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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Review: Dracul

Dracul by Dacre Stoker My rating: 0 of 5 stars Dracula was the first horror story I read as a teenager. ...