Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: Little Girl Lost

Little Girl Lost Little Girl Lost by Addison Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book certainly held my attention. I could not stop until I got to the end. Be prepared for a ball of confusion. There are a few storylines going on which honestly I think there would be a number of stories in real life with a child’s disappearance. Everyone connected to the child has their life examined and who doesn’t have secrets or regrets? So yes it’s messy, like it is suppose to be. I was glued to my Kindle.

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Review: All The Things You Are

All The Things You Are All The Things You Are by Declan Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first time reading this author. It was a library book.

I chose this book thinking it would be a spooky read for Halloween and the readathons. It was set at Halloween, both past and present. I liked Claire and Danny, even when I was unsure about who and what they really were. I even liked Donna and Charlie, maybe because they were, at least, honest and accepting of who they were. The plot was fairly twisty with lots of potential suspects and nobody to truly trust. Then came the explosions. Those I didn’t see even though I had the off kilter feelings. I’m not saying more, though I want to, because anything else will give you no reason to read the book. I think you should read it. I was devouring the last third of the book. Why then 4 Stars? I wanted to know more about someone though if the author chose to make a guess true, I would have felt like punching him in the nose. But to me, that’s a pretty good thing. It means the author did his job. For me, the best books are those that invite me in to the story, make me forget reality and make me feel. You don’t punch people, even in fantasy, unless you are feeling. Deeply feeling. He lost a star because I’ll be forever wondering. It’s almost like a punch. Read the book.

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Review: The Scarecrow Snuff Out: A Lily Sprayberry Realtor Halloween Novella

The Scarecrow Snuff Out: A Lily Sprayberry Realtor Halloween Novella The Scarecrow Snuff Out: A Lily Sprayberry Realtor Halloween Novella by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This was my first time reading this author. I chose this book for its Halloween theme not realizing it was from a series. I did not need to read previous books. It does make for good Halloween reading and, in my opinion, can be enjoyed by preteen and up.
I enjoyed the characters in this book. I felt very much at home with them. I admit I did get excited over the use of might could. I speak like that but rarely come across it in books, (or really in real life unless I’m talking with family). I enjoyed the slow paced build up on this mystery. At first it read like it was going to be a good time Halloween tale, (which it is), but then came the mystery solving and a pick up on the pacing.
If you are looking for a Halloween scare, then come spend some time lost in the corn maze.

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Review: Assault and Beadery

Assault and Beadery Assault and Beadery by Mollie Cox Bryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first book by Mollie Cox Bryan. It is part of the series, A Cora Crafts Mystery. I had no issue with jumping into the series. Because of that, I believe this book can be read as a stand-alone or out of series order. This was also my first cozy mystery with crafting as a theme.

I really enjoyed this mystery. I liked Cora and the other characters very much. They were people I would enjoy being around. I felt comfortable with them. I was thrilled to see Cora pay attention to gut instinct. I think we all need to listen more when it tries to get our attention. As someone who deals with anxiety and panic, it was interesting to have a major character dealing with it. I was encouraged by Cora.

I was intrigued by the idea of a crafting retreat. I have never been to one. I do enjoy some crafts but am lousy at keeping them up. My crafting level is, at best, self described as kindergarten - first grade level. I do love to do them do and am, frequently, as proud as the best of any kindergarteners. I started this book with a little bit of fear that I would have a difficult time with the crafting part. No worries, though. I was able to not only keep up just fine but also found myself wishing to attend a craft retreat. I believe I could manage to learn something new and fun to do. I was even encouraged enough that I am planning to try the crafts at the back of the book. I’m thinking I could come away with some meditation beads...or maybe just a necklace like is pictured on the cover. There are actually a couple of craft instructions that I want to try.

The mystery was well written. I was kept guessing all the way up to the reveal. There were several secrets and surprises along the way that had me changing my mind about suspects. The big reveal contained the best secret! But I’m not going to give you anything there.

I recommend this cozy mystery book. It was fun and interesting. If you make any of the crafts in the book and post photos on Instagram, please tag me, (Wulfwyn907). I would really like to see what you made. I will be adding the other books in this series to my TBR. Thank to Kimberlee at the Review Club on Facebook for the ARC. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts regarding this book.


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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Review: Killer Unleashed

Killer Unleashed Killer Unleashed by Beth Prentice
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first book I read by Beth Prentice. I thought it was hilarious. I love the characters! I did not entirely guess the ending which had some twists in it. I am definitely reading more of this series and from this author.


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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had a great time listening to this! It contains a full cast and music. Honestly I felt as though I could be sitting in a theatre watching a play. I know this will be an audiobook I listen to again and again. This version, which is only 2 hours in length, is perfect for a spooky Halloween read. Pop some popcorn and dim the lights!

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Review: Malice

Malice Malice by Jennifer Jaynes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read all of the books written by Jennifer Jaynes. I enjoy her writing. She has a way of drawing you in and holding you tightly until the end. This book was a bit different from the others I had read. I wasn’t positive I would like it as much. I was wrong about that. I did not want to put the book down. I would call this a medical thriller. It is multilayered with secrets all around. In my opinion it is a well researched, thought provoking, gripping read. I highly recommend it. Read no further if you don’t want to know how this book was personal for me

