Friday, December 11, 2015

My Best of 2015

One thing I really love about this time of the year, are the "Best Of" lists.  The radio is counting down the best songs of the year.  MTV and VH1 are playing the best videos of the year(Wait?!? Do they still play videos on these channels?).  The news is showing the top stories of the year in varying categories.  Facebook is giving you your "Year in Review".  Instagram and Twitter show you your most liked, retweeted and shared content.  My favorite by far though is the lists made by my fellow book lovers, publishers and writers on the Best Books of 2015.  There hasn't been a book that I have given a 5 star rating on as of yet this year, so this list is comprised of my highest rated books.

I have reviewed several lists that have come across my email, Oprah's Bookclub, Goodreads,, and The New York Times; and I have compared their list with my Goodreads Read 2015 list and here are my best of 2015.

First, I'm going to start with Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  This was one of the most anticipated works of literary fiction for the year.  We hadn't heard anything from Ms. Lee since To Kill A Mockingbird some 55 years earlier.  For me this book was just alright.  I gave it three stars.  It didn't live up to all of the hype that it has been receiving up until its release.

Next, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins another highly acclaimed book for this year that didn't disappoint, but wasn't as great as I was anticipating. Think about how many pictures you saw this year with girls on a train reading The Girl on the Train.

Another book that made the top of my list this year is The Murder House by James Patterson.  James Patterson is one of my favorite authors.  Every year he releases several new books and this one by far is one of my favorites by him in a very long time.  It is a standalone and an outstanding read.

This year I was introduced to several new authors, thanks in part to this blog and groups I am a part of on Goodreads.  Here are some that I highly recommend:

H.N.Wake--I was given her book, A Spy Came Home in exchange for my honest review.  This is the first book in her Mac Ambrose series.  Deceits of Borneo is #2 in the series and that is waiting patiently for me on my Kindle now for a read and review.

Vince Milam--His book Evil Runs was a very interesting religious themed thriller.

Libby Fischer Hellmann-- She has written several books, but she is a new author to me.  I was given her novella, The Incidental Spy as a part of her Review Crew and I am looking forward to reading all that she has written.

This year, I also was much more involved with NetGalley and First To Read(a program through Penguin).  Here are some of the books, I received from these services that are on my best list:

Don't Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche
In Search of Sam by Kristin Butcher
The Mask by Taylor Stevens -- This is #5 in her Vanessa Michael Munroe series, but this is the first one I read.
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
The Underwriting by Michelle Miller
The Sound of Glass by Karen White
Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge
The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

So here is my list.  Some of these books are included on the lists mentioned above.  But this is what I liked.  Please share with me your favorite books of 2015 and/or what you are looking forward to reading in 2016(I will have a blog post of that at the beginning of the new year).

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review--The House Girl by Tara Conklin

The House GirlThe House Girl by Tara Conklin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Carolina Sparrow is a first year lawyer working in New York City. She is great at her job and her boss, Dan has told her that she is on track to become an excellent lawyer. Josephine Bell is a slave at the Bell Plantation in southern Virginia. It is the mid-1800's and she is ready to leave the slave life for something better. When a company contacts Lina's law firm to collect reparations for the slaves, Lina is given the task of finding a plaintiff who is a direct descendant of a slave. When Luann Bell's artwork comes into question at a local art exhibit, claiming the work could have been done by her house girl, Josephine, Lina uses this opening to find the plaintiff she may need. The book takes us back and forth between Lina and Josephine. Lina, trying to find a direct descendant of Josephine Bell and Josephine, trying to escape the Bell Plantation.

I'm torn between giving this book 3-4 stars. I was thoroughly intrigued by the subject matter, but didn't find myself running to read/listen to this book. I think part of this was due to the fact that for a few weeks, reading wasn't appealing to me and everything I picked up, I didn't find interesting enough to keep reading.

One really interesting aspect to this book was the racial divide. Lina, is a white girl from New York looking for descendants for a slave who escaped in 1852, shortly after the lady of the house passed away. This discovery takes Lina on a journey through Virginia that she never anticipated. She will uncover things that will turn history on end. This book has been on my TBR list for a while. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was thoroughly surprised. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in this subject matter or for a good book, with a deep historical message. I look forward to reading more books by Tara Conklin.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review-The Murder House by James Patterson

Murder HouseMurder House by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

7 Ocean Drive also known as The Murder House, gives Detective Jenna Murphy the creeps. She used to play on the beaches right outside this house when she was little. Since she has been away from Southhampton Township for so long, she can't recall why. When two dead bodies are found in the house, Detective Murphy is on the case to find the killer. The number one suspect, Noah Walker has strong ties to the house and is known for his past crimes. The story behind the house is a good setting for any haunted house, but this house isn't exactly haunted as it is just strange for all the death in encapsulates.

The Murder House is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You get to a point where you think you know what is going to happen next, and chances are you will be wrong. You don't know who to route for to be the bad guy or the good guy. I found myself yelling at the book and gasping on a few occasions because I couldn't believe what was happening. I thought I had it all figured out from the beginning. It's been a while since I've read a James Patterson book where I was wrong about who the killer was going to be. I was really stumped on this one. I was truly immersed in the story. I have always been a big James Patterson fan and this book I will have to say will be one of my favorites. It has everything you want from a good thriller. I always will recommend a book by James Patterson, they are usually quick to read and entertaining, but this one is highly recommended.

