ceiling. It's weird how you think you can determine what is happening by looking at a ceiling.

 “I'm going up there!”, Aunt Margie insisted.

 Grandma took us girls and knelt in front of the couch. “We need to pray real hard, girls, so God will hear us.” I don't know. Maybe God was busy or just mad at my mom.

  The next thing we heard Aunt Margie scream to call an ambulance and Grandpa was yelling. I'm not sure at who. I don't even know what he was yelling. I just remember being scared there was a monster upstairs.

  When the ambulance came they took my mom to the hospital and the police took my dad to jail. That was the last time I saw him.

  The next day, Aunt Margie took Jace and me to my other grandmother's house. That was the last time I saw my dad's parents. Aunt Margie would come visit us but always alone.

 Life moved along after we moved to my other grandma's house. It wasn't long until my mom and her mom started getting into arguments. After Justin was born, mom got a job at The Mercado and we moved to,”The Little Village”. I started school . We were poor but so was everyone else in the neighborhood. Then Mom met Rey and our lives changed again.

 It seems like one moment it was Mom and us kids and the next we were, “the happy family.” Even after Rey began hitting Mom, she kept calling us the, “happy family.” It was like she believed we weren't a family if there wasn't a man. I guess that is really why I never told her about Rey. Oh, he definitely scared me. He would come in to use the bathroom when I was in the tub. The first time he did it, he just used the bathroom and then left. Before he opened the door he stopped a moment.

 “I really had to pee, JoAnna. You know how it is when you can't wait.” He winked at me. “Don't go telling your mom. If she gets upset, I'll have to spank her.” Rey could spank pretty hard.

 The next time he came in, he peed and then stood there. After a minute I heard him.

 “Want to see what Daddies look like? I don't want you to be scared when you get married. It would upset your Mom if you were”

 I thought quickly about that. I knew I was suppose to get married. That was the most important thing about being a mommy. I didn't want to be scared and I definitely didn't want Mom upset,so I said okay.

 Things just got worse from there. Rey never did more than having some touching going on but it made me feel sick. I didn't understand why Rey wanted this. If all daddies did that, like he said, then why couldn't I talk about it? Why would Mom be upset? Why wouldn't we be a “happy family” anymore?

 I know now that I should have told her. We ended up not being a “happy family” after all. Even today, as an adult with an education in child abuse, I still felt, deep down, it was my fault. Rey hurt Justin and Mom saw it. For a long time I thought he did to Justin what he did to me. I guess that is where the guilt comes from. Mom kicked Rey out and filed for divorce. Then Rey came back.
 We had gone to the Christmas party at the shelter for battered women and children. It was so much fun. Since Rey left we went to the shelter a couple nights a week. Mom went into a room with other mom's. On Tuesday night Jace and I went into a room with art supplies and long tables. Justin went into a room filled with toys. Both rooms had other kids in them. Thursdays we went into a room with toys but it was just us three with a lady who watched us play. Sometimes she asked what we were playing. Sometimes she joined us. All the time she watched us. The party was different. It was like Tuesday night but better.

 The art room was decorated with lights and a Christmas tree. There was a big chair by the tree. The long tables had red and green tablecloths and were laden with all kinds of food. I remember there was a big disposable pan filled with macaroni and cheese. It made me think about the last time I saw my dad. Mom asked if I wanted some but I said no. I haven't eaten mac and cheese, or fish sticks, since that day. I still don't. There was plenty of other food though. Things like ham slices, potatoes, candied carrots, sweet potatoes with a crunchy sweet topping, rolls and fun stuff, like pizza and hot dogs. One of the tables held nothing but cookies! I had never seen so many different cookies before. Mom fixed us all plates and then we went to sit with Kay.
 Kay was one of the art teachers. I liked her a lot. She always had fun ideas and liked everyone's art work. She had given us a ride to the party and would take us home. We ate. We played. We ate cookies. Then the big moment came. Santa! He was there with a couple of bags of gifts. I couldn't believe it! We weren't even asleep! We sang songs with Santa and then everyone got a gift, even the mom's. After that we went home. We were only there a minute when there was a knock.

 “Kay!” I screamed, running for the door. “Kay's back!”

 I saw my mom coming out of the bedroom but I didn't wait for her. I flung open the door and there was Rey. He had a gun like cowboys use and he pointed it at me.

 “Let's go in the house,” he said, calmly.

 I was afraid to turn around so I backed into the room. I kept staring at that gun. I knew this was bad.

 “Get Jacelyn. We're going in the kitchen with your mom.”

 Mommy was in the kitchen standing with Justin. She was crying but I don't know if she knew it. She never wiped her eyes or her cheeks. I wondered if I was crying like that.

 “Sit down.” Rey told Mommy pointing the gun at her and Justin. He waved the gun at me and Jace. “Stand next to your mom.” I didn't understand it. He was talking so softly, like he wasn't even mad. Except he had the gun. He threw a bunch of paper on the floor in front of Mommy.

 “No divorce. I love you. I love the kids. We're a happy family.” Rey kept saying that over and over. He said it softly, with no anger. He said while he emptied the gun and then showed us each bullet.