My oldest daughter and her younger brother both had reactions to vaccines. Reading about Suzy almost had me hyperventilating. The scenario was nearly identical to what happened with my oldest daughter. The seizures that began after receiving a “necessary” baby shot have never gone away. Even though her seizures began while we were still in the doctor’s office, after the shot was administered, I was told it couldn’t be the shot. The doctor and nurses kept repeating that like a mantra. Fortunately it was the third shot so she didn’t need another soon after. In the months following the nightmare continued with her having multiple seizures every day. The doctor was ordering all kinds of test because the vaccine was “deemed safe”. When I had her brother I held off the shots. I was terrified. That was when the real campaign began. I was paranoid, (admittedly this was true, I was). I was harming my child. I was putting other children in grave danger. What kind of mother was I? Did I realize I was withholding medical care and could go to jail? Eventually they wore me down. I was scared to do it and scared not to. I really believed they would take my children from me. I gave in and he was given the first injection. He did not react the same as my daughter. However his thigh was swollen and extremely hard...even a month later. They assured me it wasn’t the vaccine. They gave him the second shot and his other leg had the same reaction. Long story short, my son had to have physical therapy from Easter Seals to learn to walk. My daughter has had to use anti seizure medication her entire life. (They are both adults now). Years later, it came out that a lot of children in the USA had reactions similar to those my children had. I learned that the dosage given to children here was the highest in the world. Europe had been successfully vaccinating their children with half the amount we were giving. It was at this time that I began understanding the money game in health care. I am very concerned with the way we are being told the best thing for children is a multitude of immunization and the everyday use of sanitizers. I am appalled at the number of vaccines a baby is given. I am shocked that instead of letting our children develop natural immunity and strong health systems, we are force fed the rhetoric of children are especially vulnerable to deadly illnesses. How in the world did anyone survive without all this that we do today? Not only did we survive but we were pretty much healthier. I understand that what I wrote may have a lot of people upset with me. I don’t mind. You have your opinion. I have mine. I honestly believe we over vaccinate and we over sanitize in this country.

I know Ms. Jaynes book is a work of fiction. I hope you choose to read it. It is a very good thriller. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you truly think about the subject. I don’t think what she wrote as fiction is very far from the truth.



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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Review: Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More

Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More by Vicki Enns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won an electronic copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I’m not a therapist or counselor in a professional sense. I was interested in this book because I feel that we are all, at one time or another, a counselor for a family member, friend or stranger. I think it is important to learn what is helpful, (and what is not), to say or do in the times we find ourselves in these positions. I want to make it clear, though, that nothing replaces professional counseling and it should be encouraged when needed.
We all know someone who lives with depression, anxiety, addiction, grief or one of many other emotions. We may be dealing with one or more ourselves. Knowing how to express ourselves, ways we can help and what the signs are that someone we care about needs extra help is extremely important. I found this book to be very helpful in this. It is written in an easy to understand style. While it is directed at the professional community, I think anyone could benefit from reading it.
We are moving toward a society that is more open about mental health. More everyday people are helping populations that are severely troubled. In my community, the churches have put together a homeless shelter that is run by volunteers. The volunteers are just regular people who will possibly find themselves in a listening role for hurting people. Reading a book such as this one, can help them to ask or say things that will help. I think it can help them identify when someone needs immediate intervention, (someone is suicidal), those who can be helped to locate a counselor,(someone who needs guidance but isn’t in, or a, danger at the moment), and those who just need someone to listen with a caring, nonjudgmental ear.
I think the book is excellent for those who counsel in a professional manner. Everything is broken down into steps and there are examples to follow. What I took most from this book, for professionals, is the encouragement of self examination. Being a professional counselor is a rewarding job that is filled with sad stories, frustrating progress and doubts that they have done enough. It is a difficult profession. Having a book like this one helps to make the job easier.
The book is broken down into chapters that deal with various illnesses and issues. I was happy to see a chapter devoted to the LGBT2SQ+ community and that it’s focus was on how to make the practice a welcoming center. This community has been historically ignored. It is an evolving community as society becomes more educated and accepting of them. They are finding themselves and are finally able to talk about how they see themselves. I think it is important to stay educated on the changes so they are able to be comfortable going to counseling. They are making progress but still dealing with hurtful exclusions and worse. Having counselors who are sincerely interested in their wellbeing is important. Another chapter that I found particularly insightful was the chapter on grief. We normally think of grief as being related to death of someone we were close to. After reading this chapter, I learned that grief has many forms of loss. This was interesting and very useful. In the chapters you will learn of each topic, learn the principles of them, be given strategies and have case examples to help you visualize everything. At the end of the book there is a section for resources that are used in the topic chapters. There is also a link where you can download PDF’s from a website.
Overall I found this to be an excellent book that will improve your skills in helping others. Christmas is coming up and this would be a nice gift to a student who is studying to be a counselor/therapist.

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Review: The Swing of Things

The Swing of Things The Swing of Things by Linda Keir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was actually surprised by this book. The first half was pretty much what I thought it would be, though better written. I was ready for it to be more trashy, less thoughtful. I liked the slow pace of that half. The get to know the players set up. The second half though..wow! A twist that shocked me, a second turn that I kind of was expecting and a couple of smaller twists had me gripped all the way to the end. I have already been recommending it to a few of my friends.
This book does contain adult material including sexual situations that occur outside of marriage. If you are opposed to reading that, please choose a different book. It really does annoy me when someone gives a one star review for choosing to read a book they know contains things they really oppose. It isn’t fair to those reading reviews. Whatever star rating you choose, let it be an honest one based on a book you really want to read. That is what is helpful to those considering reading a book. I’ll get off my soapbox now. I enjoyed the book. It gave me a lot to think about and wonder what I would have chosen to do. I understand that the book was actually written by two authors. That was something I did not know until after I read the book. I think they did a great job with it.