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review--The Innocent-VMM #2 by Taylor Stevens

Innocent: A Vanessa Michael Munroe NovelInnocent: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel by Taylor Stevens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vanessa Michael Munroe is one serious chick and one you don't want to mess with. When her best friend, Logan asked her for help locating his daughter, who had been taken from her mother and brought back to the cult they had grown up in, she is eager to help. She has the skill set to get the job done. Logan, along with other member of the cult, The Chosen, help with the background information to help Munroe infiltrate the Havens. Will she be able to find the girl before she is discovered? Will the ex-Chosen members use their own agendas and compromise the mission?

This is the second Vanessa Michael Munroe book I have read and the second in the series. She is a strong woman and I would not like to cross her bad side at all. She is the type of person you want to make sure you always keep on your side. She is small, but powerful and can make the strongest man, cry like a baby. This book definitely sent me on a roller coaster ride. Set mostly in Argentina, the adventure begins from the start of the book. After Logan approaches Vanessa for this mission, she dives right into it. She doesn't questions anything, she is just there to help a friend and will stop at nothing to complete the request. Inserting herself into the cult, with the promise of a healthy monetary contribution, Munroe, finds the girl and then has to plan how to remove her without them both being hurt. Once the plan is in motion, there is no turning back.

This book will keep you on the edge of your seat. Waiting to find out if Munroe is really as good as she claims to be. I would like to read all of the books in this series, and unfortunately, I haven't been able to read them in order the way I would prefer to do, but I am enjoying them none the less. I still haven't discovered what makes her tick and decide to learn the skills that she has, but I can't wait to find it out.

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Review--The Incidental Spy by Libby Fischer Hellmann

The Incidental Spy: A NovellaThe Incidental Spy: A Novella by Libby Fischer Hellmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the mid 1930's, Lena comes to Chicago in the United States to escape what was happening to Jews in Germany at the time. Quickly she learns English and get a job at the local University in the Physics Department. This is where she meets her husband, Karl. After his tragic death, Lena has to find a way to support herself and her young son. When she meets Hans and agrees to work with him she feels she has no other choice in order to survive and protect her family.

I wasn't sure where this book was going to take me, but I'm glad I was along for the ride. What would you do if you were faced with a situation where either choice seemed like the wrong answer? If I was faced with the same predicament, I can't say that I wouldn't have chosen the same as Lena. If you say no, you could lose your family, if you say yes, you can lose a whole lot more. Lena is brave and stoic in her efforts to keep her and her son alive. She finds help in unlikely sources and is able to keep herself and her son safe in the process.

Libby Fischer Hellmann writes a great story that keeps the reader hooked from the start. I can't wait to read more by this author.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Review--Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ridgedale is a small town in New Jersey. Not much happens there. So when the body of a baby girl is found under a bridge near the University, the town is in an uproar. Molly Sanderson, usually a freelancer with the Ridgedale Reader, is given the task of reporting on this story. This is a story that really resonates with her, having lost a child herself, not too long ago. During her investigation, she meets some interesting people and learns more about this small town. The story is told from the point of view of three women from the town. Molly, the reporter, Sandy, the teenager trying to survive with an absentee parent, and Barbara, the "perfect" mother who is also the wife of the chief of police. All three of these women have a connection to this dead child, they just don't know it.

This book was very hard to put down. A thriller with three female characters you will either love or hate. Each of them has a spirit that is determined. Several times during this book, I felt my heart racing. I had to know what was going to happen next.

From the title you might deduce that the mystery is solved in the first chapter, but there are many who need to be found in this book, in more ways than one. Kimberly McCreight grabs at your heart and sold with her writing. She draws you in and keeps you engaged through the entire journey. I can't wait to read more from her in the very near future.

Also by Kimberly McCreight
  Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review-Don't Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche

Don't Fail Me NowDon't Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michelle Devereaux in a police department with her younger siblings Cass and Denny waiting with a social worker for their aunt to pick them up.  Their mother has been arrested.  Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened.  Her mother has been in jail several times and she hasn't seen her father in several years.  When Michelle finds out that her father is dying in California and may have something for her, she sets out on a journey that will hopefully end in a windfall for her and her siblings.

This was a great YA Novel.  A book about love, family and adventure.  Michelle and her siblings are black kids from Baltimore, Maryland.  Michelle knows that she and Cass have a half-sister, Leah, that is white, and that is about all the know about her.  Until she shows up with her step-brother at Michelle's job with information about their father.  With this new information and the current state of affairs, Michelle decides now is a good a time as any to drive across the country to see her father before he is no longer there.

Five kids, in an old station wagon are heading across the country without any of their parents being aware.  They have very little money and barely more than the clothes on their back, but they are determined to find Buck Devereaux and collect whatever it is he has for them.

Their adventure is not without some complications.  Will they make the journey successfully?  Will these siblings, Michelle, Cass, and Leah be able to build a relationship? Will they reunite with the father they barely know? How will this trip change their lives for the future?

One of the things that drew me to this book where the characters.  They were characters I could relate to, when I was that age and the kids are all from Maryland where I live.  Plus, who doesn't love a good road trip.  All of these factors made this an excellent book and something I would recommend to young adults from mixed racial backgrounds and diverse family dynamics.

**I received this book from the FirstToRead program through Penguin Books in exchange for an honest review.**

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Review-Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley

Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore is the story of a platinum blonde, African American porn star.  She is someone you would recognize everywhere.  When tragedy strikes, Debbie decides that she is no longer going to live this life and try for the straight and narrow.  The road to get there though is long and has quite a few bumps along the way.