 “Blue.” One bullet in. “JoAnna.” Two bullets in. “Jacelyn.” “Justin.” Three and four. “Rey.” Five. “Just in case.” The remaining ones. “I love you, Blue.” “We're a happy family.” The gun went in Mommy's mouth.

 “Please God. Please” I didn't know what else to say. Save us? Save Mommy? Don't let me puke? Don't let me pee? He might get mad. That's it! “Please God. Don't let him get mad.” He didn't sound mad. Maybe he needed to be mad to pull the trigger. “Oh God. What do I do? Help us. I'll be good. He can touch me God. All he wants. I'll never say no. I promise. I'll be a good girl. I'll never be a problem to anyone. I won't fight. I'll be quiet. I promise you God. I'll be the best.” Wait! What happened? Why is Mommy putting Justin on the floor?

 “Go to bed. Take Justin and Jacelyn with you.” Rey is looking at me but Mommy is standing and he still has the gun in her mouth. What's happening now? Rey pushes Mommy toward her room.

“Let's go Blue. The kids are going to bed.” Rey tells Mommy like it is any normal night.

 Except it's not. He isn't suppose to be here. Kay said he couldn't come back. What happened? Where are the police? Kay said the police would come. But they aren't here and Mommy is going to die. I don't know what to do. 'I want my Mommy, God. I told you I'll be a good girl'”

 I can't leave Mommy alone. “Mommy will die if I leave. I have to be a big girl now. It's all my fault. I should have been a good girl. I'll be good now, God. I promise.”

 I sit down next to Mommy's door. I put Justin in my lap and pull Jacelyn as close as I can.

 “If we sit here quietly, then Mommy won't die.” I keep repeating it to them even though I know I'm lying. There is going to be a big boom and Mommy will be dead. Then we will die, too. I guess Rey will go last even though I wish he would go first. But I keep repeating it to Jace and Justin like a mantra of safety. We wait to hear the gun. I don't cry because I'm a big girl. I think I am though. My face feels hot and wet like when I get hurt and I cry. Please don't let us die. I'll never cry again. I'll be good. I'll do whatever he says. I won't cry. I'll be a good girl. I don't want to hear the gun, God.

 I still don't know how my mouth can say one thing while my mind pleads another.

 It feels like forever since I saw Mommy. I wonder if she is still alive. Did I miss the gun sound?  It's getting light out.

  Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Help us! The door is opening! Please be Mommy!

 Rey comes out of the bedroom. He still has the gun but not my mommy! He doesn't even look at us. Maybe he thinks we are in bed? I watch him leave out the front door. I want to go see Mommy but I'm scared she will be bloody and asleep. Please God. Please God.

 My mommy comes out the door! She isn't dead! Oh Thank You! Thank you! I remember. I'll be good.

 “He's gone. We waited for the gun to go off.” I tell Mommy.

 Mommy is holding us. It feels so good. I never want her to let go.

 “I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry,” Now Mommy is repeating. Maybe she made a promise with God too.

 “JoAnna, wash your face Honey. Mommy has to make some calls.”

I wash my face. The police come. So does Kay.

After that happened, it was always just Mom, Jace, Justin and me. If my mom had a boyfriend we never met him. We went to school, to art class and to play at the shelter. Time passed and we grew up. I never told Mom about Rey and me. I never told anyone until I told you. Jace, Justin and I never talk about that night. I don't know if Jace remembers. I am pretty sure Justin was too young.

 I remember the promises I made that night. I keep them. I hold them tight. I am afraid that if I don't God will not keep us safe.

 I am a good girl. I do what I'm told. If someone wants to touch me, I don't stop them. I don't feel it. I don't tell. I never say no.  I don't cry. I don't argue. I don't fight. I keep us all safe.

 I have a boyfriend. He wants to marry me. He doesn't know how damaged I am.

 I want to tell him, “It's okay. You don't have to love me. I prefer that you don't.”

  Softly, I say, “yes.”


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: Screaming Jenny

Screaming Jenny Screaming Jenny by Becky Muth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Creepy, sad tale of a haunt. It is a short, fast read. It is not for someone who is looking for gory, graphic violence, sex and language. This is the kind of tale you can read out loud before the fire on a chilly, gray day.

View all my reviews

Review: Mistletoe at Moonglow

Mistletoe at Moonglow Mistletoe at Moonglow by Deborah Garner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book during the Christmas in July Readathon. I love it! It is contemporary but has the feel of the classics I adore. Reading it feels like you are there, a part of the hotel. It restores your faith in people and refreshes your soul. I will read this again during the Christmas rush. It will keep me sane and remind me of the true spirit of Christmas.

View all my reviews

Review: The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food

The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food by Randall Kenan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won a copy of The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food in a Goodreads Giveaway. (People really do win!)

I love cooking and have been collecting cookbooks for a number of years. This is not what I call a cookbook though it does have a number recipes in it. What I adore about this book were the stories of North Carolina kitchen tables. Some of them reminded me of my Mamaw's table in Southeast Kentucky. It was the various authors bringing the different flavors that make up North Carolina cuisine and serving them at homes where love ruled the table. Some of the stories will educate you. Some will have you howling with laughter. All will inspire you. These are stories that nourish the soul as well as the stomach.