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Review: Spiced and Iced

Spiced and Iced Spiced and Iced by Jenny Kales
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is the second book of the series, Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries. It can be read alone but is much better read in order. The setting is winter in Wisconsin.
I love Callie and her family. They are so warm. You feel as though you really know them and could just pop in for a visit. The mystery in Spiced and Iced was well done with several decent suspects. At the end there was plenty to wrap up as you were kept guessing with lots of reasons why. Everything does get wrapped up though I didn’t guess correctly until right before the reveal. I can’t wait to see what is coming next!
There are a few recipes, of Greek flavor, in the back. My favorite was Sweetie’s Spinach Squares aka Lazy Spanakopita. It is super easy to make and is so tasty, tasty. I could eat this everyday! If you do holiday baking, there are several recipes that will definitely have you in the kitchen.


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Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: Fast Falls the Night

Fast Falls the Night Fast Falls the Night by Julia Keller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I selected this book without knowing it was part of a series. I did not feel that I missed anything by not reading the books before it. That is not to say that I am not interested now. I am, very much so. It is just to clarify that it is a part of a series and that it can be read as a stand-alone.

This book caught my eye because my heritage is Appalachian. Southeast Kentucky, not West Virginia but, trust me, the same. The drug epidemic in Appalachia is strong and heartbreaking. It knows no age, sex, religion or economic status. There is no discrimination in it. My heart broke so many times reading this book. I thought about family and friends. I thought about how much I truly want to go home and the fear that keeps me here. I know, one day, I will go home. I have made my wishes for my ashes to be scattered in the holler where I learned what love and family meant.

The characters in this book are familiar to me. They were well written and very realistic. Their lives were true to real lives there. There are good people who try to clean it up just as there are good people lost in the drug epidemic. The story could have been a real day there.
The series this book is apart of is called the Bell Elkins novels. I didn’t find this out until the end. I’m happy it is a part of a series. Bell is an interesting character and, in this book, a truly interesting background. I want to connect the dots so I will be reading those prior books. I am also looking forward to how this story ends as it does end on a cliffhanger of sorts. I say of sorts because you could just accept the way it ends and let it play out in your mind. Or you could be like me and want more. There are plenty to choose from; I just need to decide start at the beginning or read the next book first, then go back.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: Decaffeinated Scandal

Decaffeinated Scandal Decaffeinated Scandal by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really love this author. I have yet to read a book written by her that I haven’t enjoyed!

Decaffeinated Scandal is the fifth book in The Killer Coffee Mystery Series. To best enjoy this book, I would suggest that you start with book one and go in order. The mystery can stand-alone but the main character has a storyline that is ongoing. The setting for this book is fall in Kentucky. There are several recipes included at the back of the book. The Salted Caramel Coffee is to die for! It is now my favorite coffee. I also tried the Bean and Ham Soup recipe. It is chilly in Alaska right now and this soup was wonderful. I chose it because I love Bean and Ham Soup but this had an ingredient I normally didn’t use. I did change the cooking method to using my Instant Pot but otherwise followed it exactly. It was mighty tasty. I made the dog treats for my Zoey. She loves pumpkin. I had them cooling while we went out and the male in the house noticed them. Yes, he thought they were a treat. When we came in from our walk, he told me he thought they needed a little sugar. I was a bit entertained by that. I guess I need to get a dog bone cookie cutter.

I think one of my favorite things about a series is getting to know the characters and the town. I love everyone in this series! There are some quirky people but everyone is genuine. The mystery was interesting and I was totally invested in the outcome. I sort of guessed who it was but was also wrong. There is something special that happens in this book and that leads to a special announcement at the end! I’m super excited about this.

If you are looking for a fun, small town, clean new series with lovable characters, laugh out loud moments and a murder or so, you definitely want to check out this series.

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Review: Seashells & Mistletoe: Hawaiian Holiday

Seashells & Mistletoe: Hawaiian Holiday Seashells & Mistletoe: Hawaiian Holiday by Rachelle Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fun book to escape with! I have a fear of open water but this story made me want to go on a cruise. It was a hoot! I loved the characters, well most of them. If you are in need of some warm, fun in the sun but hilarious adventures, grab this book. It is cheaper than therapy and will help you stay sane during the busy Christmas season. You will laugh out loud at some of the antics!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Review: Santa Took Them

Santa Took Them Santa Took Them by William Malmborg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a twisty tale. I read the last 15% of the book with my hand over my mouth and a need to use the bathroom that I kept putting off to finish the book. Normally I would walk and read but I was so interested, (or horrified), moving wasn’t an option. I would have probably had a heart attack if I accidentally shut my Kindle down or moved the pages.
For those who would like to know the book is horror so yes to graphic. It also has a few sexually explicit passages. Yes, there is also “swearing”. If those bother you, please don’t star the book down. Just move on and find a book that is what you want to read. (Pet peeve - sorry).

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Review: Passing Through

Passing Through Passing Through by R.W.K. Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of the most disturbing books I have read. I had to stop and do something else a few times just so I could catch my breath. The author called it a psychological thriller. I would agree but add horror to it. The author gives us a look inside the killer, a glimpse at his background. Enough for us to see how he came to be. This interested me. I like to know or try to know why someone does the things they do or make the choices that they make. It is probably this reason that Donna was who I became so interested in. I thought the end was a bit abrupt. I would have liked to know how the survivors were doing. Still the story was a gripping one. I can’t say I exactly liked or enjoyed it. It did, however, keep me reading. It will probably keep me up now.
This book contains graphic scenes of violence and rape. It is not for children or teens, in my opinion.