This was a very explicit novel by Walter Mosley.  Every word imaginable to describe the male and female genitalia was used.  This did not bother me at all, but I wanted to let others who may be offended by that type of language.  This was a very real look into the porn industry for me.  Sure I have seen some porn in my life, not an avid watcher at all, but it's interesting to know a back story.  Debbie grew up as Sandra Peal in California.   She met Theon Pinckney, her husband, when she was just a girl, and he changed her world forever.  When Deb comes home from a most unusual movie shoot, she finds police and paramedics at her home.  Her husband had been found dead in their bathtub, with another woman, or girl is more appropriate.  This doesn't upset Debbie as you would think, she was used to this kind of behavior from her husband, especially being in the industry that they were in.  The death of her husband also, to Debbie, meant the death of her career.  She changed her whole look so that she was no longer recognizable on the streets or even to some of her "friends".  She went back to using her real name instead of the stage name of Debbie Dare.

This book was quite entertaining.  I found myself looking over my shoulder whenever the explicit words were announced to see if anyone around me was listening out.  This book gives you a different look at porn stars and the life they lead.  I recommend this book for anyone who is not easily upset by pornographic language.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review-The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

The Gates of EvangelineThe Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charlotte Cates has started having dreams about young children now that her son has passed away.  She is not sure what these dreams mean, but when they start to come to fruition, she sees that she may have a gift she may not really want.  Sent to Louisiana to write a book about the abduction of young Gabriel Deveau, she believes she knows what has happened to him from one of her dreams.  Will she be able to find out what happened to this boy?  What other dreams will she have before she gets the answers she is looking for?

I started this book and at first I couldn't get into it.  I put it down for a couple of weeks and then picked it back up.  I'm so glad that I did.  While some parts of this book were a little bit predictable, this was an overall good read.  I was invested in the story and I was desperate to know what was going to happen to Charlotte, or Charlie as she likes to be called.

After the death of her own child, she was lost and unsure about how to continue her life.  She wasn't really into her job and then came the opportunity arose for her to write about something, she thought she had first hand knowledge about.  Leaving her home in Connecticut to live at Evangeline, the estate where Gabriel went missing, she uncovers a lot about the Deveau family that she never knew was possible.

At 75% I literally felt my heart begin to race. And it was difficult to put the book down from then on.  Highly recommended.

**I received a copy of this book from FirstToRead, through Penguin Publishers in exchange for my review.**

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review--Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline

Don't GoDon't Go by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr. Matt Scanlon is on tour in Afghanistan when he receives the call that his wife, Chloe,  has died in an unfortunate household accident.  He rushes home to take care of her funeral arrangements and get care for their 7 month old daughter, Emily.  When he returns home, nothing seems the same.  And it's not only because Chloe is no longer there.  Going through her things, he makes a startling discovery that will cloud his mind for a long time.  Leaving the care of his daughter to his in-laws, Bob and Danielle, he returns to finish his tour of duty and try to make sense of all that he has learned about his wife.

This book really had me intrigued from the very beginning.  I gasped out loud several times while listening to this book.  Just when you think you know what is going to happen next, you are pulled in the completely opposite direction.  There are a lot of twists and turns throughout this book.    A man on mission trying to find out what was really going on with his wife while he was away.   He is trying to build a bond with his daughter who doesn't know him at all, and with him being away, it doesn't help.  Trying to find out who his wife had become after she had become a mother and a military wife.

This book will keep you on your toes and you will never know what is going to happen next.  You think you do, as I thought I did, but you will soon find out that you are wrong.  The surprises keep coming straight on until the end.  I think this is a book everyone should grab.  This is the first I have read by Lisa Scottoline, and she has been on my radar for a while.  I will continue to read and enjoy her books.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

One Author Challenge-Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly

Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kate Appleton is at a point in her life where things couldn't possibly be worse.  She is currently living in Keene's Harbor in Michigan in an attempt to fix up her parent's summer home into a Bed and Breakfast before the new mortgage holder takes over.

Matt Culhane is at a point in his life where things couldn't be better.  His Depot Brewery and restaurant is doing great and he has plans for more businesses in the very near future.  He does have one small problem, though.  Someone seems to be after him.

After being fired from her job Kate starts working for Matt as a "floater" and spy.  It's her job to find the saboteur in the establishment as well as help out where she is needed.  What will happen between them during this time?

I didn't dive into this book the way I thought I would when I got this book from the library.  Trying to continue my Janet Evanovich challenge this was the next book I picked up.  I started with the Stephanie Plum series, but I am waiting for Three to Get Deadly to become available.

Mostly this was a cute story that held my interest at certain parts.  About half way through, the excitement picked up and helped to carry me to the end.  I like Kate's character and she seemed like someone I would be friends with.  The same with Matt.  He is not your typical guy, he is a true gentleman that genuinely care for those around him.  He's the kind of guy every woman wants.  This was not one of my favorites, but I am not giving up on my challenge.

The next book I'm going to read for the Challenge is The Husband List which is also co-authored by Dorien Kelly.  I got this from the library at the same time as this book.  I'm going to take a small break from JE for a while though and switch to something different.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Review--A Spy Came Home by H.N. Wake

A Spy Came HomeA Spy Came Home by H.N. Wake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mac Ambrose is a CIA officer.  She has recently revealed this information to her closest friends after being in the agency for 20 years.  She shares this information in an attempt to bring down a corrupt organization and its effect on the gun laws in America.  Using the skills she has learning in the Agency, and the connections of her friends, she sets out on a mission to bring down those involved.  She only has a few short weeks to accomplish her goal.

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through this book.  The first few chapters involve a lot of legalese that did not draw me into the story.  Talking about the different gun laws and how and when they went into effect.  Finally, after that small rut, it was smooth sailing and I had to keep going.  So if you find yourself in the same scenario, I encourage you to keep going.  It definitely gets better from there.