Your stomach will be nourished, too. Though not a cookbook in the traditional style, there are recipes included. The Annie Collins Pound Cake will delight your taste buds as no box mix for pound cake can. It is divine and not complicated at all to make. I was never one for Butter Beans. I ate my Mamaw's and they were good. My favorites though were Leather Britches. I made the recipe for Better Butter Beans that is in the book and fell in love with Butter Beans. Who knew they could taste so good? If you have never tried cheese grits, I invite you to follow the easy recipe for this southern favorite. If you eat your cornbread on a plate, try it in a cold glass of milk, (a filling supper any night of the week). Sausage biscuits do cure anything that ails you, especially covered in gravy.

View all my reviews

Review: Road Trip: A Haunted Women Tales Trilogy

Road Trip: A Haunted Women Tales Trilogy Road Trip: A Haunted Women Tales Trilogy by Becky Muth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love reading about haunts. I can remember listening to the tales of haunts when I was a child. Southeast Kentucky must be full of ghosts because I heard and still hear tales of haunts that are sworn to be true. I can remember riding in my aunts car with my cousins and going to see the haunted barn and the old haunted schoolhouse in the holler. They are among my most treasured memories. Road Trip takes me back to my roots. I enjoyed this book so much I was sad that it ended. I must have more. If you like stories of haunts that don't need blood and guts or "adult" language this is your book. The author does not rely on graphic violence, sex or shock language. She just tells the tales and lets the ghosts be the stars. My favorite story was Kentucky, of course. It is set in Pikeville, a town I use to visit as a child. When I go back now, I always go to Pikeville. I love how the author takes the haunt and gives us the old tale but adds in present day ties. Going back and forth between the two and watching them unfold together was so interesting. The ghosts of my youth and beyond still live today!

View all my reviews

Review: James And The Amazing Gift

I came across James and the Amazing Gift by Nicola J. Rowley  through BookTasters. I am reviewing an ecopy version provided by the author.

I read children's books, particularly younger children's books, with children of different sexes and ages, often with one or more on the autism spectrum. I also prefer to hold off reviewing for a length of time. I know this may seem unfair to the author but I believe it gives a clearer picture of the book. As parents,grandparents,caregivers and teachers we know how often we will read the same book to our children. What I look for to review them are:

1. Are the children interested? Has something about the story caught them?  Do they care about the ending?
2. Do they like the characters? Can they relate to any of them?
3. After hearing/reading it several times, are they still enjoying it? Do they still laugh? Do they find new things in it? Do they stop paying attention half way through?
4. Do they enjoy the illustrations? Do they make the connection between the words and the picture? Do the illustrations ignite their imaginations?
5. (maybe it should have been higher up) Was I able to enjoy the book the first time? The fifth time? The twentieth time? Did I find it a chore to read it? Was I able to find anything new to comment on with multiple reading?
6. Did age/sex/ability affect the child's view of the story?

I enjoyed James and the Amazing Gift. I found value in the story. The message is an empowering one. I had a couple of audiences. The one most often was made up of two boys and a girl, the youngest 3 and oldest 10 and on the spectrum. The second group was similar in ages and sexes. They had been victims of abuse. I was hoping the story had value for them. I hope the message stays with them. I wish I had been given a book copy so I could have gifted it to them.

Both groups of children liked the pictures though they wanted them bigger. In a print version they may be bigger. They all liked James. I could tell they were relating to the story by the reactions to the lady. The children who deal with autism, thought the lady was on the spectrum. They thought this was why she did not make eye contact or talk to anyone. The children who had been abused thought she was being hurt at home.  I found it interesting and a way to open the door of communication with the first group. After hearing the other children's observations, I was able to introduce different reasons for the lady to be sad, (something important for the one on the spectrum, who was the oldest).  The first group of children are not tired of the story. We have had the book for a month now. We read it often with conversations about feelings and the importance of caring for others.  The second group read the story three times before they moved on. They were still enjoying it at that time. I hope James becomes a part of them.

Sexes of the children did not matter, with both equally enjoying it. Age played a little into it with the three year old not getting the bigger message but still listening and enjoying it. I thought the 10 year old would get bored but he hasn't. This could be due to us working on emotions with him so much. I think it is a lovely story with a much needed message.

For more about the author:


Twitter @NicolaJRowley


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

HSReadathon WrapUp

The last two weeks of July, I participated in the High Summer Readathon at Seasons of Reading. I really love doing the readathons at Seasons of Reading. Michelle is an amazing hostess and always makes the readathons relaxing and fun. The final days had the theme of Christmas in July! As a Christmas lover there was no way I could pass that up. Christmas and Halloween are my favorite holidays. I think, in part, it is because they both have the most amazing books that go with them.