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Review of Hunted by Darcy Coates

I was surprised by this book. It started slow for me. Then around the halfway point, it sped up. I read through the night, taking a few breaks. The breaks weren't to rest my eyes. They were to slow my heart. They were to let my breathing normalize. They were to loosen the knot of tension in my stomach. I like Darcy Coates . This wasn't my first book of hers that I read. For now , though, it is my favorite. I hope, if you decide to try this, you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Review: Savannah Secrets

Savannah Secrets Savannah Secrets by Alan Chaput
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first book by Alan Chaput. It is the second in his Vigilantes for Justice series. While I was able to follow along and get involved in the book, I honestly wish 8 had read book 1 first. So you can read it out of order but I don’t recommend it.
I thought the characters were well written. I like many of them, especially Patricia and Meredith. The mystery, though, was awesomely written. In my opinion this is not a cozy mystery, though I can see why it has been called that. It is a clean book, even though the sex industry and organized crime are part of the story. I give the author major kudos for pulling that off. I was raised by a mother who always said if you need to curse a lot you should invest in a dictionary. *Truth confession: I need to invest in a good dictionary.* Mr Chaput wrote a very good mystery mixing in characters and elements where you often find colorful language and he did it without relying on “adult” language. He also did not rely on graphic sex and violence. Some may think this would be a somewhat boring read but I assure you it is not.
My recommendation is that if you are looking for a mystery that is clean reading but has a complicated plot with a few things going on, this is a series for you. I would suggest you start with book 1 but if you really want to read book 2 without reading 1, it is doable.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Review: Her Name Was Rose

Her Name Was Rose Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I had a hard time putting this book down! I was enthralled with it. I read it during a readathon, by myself. I don’t know who else has read it so I have no one to go over the reader guide with. Yet I will. I will write my answers and my thoughts to the questions posed because the book was that good. Read it.

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Review: The Phantom Coach: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Ghost Stories

The Phantom Coach: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Ghost Stories The Phantom Coach: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Ghost Stories by Michael Sims
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed listening to this collection. It was the perfect kickoff to my fall reading. Like all collections there are stories that you like and some that you love. That is a matter of personal choice. The narrator was good. If you are looking for some good stories for Halloween without the sex and guts that so many books have now, give this a try. I always suggest getting a sample from the electric version, and listening to a sample of narration, if you are uncertain a book is for you.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Review: Pippa

Pippa Pippa by Malynda Schlegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This is not an easy review to write. I don’t want to give away anything. Yet a warning is needed. I will do my best.
I’m still digesting what I read. I would place this as psychological suspense. To be honest, for a few chapters, I wasn’t exactly certain what I was reading. Some of it felt like a coming of age story. Pippa comes from a dysfunctional family. There are two other children who are also from dysfunctional families. I was hooked from the start. I know dysfunctional. I have been interested is the why of people’s choices and thinking for at least thirty years. I knew something was off with Pippa, her family and the others who play major parts. The author tells you this in her description but leaves off how well she can confuse things. I was intrigued at the beginning of the story then fascinated and then that ending! I read this book nearly nonstop. It stayed in my head the brief times I set it down. I loved the friendships, dysfunctional as they were also. I thought a lot about how the children tried. I thought a lot about how adults let them down. I thought about people I knew in my life. I will be thinking about this book for awhile. It is not always an easy read. If you had a traumatic life, some of this may trigger memories. I would caution you to be ready for that. There are some not so nice things in this book though the author did not choose to be very graphic. There is a scene with an animal that is disturbing. It was brief but is told by Pippa. Choose wisely when deciding if this book is for you.
I was given an arc e-copy for review purposes. My review is based on my honest thoughts of it. I gave it five stars because it held me captive until the end, I wanted more of the story after the end, I cared about the children, it made me think about how dysfunction in families affect others, it made me think how easy it can be to lead a child and how much we need to improve services for children, and it is a book I would have conversations about. It is a book I would be interested in hearing others thoughts about it.

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Review: Strawberries & Crème Murder

Strawberries & Crème Murder Strawberries & Crème Murder by Susan Gillard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my first time reading this author.
I’m intrigued by this book/series. I liked the mystery and that it was a quick read. I didn’t like that I didn’t really get to know Heather or really any of the characters, not even Dave the dog. I’m hoping that as the series goes along the main characters will develop more. It is possible since these are quick books the author is choosing to let us get to know everyone a little at a time. That would be fine as we don’t know anyone very well our first meeting. I also question how quickly and easily Heather is allowed to help with the investigation. I can go with things though if I like the characters.
It took me about an hour or so to read it. It was interesting enough that I plan to read a few more to see how the story and characters develop.


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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Review: In the Dog House

In the Dog House In the Dog House by V.M. Burns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book by this author that I have read. I really enjoyed the first book and was looking forward to this one, which kicks off a new series. Unbelievably I loved this book even more than the other book.
I loved the sleuth and her friend but even more, I loved the dogs! Even though the series is titled Dog Club Mystery, I wasn’t certain if dogs would have a good part in the books. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author did have the dogs as part of the action, throughout the story. Yay! This was a definite win for this dog lover. The mystery was tight with several suspects and lots of motives. I am not big on going into plots. I think it ruins the fun for people who read the reviews before reading the books. The plot was excellent and the main characters likable, the dogs absolutely lovable.
My recommendation is to get the book and read it. If you aren’t convinced then request the free sample. The only way to know if a book truly fits you is to try it out.

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Review: I Know You Know

I Know You Know I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant! I enjoyed this book very much. I loved the podcast element. The twists that came were absolutely surprising for me.
I think this is one of those books that you will either love or hate. Some of the characters you will probably dislike and distrust. One of those I could relate to which made it easier for me to understand her even while I didn’t trust her. This is a crime thriller with two children who are murdered. I think that is difficult for most people. I want to say more on that but to do so, might ruin things for you. My advice is to try it. If you are on the fence about it, use the free sample option. I was surprised by it. The last half of the book, I could not stop reading.
Thank you to Harper Collins and the BookShout app for providing a free copy of this book without any requirement for a review. The review is based on my thoughts of the story. This is the first book of Gilly Macmillan’s that I have read. I do plan to read more from this author.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review: We are NOT Buying a Camper!