I totally enjoyed this book. It made the wheels in my head churn with the possibility of the corruption in our government.  This book explores what goes on behind closed door of lobbyists and other who are in a position to change the laws in this country.

This book takes you on a journey through the world as we learn more about Mac as a CIA officer and her personal life.  We travel through time as well which helps to learn why she is so determined to pull off this mission no matter the consequences.   The last few pages will leave you on the edge of your seat to find out what is going to happen.  I can't wait to see what is next for Mac Ambrose.

Also by H.N.Wake: Ghosts in Macau

**I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.**

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One Author Challenge-Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum, #2)Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Stephanie Plum is at it again.  This time she is on the hunt for Kenny Manusco.  Kenny shot one of his best friends in the knee and then, he ends up dead.  Kenny missed his court appearance for the knee shooting and Stephanie is going to hunt him down.  For this case she has a little extra help, some she wants and some not so much.  Some of the same characters from One for the Money are back in this second edition.  My favorite by far though is Grandma Mazur.  She plays quite a big role is this book.

I laughed out loud several times during this book.  I'm sure people were looking at my strangely.  I really hope that Grandma Mazur is going to keep making her appearances.  She adds a great variety to Stephanie's cases.  You never know what she is going to do.

So, I'm three books down for my Janet Evanovich challenge.  My goal is to read everything she has ever written.  She has written over 50 books so I guess this should take me about a year or more to complete.

Next up is Three to Get Deadly.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Book Challenges

Do you like to participate in Book Challenges?  This year, I tried Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge.  So far, I have completed about 10 of the challenges on the list.  I'm sure a lot of the books I have read this year will fit into the other various categories, but it's hard to keep up.  You know, once you read a book, then you get suggestions or ideas of other books you want tot read, and my brain tends to wander.

One of the groups I'm in on Goodreads offered another challenge I decided to undertake.   The challenge is to read all of the books by one particular author.  This felt more like a challenge I could accomplish.  First of all, I could do it over a number of years and I will probably need to do so since the author I chose has written over 50 books.  I picked Janet Evanovich.  I had read one of her books, Back to the Bedroom a few years ago, before I really got into reviewing and blogging.

Her Stephanie Plum series has been on my TBR list for a very long time.  There are currently 22 books in the series, plus four "Between the Plums" books.  Janet Evanovich also has 3 other series, Fox & O'Hare, Lizzy & Diesel, and Barnaby & Hooker.  Not to mention many other books she has written and co-authored.  I've already finished One For The Money and started Two For The Dough yesterday.  It's so true what they say about too many book and not enough time!

Once this year is over, I will go back and see if I can add any of the other titles I've read to the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.  I had planned to dedicate a lot more time and keep up with it, but thanks to the many people who I'm in groups with and who have read my blog, I've been getting more requests to review books, which I love!!

Are there any book challenges that you are currently working on this year, or would like to accomplish in the future?  Please share them with me.  Maybe there is something we can work on together.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review--Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Eight Hundred GrapesEight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Georgia Ford had just arrived at her childhood home, dressed in her wedding dress, but it's not her wedding day.  As she was having her final fitting, she saw her fiance in a way she had never expected to see him.  So she runs home to her parents and brothers only to find that there are even more problems there.  Always being the fixer in the family, will she be able to solve all the issues she runs into by running away from her own?  Or will this be a time when fixing isn't going to work?

Synchronization is the theme of this novel.  All things happen for a reason.  Because this happened(or didn't)thatwas able to take place(or not). Georgia Ford is living as an attorney in Los Angeles when her world is turned upside down.  She runs home to her family's winery in Sebastopol during the final harvest of the year.  Final harvest is always a big deal for the Ford family and this year, even more so.

I LOVED this book!  It showed so many different family dynamics and so many emotions.  It made me laugh and cry.  This novel felt so real to me, I could see myself in this setting.  I picture myself reading this novel on the porch of the winemaker's cottage looking out over the winery, enjoying a glass of Block-14.  The imagery is that vivid.  I could definitely see this book becoming a major motion picture.

Kudos to Laura Dave for writing an incredible novel that many will love.

**I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Also by Laura Dave:
The First Husband
The Divorce Party
London Is the Best City in America

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review-Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam

Bright Lines: A NovelBright Lines: A Novel by Tanwi Nandini Islam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ella is the adopted daughter of Anwar and Hashi Saleem.  The Saleem's took her in when her parents were murdered.  They also have a daughter of their own named Chauru.  They all live together in Brooklyn, New York, where Anwar is the owner of an apothecary(Pharmacy) and Hashi has a salon in their home.  This is the only family that Ella has ever known.  Although she has never really felt as a part of them, she was never treated as an outcast and never referred to as niece or cousin.  The summer after her first year at college, Ella returns home to find things in a bit of disarray.  There is a strange girl in her bed, her cousin/sister, Chauru, is sneaking boys into her room, her uncle is distant and her aunt, is constantly busy with customers during the wedding season.  When a devastating event takes place, the family travels back to their home country of Bangladesh and they all learn important lessons about themselves and family.

This book took me through a lot of different emotions.  First the story started off slowly and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it.  There were parts that had me confused and parts that had me shocked.  Once I made it to the halfway point, it was hard to put it down.

