Friday, May 30, 2014

Review--Better Than I Know Myself by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant

Better Than I Know MyselfBetter Than I Know Myself by Virginia DeBerry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did you ever have a friend who was more like family? For Regina Foster, Jewel Prescott, and Carmen Webb this is exactly true. Better Than I Know Myself starts in the late 70's when the girls are seniors in high school and making the decision on where to go to college. Three different girls from three very different backgrounds.  Jewel, a former child star. Regina, the daughter of two college educated parents and little sister to older brothers who had all attended and graduated from college. And Carmen whose parents had left her at a young age.

The story progresses through their meeting in New York at Barnard and continues through their graduation. Regina and Jewel were already roommates when they met Carmen at the university library.  They all got stuck in an elevator together and as they say, "The rest is history." They lived together through the early 80's as they grew into women and started to become independent.
The book covers twenty years of friendship and sisterhood and all the trials and tribulations that entails.

This book made me laugh out loud and brought a tear or two to my eyes.  It also made me want to get together with my closest girlfriends.  This is a book that you have to read until the end.

I listened to this book through the iPod and Overdrive.  The audio was read by Lisa Renee Pitts.

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Review--Afterburn and Aftershock by Sylvia Day

Afterburn and Aftershock (Afterburn & Aftershock, #1-2)Afterburn and Aftershock by Sylvia Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read the Afterburn and Aftershock together.  I'm a big fan of Sylvia Day and this quick read was not a disappointment.

Gianna Rossi and Jackson Rutledge have history.  But after two years of hearing nothing from Jackson, Gianna is ready to move on.  Back from Las Vegas, in New York, close to her family, she is looking for a job.  She finds one that is just perfect for her.  After being on the job for a while, she gets a big assignment.  Working this assignment gets her back in touch with Jackson, Jax as she calls him.

Will they be able to pick up where they left off?  Does Gianna want to pick up where they left off?  Will they still have the passion for one another that they once did?  And what will her family and her boss think about her being with this powerful man, who destroyed her life before?

Another juicy tale from Sylvia Day.  These two stories are a part of Cosmo's Red-Hot Reads and they didn't disappoint.  I enjoy a good steamy read.  It helps me after I have read something I didn't enjoy or something that was challenging to unwind for the next thing.

The thing that really gets me about these types of books though is that they feature an extremely handsome and wealthy man and a woman they are smitten with at first sight.  then he has her move in with him and has his security detail following her around all the time.  When is the female millionaire going to fall in love with the guy who delivers her packages everyday or makes her espresso?  Then she finds out he really is the rich one and owns the coffee shop and countless others all over the world.  Or he's the president of the delivery company who likes working alongside his employees.  Is there a book out there like that already?  If so, please give me the title.

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+Sylvia Day

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This Week's Reading

So this week, my reading is quite interesting.  NOT!!!  I'm studying.  It's been a long time since I have done that and I'm not used to doing it with three kids and a husband.  I'm used to setting up my day and being able to read a few pages and take a few notes.  It's not working like that today!

The thing that makes it really bad is that it's only 160 pages that I have to go through.  The reading is a little interesting learning about different kinds of websites and how to evaluate them.  I'm trying to get a job that I can do from home, and normally I would be done with this by now.  This week though, it's just not getting through.  I don't know if it was the holiday or the numerous distractions, but I'm only on page 20.  I have one week to finish reading the study guide and take the exam.  Hopefully I will get this all done soon.

Wish me luck!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review--The Heart's Melody by Chava Epstein

This is the author's photo from the book cover on my Kindle

The Heart's Melody (Black & White Edition)The Heart's Melody by Chava Epstein
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this book from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.
Noa and Amar meet each other in, "Mutual Advice", a support group for those who have relationship issues.  Amar and Noa end up doing sessions together and these sessions lead to a romantic relationship.  An relationship that is forbidden from the start as Noa is Jewish and Amar is Muslim.

Chava Epstein writes a romantic story filled with passion.  The reason why I didn't give this story more than two stars was because it just didn't make me feel the passion.  I'm not sure if some of the story got lost in translation, or if the format I was reading it in, distracted from the deeper meaning, but it was a task for me to finish this book.  Throughout telling the love story of Noa and Amar, there are also love letters and paintings and other stories that Noa is writing to tell about her love for Amar.  All of these side stories made me lose interest in the rest of what was going on.

On the other hand, I LOVED the artwork that accompanied each chapter in the book.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

How Do You Get Through a Tough Title?