We are NOT Buying a Camper! We are NOT Buying a Camper! by Karen Musser Nortman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this series! It is a lot of fun to read these books. I really enjoy the main characters. This book took me back to the camping days of my youth.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: The Plot Is Murder

The Plot Is Murder The Plot Is Murder by V.M. Burns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first book by VM Burns. It is a cozy mystery set in Michigan with a second location in England.

I loved the fact that this is actually two mysteries! The main character, Sam, is writing a mystery. I had no trouble at all following both of them. Perhaps this is because I tend to read more than one book at a time. Maybe my mind is trained to keep them separate. Both mysteries were a lot of fun for me to read. I really hope this continues in some of her future books. The characters were a lot of fun. Nana’s gang of friends were a hoot and some amazing ladies. I also liked Dawson a lot and hope he stays with the series. I would like to see how things turn out for him. The mysteries were some what alike which causes some trouble. They were both interesting. I had an easier time figuring out the main mystery. Maybe we had less information with Sam’s mystery? I’m not sure because Ms Burns did a super job with both.

The book is pretty clean. Irma almost lets loose a couple of times but is stopped. It made me laugh. I recommend it to cozy lovers, especially if they like dogs. Sam has two friends who are amazing. Yes, I do love dogs!

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Americanah

Americanah Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My librarian chose this book for me to read. It is one of PBS’ Great American Reads. I probably would not have chosen it. I’m happy I read it. It is a wonderful book if you want to see America through someone else’s eyes. It touched me. I had only really thought of Nigerians as scammers. This book helped me leap beyond that falsehood. Read this book.

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Review: Washed Away: How the Great Flood of 1913, America's Most Widespread Natural Disaster, Terrorized a Nation and Changed It Forever

Washed Away: How the Great Flood of 1913, America's Most Widespread Natural Disaster, Terrorized a Nation and Changed It Forever Washed Away: How the Great Flood of 1913, America's Most Widespread Natural Disaster, Terrorized a Nation and Changed It Forever by Geoff Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never heard about this event until I stumbled upon this book. The stories in it are amazing and heartbreaking. I have told so many people about it. Read this book. It is one of the most fascinating books I read this year. I did have to break up the reading, inserting a couple lighter books. It became overwhelming just as the flood was. It is compelling reading, especially if you can imagine the people.

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Review: Waiting for Eden

Waiting for Eden Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I cried through this book. I am so grateful to Goodreads, the author and Knopf Publishing for offering this book in a giveaway. I might not have discovered it otherwise. Yes, I did win a paperback copy. This review is my honest opinion.
My son was just 18 when he went to Iraq. What happened to Eden and our narrator were my nightmares the entire time he was deployed. I waited to hear from him. I waited for someone to come to my door. I waited and I prayed...for a call or letter, for no ring of the doorbell. I thought a lot of my time waiting as I read about Mary’s waiting and, also, the narrator’s wait. Though the story is about Eden and Mary, he is also a part of it and he is waiting too. I don’t know how I feel about Mary. I understand the choice she made, or perhaps I just think I do. I don’t know what would have been choice. I like to say, I would have made the right choice. The truth is, though, I don’t know. My heart breaks for the three of them. It breaks harder for Andy. In a sense she lost every parent.
If you are checking out this review, then you had an interest in the book. I recommend you read it. It is my pick for the most profound book I have read this year. It is going to haunt me. Buy Kleenex, a lot of Kleenex, and read this book. I read it twice to do this review. I will read it again. I will think of Mary, the narrator and, mostly, Eden.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Review: Hark the Herald Angels Slay

Hark the Herald Angels Slay Hark the Herald Angels Slay by Vicki Delany
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book I have read in Vicki Delaney’s A Year-Round Christmas Series. I read during Christmas in July. It was also a book club pick.

I really love this series. I’m huge on Christmas happening anytime. To quote from the book, “That Christmas magic. July or December—there’s nothing like it.” That happens to be my favorite quote from the book. I must say the author lives up to her quote. She brought Christmas magic to the pages of the book. Considering there was criminal activity including murder going on, that was no easy feat. I love the characters in this series. Merry and Vicky are the type of girlfriends you want to have, (or be). I love Merry’s Dad who I believe may really be Santa Claus. And Mattie...love at first slobber. The mystery was twisty and not obvious to me. I’m not saying more on that. Read it yourself. The town was fun with a great cast of characters; some easy to like, others take a bit of sugar to get down. I love the small town feel of the series.

Get the book and bring some Christmas magic. I read this with Christmas lights on, carols on the playlist and hot chocolate with cookies to snack on. All the dead and the danger were in the book. It was a lovely Christmas in July.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Review: Death on the Menu

Death on the Menu Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first venture into The Key West Food Critic Mysteries. It was my first time reading Lucy Burdette’s writing. I received a hardback review copy through a review club on Facebook. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts.

In the opening of the book we get a bit of information on Cuba and the US relations and history. I’m not into politics and I debated jumping it or at least speed reading it. Don’t make that mistake. It’s there for a reason. Honestly I found it to be more interesting than I was expecting. I did spend a bit of time remembering a friend I had years ago, especially when I read about Carmen’s husband crossing. My friend’s husband came over from Cuba during the sixties. I was reminded of his stories of what his childhood Cuba was, his adventure coming here and how he said his life was changed living here. He was always grateful and proud that he was a citizen here. Thinking about him made the story very relatable. Take the time to really read that even if you are like me and not into politics so much. It is relevant to the story.