I picked out way more books than I was able to read. I know, no way! haha. I think we all do that. I am a mood reader though so picking out the ones I want to read is purely for the enjoyment of going through my TBR. I rarely stay with my selected books. *Shrugs* 

The books I read were:

My most surprising book was Max and Menna. It is not a comfortable book to read but it is amazing and I urge anyone looking for a good coming of age story to pick this one up. 

My most fun book goes to Tonya Kappes for A Ghostly Secret. I absolutely love the Ghostly Southern Mysteries Series. I knew it was going to be fun to read. Tonya Kappes is my author of the year so I am trying to read all of her books this year. I am having a lot of fun with that. I haven't been disappointed once. A Ghostly Secret, though, is my favorite so far. 

My most beautiful writing goes to Mistletoe At Moonglow. I just fell in love with it. I am going to look for others in this series. There was no real mystery involved in this book. Just a warm Christmas story that I fell in love with. 

My Audible selections were both by Rachelle Ayala. Ken and Playing the Rookie are both on the heated side. I enjoyed the stories and all the narrators. I had the most fun with Ken which surprised me because I really like the Men of Spring Series. 

I loved all the books I selected for this readathon and would recommend any of them. Here is some cover love: 

Christmas In July Covers


I would like to give a huge thank you to Michelle at Seasons of Reading. Please be sure to check out her blogs. She is an amazing blogger with a lot going on. Thank you to all the authors who donate prizes. Yes there are books to be won! Be sure to sign up for all the fun and excitement. My next readathon with her will be the Month Long FrightFall Readathon coming in October. Be sure to sign up  for that if you like horror! I am also thinking of joining her for Banned Book Week in September, (info on True Book Addict); Gothic September and then Season of the Witch in October (info on both at Castle Macabre).

If you did the readathon, please leave a comment with your favorite book. If you read some of my choices, I would love to know what you thought of them. If you plan to join in a future readathon, tell me about it. I really enjoy doing them. Due to spambots comments have to be approved. Real comments, whether they agree or disagree with my opinions, will be approved.

You can find me on

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Short Story

Hi there!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. It has been awhile. Life happened. I am in the process of redoing my blog and updating it. Lately I have been just posting my book reviews here. I will be adding to that occasionally. Like today. I'm going to share a short story I wrote. I like Pinterest...okay maybe like is a weak word. I think most of us can get sucked into that site and need help to leave. It just is an amazing wealth of sharing information and ideas. One of the things I love are all the writing ideas. This story was written off of one of the writing prompts. Some friends and I tossed out challenges we found on there. This was mine. I hope you like it. It has not been edited. Sorry. First time sharing my writing with the public so I am truly nervous. I really do hope you find something of value in it.

Warning: It is not an easy topic nor is it meant for children. There is violence. There may be domestic violence triggers. 

The following story is owned entirely by Alaskan Book Cafe. I am the sole writer of this story. 

It's Okay. You Don't Have To Love Me.

  “It's okay. You don't have to love me.” The thought kept blasting through her mind. She wanted to shout it out loud. She wanted to scream it. To whisper it. Anything to take the gun away. How did things get to this point?

  She was a single mother. The struggle was real. With three kids you'd think she couldn't possibly be lonely. But there it was. Not just at night, when the kids were tucked into bed, sleeping soundly. The loneliness was there in the morning when she drank her coffee, smoking the first cigarette of the day. She would wake the children up to get them dressed, fed, and ready for the walk to school. She sat at the table with the children, feeding the baby and thinking about being alone. She would imagine the conversation they could have.

 How he would put his hand on her oldest daughter's head and ruffle her hair, saying, “Good morning”. He would drop a kiss on the head of the baby and tweak the cheek of the toddler. Then he would kiss her and look into her eyes, “Good morning Baby”. She would get him a cup of coffee and his breakfast. They would talk about nothing or possibly everything, before each left to finish their day. He would go off to work, kissing everyone goodbye, of course. She would put the baby in a car seat, the toddler in a booster and the oldest in the seat between them. She would drive to the school dropping off one and then do all the things moms lucky enough to stay home do.  The fantasy could go one forever except that the baby wanted down, the toddler wanted to play, the oldest wasn't sure she finished all her homework and she had an hour to get them all ready and out the door in order to be at work on time. She wouldn't be able to get in another smoke until after she dropped the kids off, either. Bubble burst, time to move it.

 She enjoyed the walk to work. She loved her children, but the walk to and from work were her time. She smoked another cigarette and enjoyed the feeling of freedom. That ended in about 15 minutes when she entered the store to punch in. She really was grateful for the job. It was close to home and the hours worked for the children. Most of all it paid the bills, though she still had to rely on food stamps to feed those children. She  dreamed of the day when she would be able to pay for the groceries, too. It didn't matter to her that almost everyone who passed through her checkout used food stamps. It still embarrassed her to use them, like she was admitting she was too stupid to feed her own children.

 It was while she was checking out the cat lady when she first saw him. She was half listening to the cat lady drone on about what finicky eaters her cats were, passing the food tins over the scanner when she noticed him in the lane over. He wasn't anything truly special when you thought about it.