I really enjoy reading new books and getting ARC and galley copies of books to review.  But what do you do when the book just seems impossible to get through.  I am reading one now and even though I am enjoying the story, the outline and some parts of it are just difficult to get through.  I want to give the book an honest review, and I want to finish it.  There have been very few books that I have started that I have not been able to finish.  I do not want to put this book in that category, because I want to know what is going to happen in the end.  So, how do you make it through the end of a book you want to know the ending to, but find it difficult to get through the story?  Do you move on to something else and come back to it later?  Do you just abandon it and review just what you have read.  I only have a couple more days before I have to submit my review, so giving up is not an option at this point.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review--Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A girl named Boy, a girl named Snow and a girl named Bird.  Three unique names for three unique individuals.  It's 1953 and Boy is living in New York, the daughter of a rat catcher.  She has never known her mother.  Boy "was a girl with a white-blonde pigtail hanging down over one shoulder..." When life with her father got to be too much, she packed her stuff and moved to the farthest place she could get on the bus, Flax Hill, CT.

Quickly, Boy made friends and met a man, Arturo Whitman.  Arturo has a daughter named Snow, who the whole town adored.  Shortly after Arturo and Boy are married, she becomes pregnant.  When she gives birth to her daughter, Bird, the Whitman family secrets soon come to light.

There is an underlying theme in this book with mirrors.  The women claim that they do not "see" themselves in them.  Is it because they are ghosts? Or is it that their family secrets run so deep that they find it hard to see themselves as they really are?

This book reminded me of books I had to read for school.  I enjoyed the storyline as a whole, but reading it, I felt as though there were questions I was supposed to be searching the answers for instead of just enjoying the book.  There are so many secrets throughout the entire book with the biggest secret coming at the end.  Told in three sections by Boy, Bird, and then Boy again, this is very interesting story about race in the north in the 50's and 60's.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Trying to Keep Up!!

There are so many great books out there.  From recommendations from friends, family, and Goodreads to the books selected as a Group Read, plus all of the book that are already on my personal book list.  I have 3135 on that list(I started keeping it before there was a Goodreads or Leafmarks).  Out of that 3135 I have read only 231. I'm sure I have read more books than that, but that is what I have on record.  I started this list back in 2003 so anything previously read will not be on there, unless I added it after the fact.

I enjoy reading tremendously.  I want to read just about anything and everything I can.  I like Best Sellers and Indie books.  I like discovering something new.  I wish I could read faster and that I had more time to read, but with 3 kids, time is limited.  Im trying to get through at least 2 books a week.  One that I read and one that I listen to, although this week, I haven't even touched the iPod.  Right now I'm reading Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.
 I started on May 9th, and am about halfway through.  Definitely not going to finish this one in a week.

I took a quiz on about What's Your Reading Personality?  It said I was an Exacting Reader..
"The expression 'so many books, so little time!' sums up your life.  You love books, but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like-so you're very particular about the books you choose."  Yes, and thank you!!  I hope this summer when there isn't as much running around to do with kids in school, I will have a little more time to get some reading done.

You can take the quick on BookBrowse  yourself by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thanks Mom!

For most of us, the first person to read us a book was our mother.   She may have read to you while you were in the womb.  She read us or told us countless bedtime stories.  As we got older, she bought the books we needed for school, or books she thought might help us out with a situation we were going through.

Now, my mom is constantly suggesting books for me to read, and giving me books as gifts.   Just this year she has given me, Guilt-free Motherhood: Parenting with Godly Wisdom by Julianna Slattery and King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village by Peggielene Bartels. She has introduced me to David Baldacci and John Grisham books.  She gives my children books every time she sees them.

I can definitely say my love for reading was inspired by my mother.  I think there has only been one time in my life when she wasn't happy about my reading.  I had to be about 11 or 12 years old.  I was reading a really good book, that I didn't want to put away and go to bed.  I couldn't tell you what the name of that book is now, though.  So, she made me turn off my light.  I turned off the light and turned on the flashlight. Im not sure how long it was before she came back to my room and told me to turn off the flashlight and go to bed.  I just couldn't stop reading.  So, I took the flashlight and my book and maybe a pillow and went into my closet to read.  And I fell asleep.  The next morning, my mom couldn't find me because I was asleep in the closet!!  True story.   I wish I still had a closet big enough to curl up in and read.

So to all the mothers who have inspired us to read and to all of us who are mothers and are inspiring our children to read.  I say Happy Mother's Day!!

My Girls Readin'

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review--Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman

Spilled BloodSpilled Blood by Brian Freeman read by Joe Barrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olivia Hawk is 16 years old and has been accused of killing Ashland Steele.  Ashland is the daughter of Florian Steele.  Mr. Steele is the largest employer in the small town of Barron, Minnesota.  Olivia lives in the neighboring town of Croix and these cities have been at each other's throats for quite some time.  The reason, Florian Steele's company.