This is a debut novel by Tanwi Nandini Islam.  I love books that take me to a place I have never been.  This book gave me a look into a world that I may not have ever discovered.  Spanning the globe to help the Saleem's to learn to love one another and others.  To learn about their history so they aren't doomed to repeat it in their future.  Learning about family and loss and how to pull together when you have to.  How to survive when you think it's impossible.  This is a novel about discovery and family and learning to find yourself through your history.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher, PENGUIN, through their First To Read program in exchange for my honest review.**

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Review-In Search of Sam by Kristin Butcher

In Search of SamIn Search of Sam by Kristin Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dani Lancaster has just found out that the father she hardly knew, Sam Swan, had passed away and left her with a few things in his will.  When she goes to collect these things from his attorney, she finds a few personal belongings that send her on a quest to find her family.  With Sam being in the foster system his whole life, finding the truth about his past may not be so easy.

This is a very touching story about finding the truth.  Most of Dani's life she didn't even know her father existed.  When they were finally united, it was for only a few weeks at which time Dani found out that Sam had cancer and not too long to live.  In her journey to find out more about her father and herself, she travels through Canada finding people who knew Sam.  When she finally discovers the truth it is a shock to her and to me as well.

This book made me cry.  It touches a place in your heart.  Even though we may know who our family is, we all have a desire to find out about our past and our ancestors.  This is the first book I have read by Kristin Butcher.  I look forward to reading more of her books starting with the prequel to this book,
  Truths I Learned from Sam by Kristin Butcher

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.**

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review--If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mia is a typical 17 year old girl.  She has a great family, plays the cello, has good friends and an incredible boyfriend.   On a very non-typical day in her home of Oregon, a dusting of snow keeps the whole family home from work and school.  Her family decides to take a drive and visit some family and friends.  Unfortunately, on this journey, tragedy strikes.  Mia's family is involved in a car accident.  As Mia's life hangs in the balance, she reflects on all that has happened in her short time on earth and what would or could happen if she decided to stay.

I thought this was going to be a tear-jerker, but it wasn't so much.  The events that took place are sad for sure, but I didn't find myself crying like I thought I would.  Imagine if everyone in your immediate family is killed in a car accident and you are the only survivor.  What do you do?  You watch your whole family laying in pools of blood and then you watch yourself being operated on and see the looks in the eyes of your friends and family as they try to make sense of it all as well.  In the book, the movie Ghost is referenced, and this book does remind me a bit of that movie.  Patrick Swayze is dead though, and Mia is just trying to figure out if she should stay with the living, or go and be with her parents and her brother.   It's a hard decision to make and I'm not sure if it is one that I could make.  For me or for any other member of my family.  How can  you make the decision to let someone live or die?  How do you make that decision yourself?  Are we really able to make that decision?

My favorite part of this book, is looking back into Mia's life.   Getting an understanding of who she is and who her family was.  I love the fact that her family was so close and most of her life treated her like a little adult instead of a child.  They were encouraging and always there for her. Her boyfriend and her best friend were the same way.  They may not have always agreed on everything, but they were always understanding and willing to give a listening ear.   I'm not sure if the series follows Mia along the rest of her journey, but I would like to know what her decision was.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Review--Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a WatchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have been excited to read this book as soon as I heard about it.  As soon as I could, I reserved my copy at the library.  Many have questioned whether this is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, or the first draft of the book, or something entirely separate.  All I can say is that I enjoyed this book and now will go back to read
  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Jean Louise Finch is 26 and currently living in New York City.  She returns home to Maycomb Alabama to visit her beau, Henry Clinton, and her father Atticus Finch.  In this visit Jean Louise "Scout" learns more about her family and the town she grew up in and especially about herself.  Scout still has her same tomboy mannerisms we all love, doing whatever she wants to do and not caring what others think.

Jean Louise is one who just sees people and not so much color.  Living in the South during this time, it's hard to make that distinction.  She thought her father was the same.  I see him as a man who vows to always do the right things no matter who the person.  Atticus and Scout get the opportunity to get to know each other as adults with their own opinions and ideas, they discover they are alike in many way and in way very different.

It's interesting to see the dynamic between a parent and a child after they are both adults.  And the child is able to think on their own and not they way their parents choose for them.  My only problem with finishing this book, is now, I want to know more.  Will Jean Louise marry Henry Clinton?  I would like to know what kind of impact she is going to have on Maycomb, AL.  And will she end up moving back there?

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Review--The Mask by Taylor Stevens

The Mask: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel (Vanessa Michael Munroe, #5)The Mask: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel by Taylor Stevens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I decided to read and review this book, I was not aware that it was part of a series.  Number five in the series to be exact.  I'm a big fan of thrillers especially when there is a character like Vanessa Michael Munroe.  I can't wait to go back and read the rest of the series.

Vanessa Michael Munroe is very good at what she does.  Just off a recent job, she decides to spend some time with a very special person in her life, Miles Bradford. They were in the same line of work, but their personal relationship was something different.  On assignment in Japan, Bradford's on the hunt for a thief at ALTEQ. Munroe asks several times to join Miles at work and help with the assignment.  More times than not, he refuses.  When Miles is framed for murdering a Chinese woman at the company, Vanessa, the girlfriend takes a backseat and Michael the mercenary takes over.  Not just to finish the job Bradford started, but also find the real killer.  Not sure who she can trust, Munroe, disguised as a man takes on this arduous task.  Will she be able to find the killer before she herself is killed?

I'm really upset that I haven't read this series chronologically.  I feel like there are parts of Vanessa Michael Munroe that I am missing.  I want to know more about her relationship with Bradford.  Munroe is the kind of woman we all wish we could be.  Able to evoke fear with just a glance, can read people like a book.  She is strong, intuitive, resourceful, and smart.  I'm not sure if it was love or devotion to the job/craft that made her go to the length she did to save Miles.

