Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Review: When Smiles Fade

When Smiles Fade When Smiles Fade by Paige Dearth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a difficult book for me. I had never read this author before so I had no expectations for the story. The first 30% of the book was the hardest for me to get through. I had a lot of memories to work through. I had to go slow and take breaks with other books. I always came back, though. I was invested in the children of this book. All of them, not just Emma, Gracie and Izzy. Their story is heartbreaking and compelling. Sadly, it is a realistic one. If you haven’t known abuse, you may think the author is over the top. Maybe. The book is fiction. Abuse does happen, though. You may think that no one could get away with doing those things to their children. It is harder in some places, today, but it still happens. Even here in the USA where we like to believe that we protect our young. How many times have you questioned someone at the park about a child’s injuries? How many times do you accept your neighbor saying, “she is clumsy,” or, “he likes to roughhouse.”? How many times has your child mentioned a classmates injury and you just said, “that’s too bad.”. See how easy it is? Yes, after too many injuries, we may start whispering about it or possibly ask a deeper question. What happens then? They move. “A better job in a different state.” “Moving back with family.” “Buying a house.” Then it can start all over. This book will open your eyes to a very real problem around the globe. Children are the future. They should be valued not damaged.
I really liked Emma. I liked how the author took us inside her head and heart. I also liked the glimpse into Gracie. If I had a wish for this book, it would be for a companion book of Gracie’s journal. The story gripped me. After I got past the first 30%, I found myself eager to know what was going to happen next. I was hoping for a better life for Emma and Gracie. I won’t give away anything by saying more on the plot twists. There are several. They were surprising to me. The last 70% of the book was easier for me to read. It actually went fast because I didn’t want to put it down. A problem I had with it concerns Izzy. I found myself confused on time passing with her character. I felt like it went too fast and became easily confused about her age. It tripped me up a little.
Please heed the warning of the graphic nature of this book. It is not for everyone. If it is not something you can handle, then, pass it up. If you aren’t certain, please get the sample or check with your library. I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. All opinions expressed are my honest feelings regarding the book. At first I wasn’t certain I wanted to read another book by the author, (due to the explicit scenes). Now though, after having time to breathe and reflect, I think I will. I know what to expect and I know to give myself time. I think the author will captivate me with another heart searing, emotional, gripping read. Give the author a try. I would say, if you do but find yourself thinking it is a DNF, stay with the story until after the 30% mark before deciding if you can or can’t finish it. It is brutal but the author does let you breathe.

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Review: Bewitching

Bewitching Bewitching by Sandy Moffett
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I started off reading the series that I believe goes with this book. Then my son was deathly ill and I couldn’t concentrate on anything but him. Once he was on the mend, I thought, I would pick up where I left off. I didn’t count on the exhaustion and mood flipping that would follow his recovery, made worse by my own autoimmune disorder that I neglected. I ended up in a funk where I would pick up books, read a page and then put it down. Every single book. Even ones I was loving, (at least I knew it wasn’t the books). I truly was despairing at gaining back my reading interest. Then I picked up this one and was swept away!

This story captures my reading spirit and revived it! I loved Constance and her aunts. The aunts were so adorable! Stefan was a perfect book boyfriend; handsome, intelligent, kind and a bit mysterious. I don’t want to go into the plot because it is a novella. It’s too easy to give away too much..and there is a big plot twist! I kept returning to it every chance I had. I found myself wishing I had carved out time to read it all at once. If I were to guess, I would say you could read it in two or three hours. Make the time! You will get caught up. Read it.

I would like to say this about the book in case it is an issue for anyone. There are hot scenes. I found them appropriate for the book, (but that is my taste). If that is something that you prefer not to read, you might want to choose a different book. Otherwise, enjoy them. They are a part of a very interesting storyline.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Review: The Darkwater Bride An Audible Original Drama

The Darkwater Bride An Audible Original Drama The Darkwater Bride An Audible Original Drama by Marty Ross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the performance of this audiobook. The story, though, was over the top for me. It was a creepy tale but a little too much on graphic, gritty, violence and sex for my taste. I don’t mind stories that are graphic, as long as I feel it is necessary to the story. I listened to the whole story, though, because I loved the performance. If you don’t mind graphic and gritty, this may be your story. I would tell you to listen to it for the performance. It is more like listening to radio drama over an audiobook. Listen to the sample and remember it does have scenes that could trigger sensitive listeners.