This is the eighth book in the series. I was expecting that I missed a lot, especially in regards to the characters and relationships. I was surprised to find that I was able to jump right in. The author is excellent at weaving in the important characters and their relationships. As I was getting acquainted with everyone, I thought that it was so well done that I could have read all eight books and not really noticed she was catching up new readers. That was one of the best jobs I have seen in combining the information in a way that was relevant to both types of readers. I enjoyed many of the characters in this book. They have invested me in the series, making me want to read the previous books as well as new ones.

The mystery itself was well written. There were many possibilities thrown out at the reader. I was deceived more than once thinking it was this one or that one. The author did well in leading me on a chase. Like I said above the politics play a part but the author did well humanizing it. I was enthralled and, as the pace picked up, I found myself racing through, truly interested in it all.

Another thing the author is exceptional at is bringing the sights, the smells and sounds alive. She is excellent at descriptions. You will get to know Key West very well. Warning: you will get hungry. But don’t worry. There are recipes at the end of the book. I cut down the recipe for the flan. I don’t have the equipment to make that much flan at once. I would say I also did not have enough people to eat it but the flan is addictive. Ropa Vieja has a lot of ingredients making it look intimidating. Try it. It is easy to follow and taste amazing! The Cuban sandwiches are easy to make and delicious. The Baked Bananas was incredible! I love plantains so this recipe was actually the first one I tried. I haven’t tried the other recipes but I plan to.

I recommend the book. It was a lot more fun to read than I was initially expecting. I plan to read the rest of the series.


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Review: Best Day Ever

Best Day Ever Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Omgosh! What a chiller. This book captured me from the beginning. The narrators were excellent. Recommend this book in any version. Read it.

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Review: The Exes' Revenge

The Exes' Revenge The Exes' Revenge by Jo Jakeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won an advanced copy of this book from Berkley Pub.

The book deals with domestic violence. I am a survivor. Did reading this bring up memories? Yes but I choose to deal with them. I have come across so many things in life that bring up something I wish I could forget that, for me, riding it out and dealing with them is my personal best option. It may not be another’s so know that the story has the potential to take you back and make your reading decision with what is best for you. You may not want to read this review because I’m going to talk. It has taken ten years to be able to talk about it and, honestly, I still don’t talk about the really bad stuff.

If you go into reading this book thinking it is a mystery, you will be disappointed. The beginning of the book gives that away. Afterward you find out the how of everything. If you want the book to be solidly realistic, this may not be for you. There are parts that are more fantasy that reality but, in fairness, the book is fiction. Fiction. Not fact. I personally thought the unrealistic parts were interesting. Okay they had me daydreaming about my ex and making a few wishes. What I liked about this book is the three women who find out who they are. Survivors. Damaged yet survivors. They come a long way in a short time. Unrealistic maybe but it still made my heart full. Domestic violence steals so much from you. If you haven’t had the experience you may not realize just how much is taken.

Another thing I appreciated is that the author didn’t just leave it as physical. Actually more of it was mental/emotional. The stuff that crushes you. The things that play over and over in your head. I’m only speaking of my experience here. For me this was incredibly difficult. I can remember the times when I couldn’t take it anymore, the verbal assault, and I would be there asking God to just let him hit me. If you find that shocking, you have no idea how painful a verbal assault can be. My ex used his fists and feet. He also used what he could throw, he used knives, a guard dog, guns and the electrical cord with wires exposed, a wet washcloth thrown on them after the cord was plugged in. There were other, worse, things. I tell you this so you understand how deeply words can wound. The thing about verbal abuse is it can be done in a way that you don’t even understand that you are being abused. You might know to walk away if he, (or she - abusers come in both genders), punches you. But if they are just saying things, some that may have bits of truth being twisted, you might not realize that is domestic violence. You are abused and those words will stay with you long after the relationship ends. So when I read a book like this one and the author understands the pain from psychological abuse, I want to cheer. I want to write the author a thank you letter. I want to tell others to read it with a mind open to feeling the characters pain and their shame. Reading this book and seeing Imogen, Naomi and Ruby realize who they are and what they are worth, meant a lot to me. It was encouraging.

The book had me riveted. I picked it up to read every chance I had, reading far into the night. If you are looking for a psychological thriller, and don’t mind a fictional story being a mix of reality and fantasy, I would say read this book.


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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Review: We Wish You a Murderous Christmas

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. I love Christmas themed books. This one was twisty with lots of suspects. I liked the characters and spent quite a bit of time thinking, ‘oh no! Not him/her!’ I like the little town and the rivalry it has going with another nearby small town. There were some humorous moments where I laughed out loud.

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Review: A Christmas To Cherish

A Christmas To Cherish A Christmas To Cherish by Josie Riviera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a sweet Christian romance. I like reading books by this author. She always brings me to new experiences. This one has music as a part of it with the return of some old friends from another book. It also deals with a heavier subject matter of domestic violence. The author does not go too far in describing the domestic violence scenes, making it less traumatic for me to read. I like her message of hope and moving forward. There is an easy peasey recipe for fruitcake that I am thinking to try this coming Christmas.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Review: Class Reunions Are Murder

Class Reunions Are Murder Class Reunions Are Murder by Libby Klein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this entertaining cozy mystery on Audible. I liked the narrator, Callie Beaulieu. I Enjoyed the main characters, especially Poppy who I related to the most. This may sound strange but my favorite chapter was the last one. Poppy had a lot of growth and I loved her frame of mind there. I will be reading the next book in this series. Poppy has reconnected to her first love and, as I also did a couple years ago, I am dying to see if it works out for her.