 Average height, he had a bit of a tummy on him. Not really fat, you could just tell he wasn't doing any sit ups. Dark hair, dark eyes, and dazzling white teeth. She only noticed him because he was someone new. He looked over and quickly changed lanes. She figured it was because she was handing cat lady her receipt. In her mind, even Average Joe's were out of her league.

 “Hi,” she said. “Thank you for shopping the Mercado. Did you find everything?”

 He hit her with a smile that lit up the store. “I have now.” he flirted with her.

 She smiled and blushed, not sure what to say back. Flirting was something that came easy only in fantasies.

 He looked at her name tag and said, “Blue? Is that a nickname?”

 She hated her name. Her mom use to tell people it was either her love of blue eyes or her love of the blues that made her name her only daughter Blue. Since she did not have blue eyes and the blues were, in her opinion, what you listened to when your troubles overwhelmed you, neither explanation helped her self esteem. Figuring the blues story would elicit less sympathy she went with it.

 “No. My mom loved the blues so she named me Blue.”

 “It fits you because if you say no to a date, I'll have the blues.”

 Even though she hated when men said similar things, she giggled at him. Somehow it was acceptable from him. She tried to think of something to say. Something clever that would let him know she was interested even as she turned him down. There was no way she could afford a babysitter. With no choices she could see, she sighed.

 “I'm sorry.”

 He smiled a sad smile and said, “I figured a pretty girl like you would be taken. I had to chance it though.”

 Blue laughed. He made her feel so good.

 “I'm only taken by children,” she said.

 “Really? Well it will have to be a family date then. When is your day off?”

 Blue couldn't believe what she was hearing. But then a scary thought entered her mind. What if he was one of those kind of men? You know. The ones who “like” children too much. How do you tell? She smiled a nervous smile and said she didn't even know his name. Taking his groceries, he told her his name was Rey and that he would be back every day until she said yes.

 He was true to his word.

 Six months later they married. Six months and one day marked the first time he was so sorry for hitting her.

 It wouldn't have happened if she didn't make him jealous talking to men in her checkout line. Nine months and she got her fantasy of being a stay at home mom. The only thing was it turned out to be nothing like her fantasy. A year went by and she couldn't tell you how she came to be in the position she was in, much less come up with a safe way out.

 Then came the day she was downstairs doing laundry. Jacelyn was napping in her bed and Justin had fallen asleep on the couch. She had left him there. She knew better than to wake a sleeping toddler. She heard someone walk across the floor and hurried upstairs. An anger she didn't know she possessed rose up even as she had never felt so sick in her life. In all the times he had struck her, she never imagined he would lift a hand to her children. Yet there he was, with his hand over her terrified son's mouth and nose, his other hand pressing down on his little chest. He didn't seem to notice Justin's tiny hands and feet beating at him as he tried to breathe. He also didn't seem to notice Blue as she raced at him, with the skillet she had grabbed from the stove as she ran past. She hit him as hard as she could. It was enough to make him let go of Justin. She snatched him up screaming for Rey to get the fuck out. Amazingly, Rey thought he was going to talk his way out of it. He started off telling her it wasn't what she thought. He loved the kids. She just kept commanding. “Get the fuck out!” until he did.

 After making sure both Justin and Jacelyn were fine, Blue looked up a number for battered women. There was no way he was coming back. She no longer cared about being lonely. She had discovered there were far worse things you could be. She called the number and made an appointment for the next morning with an attorney who worked with them. The woman she spoke with strongly suggested Blue call the police to make a report. Blue hung up and noticed it was time to pick up JoAnna from school.

 Walking to and from the school, Blue kept going over everything that had happened. She kept thinking that if she called the police she would be blamed for not protecting her children. In the end though, she was more terrified he would return. So sucking up all her fears, she called the police and made the report. Sitting in the ER while the doctors made sure the children were okay and the police took photos of the bruises that were forming, Blue blamed herself. That guilt and fear stayed with her far longer than her anger, insuring she did not back out of court dates.

 Filing for the divorce turned out to be easier than she ever imagined.

 That brought her and the children to where they now were, sitting in the kitchen with a gun pointed at them.

 They had just returned from attending a Christmas party at the women and children's center. Kay, who had driven them home, had just left. Blue was in Justin's room taking off his snowsuit, when she heard the knock. She heard JoAnna call out that Kay was back. She walked out in time to see JoAnna scrambling back from the open door that Rey was walking through. Rey holding a gun and telling JoAnna to take Jacelyn into the kitchen. Rey holding a gun and telling Blue to sit on the kitchen chair with Justin. Rey throwing the papers at her. Blue watching the divorce papers hit the floor, noting the order of protection on top.

 She thought to herself, no protection now. On top of that thought was, I did this. She watched as he unloaded the gun and showed them all the bullets he was replacing were real. She wanted to do something, anything, to get her children out of there but couldn't figure out how.

 Her daughters were frozen with fear. She knew, even if she were able to tell them to run, they wouldn't be able to. The thought that she did this kept repeating in her mind. She prayed, making deals with a God she wasn't sure was listening. She promised if they lived she would live lonely the rest of her life, happily. It was a stupid deal, she knew, but the only one she could think of. All the while Rey was softly, but deadly serious, saying, “no divorce. I love you.” when she finally focused on what he was saying, she wanted to scream back, “It's okay! You don't have to love me!”