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Review: Crêpe Expectations

Crêpe Expectations Crêpe Expectations by Sarah Fox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this mystery. It is the first book I read by Sarah Fox although it is the 5th book into the series. I did not feel as though I missed anything by jumping in so late. The mystery was well done with a couple of mini mysteries popping up. This enhanced the story for me. I think one of the mysteries might have been spun off of prior books, (not at all certain of this), but the second was solely related to this one. I like the characters and friendships. I do want to go back and read the previous books to catch me up on them.

I had something going on with my eyes during my reading, (it still is. I think spring allergies). The story is captivating and without the eye issues I would have probably finished in one day. I read it during a readathon so I had time blocked, (I blocked 5 hours as it is a good length.). There are some super delicious recipes in back that I can’t wait to try. I usually try to do one for the review, but the eyes. I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. The review is my opinions from reading the book.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Review: A Killer Latte: A Cozy Mystery

A Killer Latte: A Cozy Mystery A Killer Latte: A Cozy Mystery by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Tonya Kappes books. I have read many and haven’t been disappointed yet. A Killer Latte is a part of her A Killer Coffee Mystery Series. Each book in this series has its own mystery that wraps up. This series, though, has a secondary relationship storyline that is ongoing. Because of this, I would recommend reading it in order.
I enjoyed this story very much. In fact, it is my current favorite book of this series. I am in awe of how the author is able to come up with fresh plots. She has many books out there. Yet each one is fresh. In this one a movie is being made in Honey Springs. That brings a special chaos to the charming small town. The mystery was twisty and just when you think you have it...things change. That’s all I’m saying on that. Anything more and there would be no need for you to read the book.
All of our favorite characters are back and a pet finds a furever home. I stayed up reading into the early morning hours.
I received an electronic arc of this book. I chose to read and review it because I love finding and talking about entertaining books. My recommendation is to read this book. If you haven’t read any of the others in the series, check for them where you buy books, (the author has frequent sales), or request them from your library, (don’t forget Overdrive).

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Review: Seaside and Homicide

Seaside and Homicide Seaside and Homicide by Jenna St. James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book in a new series by a new power writing team. Jenna St James is an author I found last year. She quickly became one of my favorites. Maddy Maddson is her teenage stepdaughter. This is Maddy’s first book. I’m already looking forward to more by her. I wasn’t certain if this book would appeal to me being YA but curiosity won out. I’m happy it did.

I’m a character type of person. Yes, the mystery has to be a good one, (this one is), but if the people don’t interest me, I move on. I love that Brynn lives with her Gram and has a good relationship with her. There are a couple of very interesting storylines with Winnie, (Gram). I like the friendship between the girls. I also liked that in the beginning it was Brynn and Peyton with Raven being the new friend. I thought it brought an interesting element into it. Brynn and Peyton have history. They know each other well. They will get to know Raven better, along with us, as the series moves on. (There was a joke between Raven and her dad that made me chortle though my other half groaned..but then chuckled, too. Yes I did tell it to him.) The friendship formed fast and close, as some do particularly when your young. Will it last? Will it get stronger? Will they turn out too different from each other? Will they stay cohesive when they go off to college? That’s right. Our crime solvers are in high school. Just like one of the authors. This will keep the series authentic and unique, in my opinion. You might be thinking that this is a series best left to teens. It is a series I think young teens and up will enjoy. But if you think that it is not for adults you would be missing out on a modern Nancy Drew type series. If you liked Nancy, you’re going to enjoy this book. I’m certainly looking forward to more.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Review: Murder Wears a Little Black Dress

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! This is the first book I read by Debra Sennefelder. I definitely want to read more of her books.
The setting of a consignment shop was original and I love the part it played in the mystery. I also enjoyed the references to fashion, (and I am not a fashionista). I like her characters. I enjoyed reading their interactions. Kelly, the main character, has returned to her hometown. She has some relationship issues to work on, (for instance her sister and a high school friend), and they are well handled. I really liked the way the author wrote these, nothing rushed and not completely resolved. It felt realistic. I also like the way the love interest didn’t hijack the story. The mystery was the story as it is suppose to be. There is a psychic, who may or may not be the real thing, but, so far, no ghosts or things like that. That was refreshing and original, for me. The mystery was done well. It kept me interested as every time I had to put it down, I was eager to return to it. It was, for me, one of those books you get to the end and are forlorn, thinking, “now what?” I wanted to know the ending but was so sad because it was..the end. I’m looking forward to more books in this series.