This is another new author for me.  This book was very shocking and pulled at my heart strings.  It's a story of loss, revenge, sacrifice, love, sickness, family.  Makes you asks questions like: What am I willing to do to save my child? what will I do for my brother's love? What will I do to save my company? What will I do without my wife? Who is killing all these people? To find the answers you have to read the book.

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Mr. Freeman will be coming in a few weeks to my Goodreads group A Good Thriller to do a Q&A.  
All who are interested should check it out!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Review--Take One With You by Oak Anderson

Take One With YouTake One With You by Oak Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine a world where you could get back at those who had done you wrong. "An eye for an eye."  In, Take One With You, Oak Anderson takes that ideal to a whole new extreme.

Charlie and Sarah had both suffered great loss.  They had 'met' each other online in chat rooms dedicated to such things.  They met several other people with the same suffering.  One particular person, though, was an inspiration to them.  She was courageous and brave.

Melissa Stevenson was tired and wanted to end her life.  But there was someone else's life that had to end too.  The person who made her life so horrible.  Missy was going to take her life and take him with her.

From this inspiration, Charlie and Sarah created the TOWY website.  People who were suicidal or terminally ill could take their own life and take the life of someone else as well.  What a way to rid this earth of all the scum!

I really enjoyed this book.  It's an original idea that is eerily realistic.  The relationship between Charlie and Sarah is very intense.  One part of this book, that was very different from any other book that I have ever read was the use of different media articles that talk about the effects the website is having on the world.  I didn't like where they were placed in the book, but that was my own issue.

This is a great novel that will get you thinking.  Are there really people out here who are already doing these things.  Murder/suicide is a common practice.  "If you die tomorrow...who would you kill tonight?"
Please read Take One With You!

There is a giveaway on Goodreads for this book now through May 22nd.  Click here to enter.  Also check out the book trailer on YouTube.  Take One With You Book Trailer.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday!!

One of my favorite childhood books is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I read this book several times as a child and even a few times as an adult.   I love the story.  This little girl, Mary, loses everything in the blink of an eye.  Her mother, father, and her life as she knows it.  Having to move in with an uncle who is a complete stranger, and really wants nothing to do with her is remarkable.   Discovering the garden and all the secrets of Mistlethwaite Manor.

I remember wishing that I had a secret garden to go to.  Someplace quiet that I could go and read my books.  Not have to worry about a care in the world.   Too bad I have a black thumb and am no good at gardening.  All of that work would have to be done for me.  
Where would you like to escape to?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How Are You Readin'?

The Ways I Read

There used to be a time when, if you wanted to read a book, you'd have to go to the library, borrow it from a friend, or buy it.  Now, in this digital age, you can have a book in your hand in a matter of seconds.   Who would have thought something like that could ever happen.  These days, not only can you get a book in a matter of moments, you can also get an audiobook in a matter of seconds.  There are so many different ways to access a book these days, it's a wonder why we have so much crime.  Everyone should be spending their time reading all these wonderful(mostly) things at our disposal.

I have two Kindles that I use to read on.  My Kindle keyboard which I do not keep linked to wi-fi and the original Kindle Fire.  I use that mostly at night to read when everyone has gone to bed.  Every once in a while, I will also read on my phone.  This is my least favorite way.  My phone is way to small and making the font bigger just doesn't do the job.  But, when I have to, I do use the phone and mostly use the Aldiko app for that.

Kindle Fire, Kindle Keyboard, Android Phone

On the rare occasion when I get a book that I can't read through any of the above mentioned devices, then I will read through my computer on Adobe Digital Editions.  This takes me a lot longer to get through a book because I don't want to sit in front of the computer for that long. 

I also have started to listen to a lot of books through my iPod.  I never have been a big audiobook listener, but it does make the time pass a lot quicker while cleaning the house.  I can usually get through a book, depending on it's length, in 1-3 days.  It's quite convenient, and I can borrow one from the library online and have it on my iPod within 10 mins.   I borrow all of my audiobooks from Overdrive.  

iPod Touch

Finally, and the most traditional is a good old book!!  Something you can touch, feel, smell.  Something you can use your fancy bookmarks in.  Hardcover or paperback, it doesn't really matter to me.  I will always read physical books.  It may not be as often as it was years ago, but I can't give them up!  

Hardcover or Paperback

No matter what or how you read, it's a great hobby to have.  Books can take you to faraway places, or teach you something new.  You can connect with millions of people all over the world, just from reading the same book.   