 Terror kept her quiet, though. Then the gun filling her mouth left no room for words. Rey told her to leave Justin on the floor and get up. With no options open, she did as she was told. He walked Blue to the bedroom, telling the children, “Go to bed!” Blue prayed, thanking God her children would not have to see her die and begging Him to save them.

 In the bedroom, Rey told her to get on her knees. He kept the gun in her mouth, crouching down in front of her. Softly, he kept telling her that he loved her. He told her this was all her fault, He gave her all his love and she refused it, trying to get a divorce. The soft way he was speaking somehow sounding more menacing than if he were yelling at her.

 Hours went by with no change. The sun was rising and Blue couldn't handle it anymore.

 She cried, “Just pull the trigger! Just do it.”

 Rey looked into her eyes for several minutes. Blue looked back through her tears, meaning, in that moment, every word she said. Rey sighed and removed the gun from her mouth. He caressed her cheek with the barrel and then turned and walked out. 

 Blue flew to the bedroom door, intent on finding her children. She didn't have far to go. The three of them sat next to the door.

 JoAnna, dry-eyed but red-faced from crying, tracks streaking her face, said, “He's gone. We waited for the gun to go off.”

 Blue collapsed on the floor, wrapping her arms and legs around her babies, kept repeating, “I'm so sorry.” After a moment she picked up the phone and called 911. Then she called Kay. She knew they had a long road ahead of them.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Max and Menna

Max and Menna Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came across this book through BookTasters. I am so happy I chose to read it!

This book destroyed me...in that good way that only a phenomenal book can. I am not going to lie. It is not your average teen issue but happy ending book. It has heavy topics and the ending? I'll leave that up to you.

Max and Menna are 11 years old twins. They live in poverty in a small southern town with their alcoholic mom and older sister. This is their coming of age story told from each of their viewpoints. There is so much that I want to say; that I want to discuss. But I don't do spoilers. And honestly, it has been 7 hours since I finished it and I still cry. Very few books touch me this deeply. I love Max, Menna and Nick. My heart just breaks for them and a few other characters.

The story is deep and, for me, feels real. I spent my childhood between small town southern life and big city life where the white supremacists had headquarters not far from my home. My city, Chicago, had a fence that divided a portion of the city; white on one side, black on the other. I can remember walking with a girlfriend and some boys. I remember the looks. I remember them having to cross the street, for their safety, and then a few blocks away, returning to us. Ironically, they were walking with us to make sure we got home safely. The story is not an easy read. You will read of abuse, neglect, alcoholism, bullies, racism, violence against girls and rape. It is an important story. When we look the other way we make a decision. When we ignore history we make a decision. When we choose words carefully, changing them, we make a decision. All decisions have consequences, good or bad. Books like this one have power. They have power to show how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

I have read books that I said were the best of the year. This is the first time I have read a book that I would call the best in a decade. In my opinion, this is a book for teens and up. Preteens if an adult buddy reads so they can discuss the issues. I think this is an excellent book for classroom and teen book clubs.

*I did receive an ecopy for review purposes. The actual book may or may not vary from my copy.

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Max and Menna

Max and Menna Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review coming. I have to process. I have to stop crying. I have to think along with feel. For now I leave you with this: I have read books that I said were the best of the year. This is the first time I have read a book that I would call the best in a decade.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: White

White White by Angelina J. Steffort
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven't read many angel/demon-human romances. This, perhaps, keeps it fresh for me when I come across one.

I was captivated by the story. I liked Adam a lot. Claire, not as much. She was immature, especially for the experiences she had gone through. She acted and made decisions that I would expect from someone younger or one who had been sheltered from life. I thought she accepted the angel/demon part too easily for one never exposed to it. Perhaps, it will come out in another part of the trilogy that she had some prior talks about angels with her parents or something. That would explain the ease of her not being alarmed by wings sprouting out of nowhere. The other people in the book are well written as is the setting. The plot was really interesting. I'm curious to see what happens next. The story could have wrapped up on its own, except for the final chapter. There are a few hints that there is more to come before the final chapter but nothing that would prevent it as being a stand alone. The last chapter about Edward, though, really opens up the for the sequel. If you hate cliffhangers, don't read the last chapter about Edward, until the next book is released.

I like that this is a trilogy. It means it will wrap up quickly. These series with 25+ books kill me. I do think there may be potential for spin off books, depending on where the next two books take us. Spin offs I like much more than endless series. Don't get me wrong. I read a few of those 25+ series. I enjoy a very few of them greatly. It just is more likely that I get bored or think to myself, good lord what is going on in that small town! Are there any people left? Haha.

This is a clean YA fantasy. I would have no problem gifting it to teenagers. I would recommend it to friends who like fantasy. I think it would make a good selection for a teen book club.