This book takes you on a journey where you are unsure of what is going to happen next.  In a foreign country where you're not sure who is in charge and who you can trust, it's difficult to get help.  The way Munroe handles herself shows the skill in her profession.

**I received a galley copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest review.**

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review--The Blue Zone by Andrew Gross

The Blue ZoneThe Blue Zone by Andrew Gross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the outside, the Rabb family looks like the perfect family.  They live in an amazing house, drive nice cars, their oldest daughter is a research assistant at the local University, their son get great grades, and the youngest is a ranked squash player.  Benjamin Rabb is a gold dealer, and for the past twenty years has been doing very well for his family.  When Benjamin Rabb is investigated by the FBI for money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy with known drug dealers, his family is placed in the Witness Protection Program.  All, except Kate, who is old enough to do her own thing.  When Kate makes some interesting discoveries and strange things start to happen, she may find that her perfect family may not be just so.

This is the first solo authored book I have read by Andrew Gross.  I am pleased to say that this book had me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning to the very end.  So many different surprises and twists in this book.  The book centers around Kate Rabb and her life after her father has testified in court against the Mercado Family and her family has been in Witness Protection for more than a year.  The thing I really like about this book is that I never knew what was going to happen next or who I could trust.  Every time you turn around, another something falls in your face that makes you yell expletives at the book.  Not knowing who to believe and where to turn for help, makes a person feel lost.  Kate's determination to find the truth and get her family back together, has her in the fight of her life, in more ways than one.

I listened to the audio of this book and it was read by Ilyana Kadushin.  She gave an excellent performance and made me feel as if I was a part of the action.  I could see the action as it played out.  I can't wait to read other solo authored books by Andrew Gross.  Another great author to add to my every growing list of favorites.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review-Unbound--Colors of Love by Kathryn Taylor

Unbound - Colours of LoveUnbound - Colours of Love by Kathryn Taylor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Grace Lawson is about to start the greatest internship.  She gets to spend three months in London, interning at Huntington Ventures.  Jonathan Huntington, the company's CEO is a gorgeous guy who is almost always wearing black.  Catching the red-eye to London from Chicago, and having to rush off the plane to make it to her new job on time, Grace runs(literally)into Jonathan Huntington at the airport.  Making the mistake of thinking he was there to pick her up, she gets a ride with him in his limo(along with some colleagues he was actually waiting for) to the office.  Feeling embarrassed the whole time.

Once at Huntington Ventures, Jonathan extends her internship from working in the investment department to working side by side with him.  Grace or no one else in the company was expecting this turn of events.  Jonathan has never had an intern working with him before.  Will Grace be able to work this closely with Jonathan without falling in love with him? Everyone has warned her about this man, including Jonathan himself.  This is going to be an interesting and exciting three months.

Unbound is the first in the Colors of Love series by Kathryn Taylor.  I'm not sure how many books total are in the series.  Book two Uncovered, is set to be released in the United States on August 17, 2015.

This book starts off a lot like 50 Shades of Grey.  The virgin meets this wealthy, handsome man and is enticed by his power and the fact that he is unattainable.  Jonathan's sexual desires aren't sadistic the way Christian Grey's are, I would say he's just a bit kinky.  Then there's a little "Eyes Wide Shut"(Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman sex club movie) thrown in.  I enjoyed this book.  The erotic scenes are believable.  I think a few words may have been lost in translation, though, as I believe this book was first written in German.  For instance, the word clit is never used, but "sensitive place" is used quite a bit and, in my opinion, in those instances, clit would have been an appropriate word to use.

I'm not a big fan of Jonathan Harrington, he seems to be abrasive to everyone.  Grace seems a little naive for a woman embarking on her own to London for three months. Maybe these two are meant to be or maybe we have another erotic romance series on our hands that we will grow to love to hate like 50 Shades and the Crossfire series.  Either way, come on August for Colors of Love #2 - Uncovered.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Review--Eyes on You by Kate White

Robin has just started a new job and is about to release her first book.  RIght now, is seems as if life couldn't get any better for her.  When a series of strange events begins to happen, Robin has to figure out exactly who is trying to sabotage her career.  There are a few people it could be and right now Robin isn't sure who she can trust.

This book held my attention from start to finish.  It was hard to put down.  The book had a little bit of everything in it.  A little thriller, a little romance, some conspiracy and murder.  All throughout the book, you think you know who is going to be the one doing all of the dirty work.  There seems to be so many suspects.  Is it the handsome co-host?  The ambitious intern who is desperately trying her best?  The veteran at the station who will stop at nothing to stay on top and relevant?  The associate producer whose story ideas always seem to fall a little short.

I could not put this book down.  I had to know what was going to happen.  I stayed on the edge of my seat.  There was even one part where I shouted, "Holy Shit!" out loud.  Luckily, I wasn't any place public when that happened.

This was a great book.  One of the best that I have read this year.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

I read this book as a part of Overdrive's Big Library Read.

Other books by Kate White:

The Wrong Man
The Sixes
So Pretty It Hurts
Lethally Blonde
Over Her Dead Body
'Til Death Do Us Part
A Body to Die For
If Looks Could Kill

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review--Local Girls by Caroline Zancan

Three friends walk into their favorite dive bar, The Shamrock, and are shocked to see their favorite actor, Sam Decker there.  When he joins their table and starts buying drinks, the conversation turns to each others pasts and how their lives got to be  at the point they are.  This night will change everyone's lives forever.