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Review: Dying To See You

Dying To See You Dying To See You by Kerena Swan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was surprised by this book. I don’t want to say more about that as I hate ruining a book for someone else. I enjoyed it. I liked the way the author wrote the ending to this.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was captivating! I started listening about 11 hours ago and completely listened to it until the end. This is the number one book of the year for me. Zoje Stage is brilliant! She expertly kept me horrifyingly enchanted. If you haven’t listened to the audio version of this book, I urge you to do so. The narrator, Gabra Zackman, took this book to the next level! I haven’t heard a better narrator. She read this book in such a manner that she totally added to the creepiness creating a movie inside my mind. If you read this in book form, ask the library if they have it on audio. You will be blown away!
I wish I could give it more than five stars! I honestly want to listen to it again.
Read this book. Buy it. Borrow it. Request it from the library. Just do it. If you do any of the readathons, this book is perfect for it. It will keep you awake and reading!

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Review: A Deadly Brew

A Deadly Brew A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. It didn’t take long to read but that was because I kept wanting to read. I like the balance between the characters, especially Jill and Greg. Their differences are balanced with respect. I really enjoyed the mystery. I believe in haunts. I think we do leave imprints on places we lived or loved, especially if we experienced a lot of emotions there. My belief coupled with the author’s knowledge of Wicca made the story very interesting for me.
It is a clean cozy mystery. It is a good pick for late summer/fall reading. I think the YA crowd would enjoy it as much as older people.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Review: Real Actors, Not People

Real Actors, Not People Real Actors, Not People by Karen Musser Nortman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the eighth book in the series. I have not read any of the others in the series. It is my first time reading this author. I first heard of this book at a Facebook party. I was excited about it because I love camping. I also found it intriguing that the mysteries will most likely move around. I found this to be interesting as locations, victims, suspects and witnesses will be different. I was wondering how that might affect the series and if I should start with the first book. Then I was notified I won a copy of this book.

I was able to enjoy the mystery with no problem at all. Yes there were hints of prior mysteries but nothing that made me feel as if I was left out of the loop. I loved the idea of family and friends going on camping adventures together. I felt right at home with Frannie and the gang. There was no awkwardness of being the outsider wondering about all I missed. It was the welcoming, friendly feeling you really do get from most campers. The reality show aspect was fun. Just imagining some actors out in the “wilds” building fires and living without luxuries was hilarious. I think the author did well with blending what we imagine they are like with what may be realistically more accurate. I don’t want to go into the mystery. I am always afraid of ruining the story. I enjoyed it. I thought it was fairly easy to solve but a fun book to read. I do want to go back and read prior books though it isn’t necessary. I just think the people were fun and the author did a wonderful job bringing the camping experience to me. I found the book to be appropriate for those who enjoy “clean” books.

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Review: Mischief in Italy

Mischief in Italy Mischief in Italy by Beate Boeker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won this book during a Facebook party.

This was such a fun book to read! It is definitely a summer fun book. This does not mean that you can only read it during the summer. What it means is if you are wanting to take a book-cation and enjoy the summer time feeling, this book is perfect. It is set in Italy with a small part in Germany.

The book is told in first person chapters, told by four main people. Yes. That is right. Four narrators. I can imagine your thoughts right now. I myself would have been thinking, ‘well, that is three too many.’ Do not make that mistake! It works out divinely. I actually cannot wait for this to come out on audio though I am scared to death for it to come out on audio. I want it done with two narrators: one male, one female. I want the narrators to be able to do two voices each: one old, one young. I know that is asking a lot but it would be so amazing. It is the only pairing that would do justice to the perfection of this book. So knowing the almost impossibility of this, I fear what I wish for. It is just that the author wrote these characters so well you truly come to know them. I remember having the thought that they were written in such a way that the author brought them to life with what she didn’t say as much as she did with what she did say. It is an amazing feat! Even the lesser characters, who have their turn narrating, were wonderfully written.

The story is delightful. It had me laughing, gasping in disbelief, worried and holding my breath in anticipation. I don’t want to go into any of it though. I want you to experience the deliciousness of it yourself. It is a clean read so can be enjoyed by everyone, though some may want more heat. For me, it is a treasure as it is.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Review: The Mystery Of Hollow Inn

The Mystery Of Hollow Inn The Mystery Of Hollow Inn by Tara Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The edition I am reviewing is actually the Audible one.

I listened to this book with my grandchildren in two different states. There was a total of 2 girls and 4 boys ages 4-12. We use video calling to read together.

The story begins with two 12 year old friends, Sam and Ally, arriving in Montana. They went by bus to vacation at the inn owned by Sam’s aunt and uncle. Upon arrival it becomes apparent that there won’t be cell phone service. Something that dismays one but delights the other. When a teenage boy, working at the inn, lets it slip that there is a legend attached to the inn, the adventure begins!

My grandchildren found it fascinating that the girls were allowed to go alone on a bus from California to Montana. They do not travel alone. This caused some excitement and a few questions. The cell phone being taken out caused some anxiety for the kids, too. Personally I loved that the author made a point of showing them they would not only survive without it, they would have fun. I was also impressed that the author made the point that while some people are very comfortable and even attached to social media, others are not. I always think it is important that differences be shown and accepted. The said they really liked how the author described things. They were able to picture it in their minds and watch the story unfold, which is something I have always loved about books. We all agreed the author did an excellent job with the narration. We are looking forward to the next book.