View all my reviews

Review: The Girl Before

The Girl Before The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the psychological aspect of this book. So much of it made me stop and think. Who was the villain? Was anyone innocent? Do the things we go through in life makes us bad or good? How do they contribute to how we react to the house? How long we we last in a house like this one? Is a house like this one a good or bad one? Is it a possibility for the future? Was the reason to build it a true one or is it just a way to control someone? What are the positives and negatives and which outweighs the other? What could be the political and societal effects? I think too much, apparently.

The story kept me reading, thinking and guessing. Just when I thought I had Emma, Jane or Edward figured out, a twist would be tossed out. I would love to see this in movie form. Usually I'm against books going to movies. Hollywood just ruins them more often than not. However with all the remakes going on now, something fresh would be welcome. The plot in this has the potential to be an awesome thriller.

Answering the questions from the rental questionnaire was truly interesting. I just wonder what my answers say about me. Haha!

View all my reviews

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the Audible version.

I found the story interesting. It definitely held my attention. I really enjoyed Georgia Maguire's performance. Perhaps it was her narration that kept me glued. I really liked her interpretation of the characters.

I listened to it from beginning to end. Normally, unless it is a novella, I take breaks the same as I do with paper or Kindle books. Yes, I did find a few things predictable but I also was surprised at times. In my opinion, that balanced out. The plot had my imagination going. I have had experience with a "perfect, oh so not, marriage". I did imagine and wonder what would I have chosen to do in Grace's position.

I am not the type of reader who has to have the story ring true to life. I read for enjoyment. I read to be entertained. For me, this book entertained me. I had no problem with whether or not the plot could or has happened exactly as written. If I want a book that mirrors life stories, I will turn to non fiction. If I want to read a true to life thriller, I look at true crime books. I would recommend the book to my friends.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Review: On The Road To Villisca: The Hunt For The Midwest Axemen

On The Road To Villisca: The Hunt For The Midwest Axemen On The Road To Villisca: The Hunt For The Midwest Axemen by Hank Brewster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I heard of the Villisca murders a few years ago and they stayed with me. I just couldn't get the facts of this case from puzzling my mind. Eight people, 6 children, murdered in their beds with only one showing signs of being woken up. This despite being in a shared room or even the same bed. How does that happen? As far as I have been able to tell, no sign of a drug being administered to prevent them waking. No struggle. No running away. No screams. It is a scary puzzle that gets scarier when you realize there were several murders that happened the same way around the same time. My heart cries for justice for these victims.
What I liked about this book was the use of the newspaper articles to tell the story. It was fascinating to read them. Newspapers told so much more back then. The coverage of the trial was amazing.
I know the author was trying to present things as they happened and in keeping with the language/spelling of the time. With so many newspaper articles and so many different cases, I think he did a good job. I learned things I didn't know. If he omitted or changed things, he stated it. I didn't agree with everything he did, but I understand his reasoning.
I don't think this is the best book out there regarding these murders but it is a book worth reading if you are interested in them. The author gives his opinion on who he believes did it. That does come out strongly towards the end. I'm not saying he is right or wrong about it; just letting you know his opinion is there.
I know the house in Villisca can be visited. It would have been interesting to know if he went there. To restore the home accurately and be able to provide tours, the current owners must have researched greatly. Perhaps, being from Villisca, they have something more to contribute. It would have been interesting to know if the author contacted them.
Would I recommend this book? Yes.

View all my reviews

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Review: Intercepted by Love: Part 2

Intercepted by Love: Part 2 Intercepted by Love: Part 2 by Rachelle Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holey smokes! It's hot inside the book! Before I get started, though, let me say this is the second book in the series. You definitely need to read these in order. The first book ended on a cliffhanger as does this one. Normally I dislike cliffhangers but all the books are out in this series. Since I don't have to wait for a new book to come out I am fine with the cliffhanger.

I don't want to go into what the cliffhangers are in either book. My opinion on them though is they are some doozies! They definitely left me wanting to get on with the story. Andie and Cade are back with their dogs, Gollie and Red. We find out more about Roxanne and there is a new character introduced. I am enjoying getting to know Andie and Cade. They seem like a good couple but each has issues that need to be worked on. Huge issues. Will their searing hot passion be able to surmount those issues?

This series is considered spicy romance and is intended for mature audiences. It is definitely not for everyone. Those who object to explicit language and/or sex without marriage would enjoy a different book.

Chris Abell is back as the narrator. I enjoy his performance and am happy that he is continuing his role. Having the same narrator will be a bonus when I go back and listen to the series in its entirety.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: Wooed by You

Wooed by You Wooed by You by Sophia Knightly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this romance by Sophia Knightly. I read it over the busy weekend before the Fourth of July. I found myself eagerly returning to it each time I had to put it down. I liked the setup for the story. I did keep waiting for something awful to happen but was okay with it not. I did not much care for Isabel. I was a single mom so I definitely understood her need to protect Suzie. I just thought she came off as more the fearful women pretending to be strong for attention type. I really don't care for those dramatic type women, in books and real life. I hated her inconsistency and her lack of respect toward Linc. There was a pivotal scene and it infuriated me the total disregard she had for him. I don't want to go into it as it may spoil the book for you. I did like the rest of the characters though. I wish that the author had given an update on Isabel's mother in the epilogue. She was in much of the book and then just disappeared in the epilogue. I love the Cuban references, especially learning about noche buena. That was awesome though it did make me decidedly hungry.
This is a spicy romance so there is sexual activity. The book is easy to read and I imagine a number of you just flying through the pages.