From the beginning of the book, we know that someone is going to die.  And now I am just trying to figure out the when and how.  The book flips between present day and the past when the group of three girls used to be a foursome.

Something about this book that I liked is that you get to see how the girl get to this point in their life.  I liked the flashbacks and it transported me back to my high school days.  I could see me and my friends in this same situation although my friends and I were not quite as wild as these girls.

One part that really struck me was a reference to Virginia Woolf and her suicide note.  In the note she says, "I don't think any two people could have been happier than we have been."  The character reading this mentions that this phrase is said twice in her short suicide note.  I find it ironic that the author mentions a phrase twice in this book, "Only boring people get bored."  I think deep down these girls were bored, but used the antics they pulled help to add some excitement to their lives.  Another interesting thing about this book, is that we are never really introduced to the narrator.  I can only recall her name being mentioned twice in the book.

**I received an uncorrected proof of this book through Goodreads Giveaways and this review is based on that copy.**

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review--Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

Eeny MeenyEeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People are being kidnapped from off the street in couples and forced to make a horrible decision.  Killed or be killed!  Who is the killer and what is her motive?  Yes, her.  The killer in this book is a female.  And it's up to Detective Inspector Helen Grace and her team to figure this all out before any more people end up dead.  After abducting the victims, the killer drugs them and keeps them in a dungeon of her own making.  There in the middle of the floor, the victims find a phone and a gun.  The phone has just enough battery life to receive a message.  "On the floor by the phone you'll find a gun.  It has one bullet in it...That is the price of your freedom.  You must kill to live."  I don't know if how I could make the decision.  The only other option is for both people to die from starvation.

M.J. Arlidge gives a gripping tale that leaves you wanting more.  It was very hard for me to put the book down, but I had to while on vacation because it was impossible to keep sand out of my Kindle.  It had me on the edge of my seat and I had to find out who the killer was and why she was doing this to these poor innocent people.  When DI Grace finds out the common denominator with each victim is her, the pressure to find the killer intensified with her as well as with me.

This was a great book with a fast pace that will keep you interested until the end.  WIth little twists and unexpected circumstances you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review--If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

If I Fall, If I DieIf I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Will Cardiel and his mother live together in Thunder Bay.   To Will's knowledge, he has never been outside of his house.  He has never been to school, never had a friend, and has never been to a family members for the holiday.  His mother has taught him everything; how to create masterpieces on canvas, how to write a check and how to answer the door for all the different delivery people who visit their house.

When Will hears a loud bag Outside, he is determined to find out what it is and why his mother insists he stays Inside.  Will's Mom, Diane, is agoraphobic and the idea of Will or herself going Outside sends her to a place, Will calls the Black Lagoon.  When Will finally makes it Outside, he's not sure what the big deal is.  He find himself on the Outside more and his mom gets sucked deeper into the Black Lagoon.  

Michael Christie writes an interesting quirky novel that keeps the reader guessing about where they are.  While the location of most of the book takes place in the town of Thunder Bay in Canada, but the Cardiel's have named each room in their house after a major city.  The Basement is Toronto, the Kitchen is Paris, Will's Room is New York, Diane's Room is San Francisco, the Living Room is Cairo and the Bathroom is Venice.  Inside and Outside are capitalized throughout the book as if they also are their own little towns.

I have never met anyone who has agoraphobia before.  Diane reminded me of Joan Cusak's character on the show Shameless.  When she was first introduced into the show, she could not leave her house.

While Will is Outside, Diane tries all she can to relax.  Will these two be able to both live their lives in a reasonable manner?  Is there any way for Will to enjoy the Outside without sending his mother so far into the Black Lagoon, she may never return.  This is a beautifully written book, but it gave me many mixed emotions throughout.

**I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.**

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Review--Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

Captivated by You (Crossfire, #4)Captivated by You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story of Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell continues in #4 of the Crossfire series, Captivated By You.  In this edition, we find that Eva and Gideon have married, but keeping it a secret from most of the people in their lives.  They both still have a lot of issues going on in their lives and they continue to fight over the same issue.  Gideon desperately wants to protect Eva, no matter what and Eva wants to be able to be her own person as well as being the most important in Gideon's life.   Will they both be able to make the compromises and sacrifices necessary to make their relationship work.

This book was a quick read (2 days).  Sylvia Day always provides an interesting story to keep the reader from putting the book down.  The scenes in this book are enough to get you hot and bothered.  I'm not sure if there are going to be anymore Crossfire books, but I do want to know what is going to happen with Eva and Gideon.  Will they be able to make their relationship work and have the future they both want to have with each other.  Or will they continue to get in their own way and ruin what they want more than anything; each other.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Review--The Shell by Jenni Boyd

The ShellThe Shell by Jenni Boyd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nicole Fysh is a conchologist, she studies shells.  When her friends send her pictures of themselves diving, she sees something in the pictures that could make history.  But if this shell is really what she believes it is, she can't possibly be the only one looking for it.  She hops the next flight to join her friends, and find out if this shell is exactly what she thinks.

The Shell is full of twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat.  I never knew that shells were such a hot commodity.  This book definitely will have me taking a closer look at the shells I come across on my vacation this summer.

In Nicole's search for the shell, she comes across quite a few people who are also on the hunt.  They will stop at nothing to get their hands on the rare treasure.  From murder, smuggling, and purgery, nearly anything.  Nicole goes on quite a journey herself, suffering along the way.

Jenni Boyd give another enjoyable mystery.  This so far has been my favorite.  There are twists you don't see coming and surprises around every corner.  You don't know who you can trust and if the truth will ever come out.  I recommend this for all looking for a great thriller this summer.