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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: Bad Mommy

Bad Mommy Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Much like a train wreck, I couldn’t stay away. This story grabbed me and I listened all the way through with only a few breaks. I don’t even know if I really like the story. I plan to listen to it again. There is crazy and then there is another level of crazy. This goes in the second crazy status.
The narration on this was awesome! I enjoyed it.
This might not be for you if you are offended easily. If you can handle people having real thoughts and feelings, (no judgment from me..I believe I am only responsible for my words and deeds), then you might find this story fascinating.


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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Review: The Last Orchard: Book 0

The Last Orchard: Book 0 The Last Orchard: Book 0 by James Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t read anything by this author. I saw it and based upon the description and price, (free at the time), I decided to try it, not expecting much. I was surprised by it. The author picked a subject we should all think about. I’m not going to pick a political side. War can happen and it can happen, and throughout history has happened, regardless of which side is in the White House. I can imagine it coming to our shores, particularly in a time when the population is divided over everything. I am not opposed to progress. I’m writing this on an iPad I would miss like a lover. I am also a believer in the past being as important to our future as the present is. If you forget history, you will possibly repeat it. If you forget the inventions of yesterday, you may find yourself needing to invent them again. We rely greatly on all our gadgets that make life comfortable. What will happen if it was all suddenly gone? Would you know what to do? If you are thinking, I bought a book on survival awhile back, tell me, please, was it an ebook or print? Exactly. We are so use to everything being easy, we don’t even think about a long term disaster and how it could affect us. The lights go out? We expect them back in a few hours. But what if they weren’t coming back for months? How would deployed troops get back to defend us if nothing is in the sky? I like to think all that is worked out but I’d rather not rely on it. This book brings that concept home. Do I think it would fall apart so quickly? No but the author threw in a probable cause to suggest it could. I like books that make me think what if it could really happen? This one did that for me.
This is a very fast read. The action drives it forward but it is a short introductory type of book. Don’t be fooled though. The author, in that short length, took a moment to develop his characters. It made a nice surprise for me. Yes it does end with no ending. This is why I called an introductory book. I suspect the ending won’t happen for awhile. This is a series that relies on the book before as well as the next book. If you don’t want to invest in a series, this might not be the best fit. You could though put it away until the series has a few books and then read them together. As for me, I’m anxious to see what happens next, how does this affect the main characters and how it resolves. I’m probably not going to wait. I think there are three more as of this writing. That’s enough to get me started.

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Review: Leap, Laugh, Love

Leap, Laugh, Love Leap, Laugh, Love by Rachelle Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun summer read. I really enjoyed all the beach and surfing puns the author used. Having read Blush of Love, I was happy to see some friends though I wish I had read this first. I appreciated how the author kept the continuity between the stories.
This story has a bit of spice to it. If you are not looking for a hot, sexy story you might want to skip this. The author has other clean romances that would fit you better. If, however, you are looking for something to make you sweat and ready for love, this is your book!

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Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book! This is one of the books I missed from The Great American Read list. My librarian got me a copy and I also have it on my Audible. I read this with family members. We listened and I read along, (or ahead because I could stay up all night without being yelled at- haha). We held off watching the movie to finish the book.
We absolutely loved this book! I play games a lot, as a child it was all board games then with progress video games were added. Now it is a mix that I enjoy with my children and grandchildren. I loved all the references throughout the book. I guess we have talked about them enough that most didn’t even need to be explained to the grandkids. This made a fun book to do as a family. We were in three states but with the use of video calling we had a blast! If you are looking for something fun and engaging to share with a child in your family, this is a good choice, (though be aware the middle might find the child wanting to get on with it. Romance apparently is not enjoyed as much by young boys). We are now excited to watch the movie over the Fourth of July holiday. I am expecting it to be different and am anxiously waiting to see the kids reactions. This is going to be an experience for them. It’s my hope they will see enough differences to decide the book is always worth reading.
I highly recommend this book.

*edited because I forgot to mention that Wil Wheaton does a great job with the Audible version. The kids especially enjoyed him. I had one who loved closing his eyes so he could watch in his head as Wil read the book. High praise in my eyes. Not every narrator can bring the visual to your mind.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Review: The Coldest Winter Ever

The Coldest Winter Ever The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book blew me away. I need time for the review but if you are reading this, it’s because you have an interest in the book. Read it. If you think it doesn’t have anything for you, you aren’t black, you aren’t from the ghetto...keep reading it. Read it to the end. If nothing else it may give you understanding of another but, if you are smart enough to open yourself up to it, it can give you a lot more.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Two: 125 Easy, Perfectly-Portioned Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker and Multicooker

The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Two: 125 Easy, Perfectly-Portioned Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker and Multicooker The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Two: 125 Easy, Perfectly-Portioned Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker and Multicooker by Erica Acevedo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book to be very helpful. I loved that it contains a variety of recipes and then goes a step further with tips. I am adjusting my cooking from a family of 8 to a family of 2 plus small dog. I have been using my Instant Pot frequently with recipes I know how to make. With the help from this book I have been able to prepare smaller meals that are very tasty.

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Review: Unwelcome Guests

Unwelcome Guests Unwelcome Guests by Anna Willett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I read by Anna Willet. I enjoyed it. I liked the way the author kept you guessing on who to trust. That was well done. There were a few parts that were unbelievable for me. This does not always bother me as I know fiction does not mean reality. However in this story, I felt that it did make a difference for me. I’m sorry I’m sounding so vague but I honestly hate giving away things. The story was interesting and made me wonder what I would have thought or done if it were me.
This story touches on sexual abuse but I thought it was well done. Things were explained but not graphically. I thought the author did a very good job giving details that left much of it up to your mind.

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Review: Little Girl Lost

Little Girl Lost by Addison Moore My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book certainly held my attention. I could...