View all my reviews

Friday, June 30, 2017

Review: Deliver Us from Evil

Deliver Us from Evil Deliver Us from Evil by Deborah Hunter-Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a difficult subject! Sexual abuse, whether adult or child, is horrifying and has so many lasting effects. It also triggers so many reactions in people. No one wants to believe this happens, especially to society's vulnerable populations, (children, elderly, mentally challenged, etc). Sadly, it does happen. It also happens, though I believe not as often, that some professional people, (whether or not it is intentional), can and do manipulate memories. It is up to the reader to decide which this book is.

I believe her, but that is my opinion. Her story is a sad, often angry, tale. It is backed up by three other victims. I know some may ask why only two of the children? And use that as reasoning for denying it may have happened the way the author remembers. Child abuse, in all its forms, doesn't happen equally in every family. Sometimes only one child is the actual victim, (though all either witness it, or are aware of it, which I consider abuse), sometimes it is some or all. There is no concrete path of abuse. It depends on the trigger of the perpetrator. She did undergo extensive therapy with a couple of therapist. I'm not always convinced by therapist though. Some, in their need to be helpful, or their need to find a problem, can influence the patient. My own experience with life tells me that where money is involved, there is potential for abuse. We all can probably recall a doctor, (any sort), or two who have a God complex. This can also influence memories and diagnosis. So when I read books like this one, I try to read between the lines as much as possible. I am a firm believer in there being three sides to every story. Her side, his side and, pulling from both sides, the true story somewhere down the middle. The author did include copies of letters and did include responses as she recalled them. This gave us a small look from the other side.

The author does include a number of books she read that helped in her recovery work. these include workbooks. I haven't looked into all of them but I do have plans to check them out. I think we all can be kinder, gentler and more forgiving to ourselves. Self improvement is something that anyone can do. Some of the recall scenes in the book are somewhat detailed though not completely graphic. People who have gone through sexual abuse might want to prepare for those scenes.

I appreciate that the author includes a glossary for words that are familiar to LDS followers but may not be known to non Mormons. I also appreciate that she does not bash the church. Abuse can be found in all religions. So can good things. The Church of LDS has many good programs, especially ones aimed at families. Like all religions, though, it's leaders and teachers are human and humans are flawed. The potential for abuse to happen is in all of them. I think the author did a good job with attaching the abuse to the people and not the entire church.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Intercepted by Love: Part 1

Intercepted by Love: Part 1 Intercepted by Love: Part 1 by Rachelle Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wowza! Grab a cold drink and turn on a fan. Rachelle Ayala is bringing the heat!

When Cade's career turns Super Bowl disastrous, he hides out in a college town with his dog, Red. Use to having anonymous sex with many women, he isn't certain about relationships. Andie is the librarian, devoted to her parents and her dog, Gollie. She gets her romance from hot dreams of King David. Would a bad boys searing touch be able to compete with fantasies of a bad boy King? When their dogs meet and mate, Cade and Andie are tossed into each other's paths. Will they be able to move forward from their pasts to be mated, too? Only the dogs know.

This is a story that will bring tears to your eyes, giggles to your mouth and heat to other parts. Football Widows, cuddle up near your honey and those amazing snacks on a chilly, fall football afternoon . Forget the blanket. You won't need it. Warning: If you are listening to the audio version, it is sure to grab your honey's attention. Headphones may be necessary.

I was entertained by Chris Abell's performance. He contributed a lot to the fun of this audiobook with his voice. I really enjoyed the variety in pitch as well as his interpretation of character voices. I loved his enthusiasm.

This story contains sexual references and is intended for a mature audience.
It is a part of a series that does need to be read in order. This book ends with a major cliffhanger.

View all my reviews

Review: Hex on the Beach

Hex on the Beach Hex on the Beach by Gina LaManna
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hex on the Beach was my Facebook book club selection for June. It was my first time reading author Gina LaManna.

This was an absolutely entertaining book to read! When things take a dive for Lily, a couple of unknown eccentric aunts come to the rescue. They take Lily off to a hidden magical island, but is it a magical paradise or will it be the end of Lily? With island residents like the mysterious, handsome Ranger X, cousins as entertaining as their mothers, a cantankerous mixology teacher and a kooky grandmother Lily has a lot of support. Support she will need after the murder of first customer and jealous contenders for her job making island life difficult.

The characters in this book are awesome! The plot was enchanting. I laughed out loud. I worriedly bit my nails. I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. I can't wait to read more from this series. This book gets a definite recommendation!

View all my reviews

Review: When Love Returns Star Lake #1

When Love Returns Star Lake #1 by Lorana Hoopes (LL Hoopes) My rating: 4 of 5 stars When Love Returns is...