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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Review: Time After Time

Time After Time Time After Time by Jenna St. James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this author’s writing. I have read a few of her books and she consistently injects good times into each book. Her books always entertain me. This book stayed true to that. Time After Time is the third book in the, “A Witch In Time,” series. No, so far, you do not need to read them in any special order. Each book has been complete on its own. I love how each book is from a different author yet flows nicely with the other books. The series is about young witches who travel through time, tasked with solving an unresolved crime. In Time After Time we go back to the 1980’s. The author remembers well how things were then. We are treated with a delightfully fun tale that takes place in a nursing home, (more like an assisted care facility). Two murders were committed by an unknown person. Will Lexie find out all she needs to know to crack this case? Pop in a cassette mix tape and dive in.
As always, reviews are opinions. This is my opinion. I prefer to say little about story lines. If I tell you the story in my review, you will miss the fun of reading the book. If you aren’t certain you will enjoy the book, please check for it on Overdrive or request it from your library.

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Review: The Prince of Dragons

The Prince of Dragons The Prince of Dragons by Tameri Etherton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I confess. Fantasy and SciFi are not my strong genres. For both, I need to be in the right mood to read them. I usually enjoy them but only on my terms. The Prince Of Dragons, though, enchanted me. I started it in the proper mood. Then had a crisis in real life that stopped my reading for a couple days. When I got back to reading, my mood had changed. But I was already under the author’s spell. This is one of the rare fantasy books that I enjoyed even though I wasn’t in fantasy mode! Truly, if you know me, you know how significant that is.
I love Rhoane. I loved watching his growth. The author ripped my heart out early on with Rhoane. I’m not telling you how. My other favorite character was Faelara. I am hoping to see more of her in future books. I want to know all of her story. There are other characters that I liked and a few, not so much, (pretty sure that was planned).
The author did a decent job with world building. I felt like I could close my eyes and see the story unfold in my mind. I do wish I had noticed the maps, at the end of the story, earlier. Be sure to check those out.
The author, thoughtfully, also has a cast of characters, (with pronunciation of names), and a glossary of unfamiliar words and places. Both can be found at the end of the book. I did well with the pronunciation using my experience with Celtic names and words. I knew the rules to those, (thank you deceased family members who passed that to me). If you aren’t familiar with them, you might want to keep in mind that you can easily look them up or you can choose to read through them before reading the story.
I recommend this series to young adults and up, (for some mature themes). My recommendation is to read the book. If you aren’t certain about buying it, I encourage you to ask your library for it and/or check your favorite library app.

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Friday, April 5, 2019

Review: Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers

Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers by Chris Grabenstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The version I am actually reviewing is the Audible Originals one. It is not listed in the editions available. I chose the version I hope matches.

I chose this title as part of the Audible Original program. I debated getting it as I’m not a child. Okay, some who know me might argue that so, I’m way above the age of being considered a child. I was kept entertained the entire time. I can’t wait to share this with my grandchildren. I know they are going to love it! The actors did a great job bringing this book to life. This would be a wonderful title for a road trip.

The grandchildren mentioned are in range from 6 to 12. I think the two older ones are more suited for the book but, being the audiobook version, I believe even the youngest will be kept entertained. The Audible Originals version runs just over 4 hours and has a big cast. I think even the adults in the car will be entertained. It will also provide an opening for talking about bullying. Oh and there are dogs. What child hasn’t asked for a dog at least once?

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Review: The Forgiving Jar

The Forgiving Jar The Forgiving Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. It is the second book in the series. I did not read the first book and was able to follow along. I do, however, wish that I had read them in order. It is what I recommend for best enjoyment. Each book, so far, tells, as the main story, one young girls story. The first book is Michelle’s story with, I’m thinking, Sara’s story coming in. This book is Sara’s story. The next book is Lenore’s. This is very interesting to me as Michelle and Sara were raised English while Lenore was raised Amish. Each young woman is hurting when they find The Prayer Jar, (this story made me want to make a similar type jar). I enjoyed the book very much but felt that the author did not stay true to Sara at the end. Michelle does something that affects Sara’s relationship. When Sara found out, there was no real feel reaction. I took a star away for it because I felt cheated. I don’t want to go completely into things and ruin it for anyone. I’ll let you draw your own opinion. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and am planning to read both book one and three. There are some other things in the background that have been introduced. I’m hoping the next book picks up the threads. I recommend the book for relaxing, clean romance, reading.
Thank to everyone involved in the giveaway. The opinions expressed are my feelings from reading the book. The review was voluntary and written because I like to review books and other purchases I make.

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Review: Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery

Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery by Jamie Rutland Gillespie My rating: 5 of 5 stars ...