Please share with me in the comments below how and what you're readin'!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review--Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eat, Pray, Love is the story of one woman's journey through Italy , India , and Indonesia in a quest to find peace, harmony, and to become a better person.  She takes a year to make this journey.  Starting in Italy  to eat amazing food and to learn to speak Italian.  In India she visited an ashram and met her guru.  In Bali, Indonesia, she is returning to see Katut, a medicine man she had met before an had told her that she would return to Bali and teach him English.

Elizabeth Gilbert is one brave lady.  First, to be able to dedicate a year of your life to traveling the world.  Making stops in places where you don't know anyone or even speak the language.. It sounds like an amazing time.

I had seen the movie when it was first released, but didn't know there was a book as well.  I try to read the book before the movie as much as possible.  This has been on my library wish list for a while.  When it finally became available I couldn't wait to listen to it.  Having it being read by the author herself made it that much more enjoyable.  It made me feel as though I was there with her.  Tasting food in Italy, doing hours of meditation in India, and even more in Indonesia.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Review--First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First Love is a story of two young people, Alexandra and Robinson.  Axi is sitting at Ernie's, a cafe in their small town, waiting for Robinson.  Next week, she has finals for her two AP classes. Now, normally, this straight laced, straight A student would be studying for those finals, but today she has something else on her mind.  As Robinson enters the store, all thoughts of finals escape her mind and a smile spreads across her face.  He has that skill, to brighten her mood whenever he is around.  As he sits down, worry starts to envelope Axi.  What if her plan backfires?  What if Robinson isn't interested in what she has to say?  She takes a deep breath and says..."Let's Run Away".
All over the country they travel, breaking the rules and trying not to get hurt or arrested along the way.  When this carefree trip takes a devastating turn, Axi comes to realize that life is way too short.

We all remember our first love.  I know at that time, there was almost nothing I wouldn't do for mine.  Would you lie, steal, cheat?  Would you sacrifice your own life for their happiness?  First Love is definitely not your typical James Patterson book.  While he does have other books that are non-crime/police drama, they are few and far between.  This was a cute story about teens trying to make the best out of a bad situation.  Time is of the essence for them and they intend to ride it until the wheels  fall off.  Penning themselves Bonnie and Clyde, Axi and Robinson take a cross-country tour neither of them will ever forget.  Starting in Oregon and ending in North Carolina they cross the country seeing the sites and trying to avoid the police.  If you're interested in a quick, cute love story about a couple of kids, then you will enjoy this story!

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+James Patterson

Friday, May 2, 2014

Goodreads Offline!!

So for a few hours today, Goodreads was offline!!  I check my Goodreads account more often than I check my Facebook or anything else.  So this was quite a shock for me.  I was having withdrawals.  I'm all better now that it is back up and running, but I was so sad earlier!!

This is what I looked like:

Review--Touch by Mark Sennen 5/2/14

TouchTouch by Mark Sennen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

**2.5 stars**

Detective Inspector Charlotte Savage is investigating rape cases where the women were drugged and then dumped.  When one of those victims, a student, who was supposed to be headed back home, is found dead, the case starts to change.  When a second body turns up much like the first, DI Savage is none too happy.  Now another girl has been reported as missing.  Can Savage find her before it's too late.

I read Touch because the author was doing a Q&A with our group here A Good Thriller.  I usually enjoy these types of books, but there was something about this book that just made it not as good as I was expecting.  I enjoyed the story line, but there were a lot of characters and that detracted from the story.  I think I counted at least eight different detectives or police officers involved, not to mention crime scene investigators and coroners.  Then there were the different suspects in the case and the person who did the crime.  He gave each of his victims another name.  So it was all a little confusing.

At this time there are two other books in this series,
  Bad Blood (A DI Charlotte Savage Novel) by Mark Sennen
and   Cut Dead by Mark Sennen
.  According to the author there will be at least three more in the series.  I'm not sure if I'll read the others or not.  

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Throw Back Thursday!!!

Since I have just started this blog, I'm going to go back a bit and share some of the books I have read in the past that have had an impact on my life.  One of the first books or series of books I remember reading is The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin.  
This series really shaped my love for reading.  I remember my friends and I trading the books around and talking about the series.  One friend and I even took a babysitting course through community services.  We were so excited about it.  We got CPR certified and received certificates for our course.  We even had little ID cards that said we were official members of the Babysitting Club.

There are so many great books out there for young kids these days. I think that all children need to find a book or a series of books that inspire them and that they enjoy.  Reading is such a great way to learn new things and find an escape to far away lands.

Right now my oldest daughter(6) is getting into the American Girl books.  I love that she enjoys reading as much as I do.  I just hope that this will continue throughout her life.