**I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.**

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Review-The Crossing at Blaisdell Park by Marta Tandori

The Crossing at Blaisdell Park (A Kate Stanton Hollywood Mystery #4)The Crossing at Blaisdell Park by Marta Tandori
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars
Finn Butler is an amazing director in Los Angeles.  His wife Diane is a well accomplished actress in soap operas.  After the success of The Crossing at Blaisdell Park, he is now in the process of shooting the sequel.  Finn and Diane are also in the process of selling their house, when a dead woman is found by the realtors right before the broker's open.  More and more people are turning up dead all over the city and the common denominator in each case is Diane Butler. How is she connected to each of these murders?  Will the police be able to find the killer before someone else turns up dead?

I had a lot of mixed emotions about this book.  While the story was very interesting and I wanted to know what was going to happen at the end, I didn't find myself running to pick up the book and read it.  The beginning of the book started out slowly.  After the half way point it picked up a lot more and the end was much better than the beginning.  There are a lot of twists and turns throughout this book, that will have you saying WHAAT?  But overall the book was just OK for me.  I would be interested to read more from this author.

**I was given this book for free from the author in exchange for my honest review.**

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Review-Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

SummerlandSummerland by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four teenagers, from the small island of Nantucket are involved in a tragic accident the night of high school graduation.  All four were juniors at the high school and 3 of the four had very promising lives ahead of them.  Penny Alistair was killed in this accident.  Penny had a beautiful singing voice that everyone admired. Her twin brother Hobson(Hobby), who was the star of every sports team,  was so badly injured, he was in a coma and had broken 16 bones on his left side.  Jake Randolph, who was Penny's boyfriend was not injured in the crash, but his jeep which Penny was driving was totaled.  And finally, Demeter Castle, Penny's friend who wasn't as popular as the others was also unarmed during the crash.  The kids had all been enjoying graduation festivities when they made their way to the beach for the final party.  Demeter took Penny to the dunes, to use the bathroom.  When they returned, Penny was in such a rage, there was nothing no one could to to stop her.

This was my first book by Elin Hilderbrand.  I have many of her books on my TBR list and this was available so I snatched it up.  I listened to the audio book rather than reading this title.  The book is told from several different perspectives throughout.  The voice of the island of Nantucket, Jake Randolph, Zoey Alistair(Penny & Hobson's mother), Demeter, Jordan Randolph(Jake's father), Hobby, Lynn Castle(Demeter's Mother), Ava Randolph(Jake's mother).  Each one of them have a connection to each other and a connection to the accident.  Telling the story from these different perspectives,  you get a look how the accident as well as other events in their lives have shaped them and brought them to this particular point.  The story is told throughout the summer after the accident.

One of my favorite lines from the book was "Penelope has a heart made from the finest bone china."  When I heard that line, and they say it at least twice in the book, it made my heart hurt for Penny.  She was a very sensitive person.  She took other's pain as her own.   It was Demeter who had said something to Penny that made her upset, but what was it.  Hobby and Jake spend most of the summer trying to figure it out.  It could have been anything, but what could have made her so mad she would have wanted to kill herself.

One thing that I wish was included in this book was Penny's perspective.  I know she was dead, but I would have like to hear a little from her in this book.  We hear about different things that were going on with her from everyone else's point of view, but I would have liked to hear her "voice" in this book.

This was  a good book with diverse characters.  You can see the struggles and concerns of teenagers in this book and it made me think about my own children and my childhood.  All the things I kept from my parents and I wonder if they ever knew.  I hope that other mother's will read this book and will want to keep an open dialogue with their children about the trials and tribulations they are going through.  We have all been teenagers at some point and we can probably help our own children if we can talk to them about how our lives were at that time.  I know when I was a teen, I was sure my mother would never understand me, but she had been in my position once in life as well.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Review--The Talk Show by Joe Wenke

The Talk Show a NovelThe Talk Show a Novel by Joe Wenke
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

After reading this book for a week and only making it to 25% of the way through, I have decided to give it a rest for now.  Reasons I could not finish this book:

1. The Language--While I am not offended by foul language, dropping the 'F' bomb 10+ times in the first 2% of the book is a bit extreme.  I did a search for the word on the Kindle and found out it appears over 100 times throughout.

2. The story is moving way too slowly for me.  At 12% there is a shooting and at this point I still don't know what happened to the victims. But, we've met a few strippers and a transgender priest who also babysits, and a crazy copy named Germany(at least I think he's a cop, I was quite confused when he entered the story).

3. Finally, it's not holding my interest.  Every time I start reading, I start to fall asleep.

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was excited about it, but it fell short of my expectations.

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.**

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review--I've Got You're Number by Sophie Kinsella

I've Got Your NumberI've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Poppy Wyatt  has just gotten engaged to Magnus Tavish.  He gives her a gorgeous emerald ring that he had to get from the family lockbox.  Then the unthinkable happens all in one horrendous day.  First, she loses the ring after her friends are passing it around at an afternoon tea and then while she is on the phone trying to locate the ring, she is mugged and the phone is snatched right out of her hand.  She finds another phone discarded in the bin(trash), what luck! Only problem is the owner wants it back before she finds her ring.

This is a cute and quirky story set in England. Poppy is marrying Magnus after being his physiotherapist.  Theirs is a quick romance.  Poppy's girlfriends are jealous and her future in-laws are very unsure about this relationship.  When Poppy meets Sam, the owner of the phone, she can't help but insert herself into his life.  They have the misfortune to share a phone since Sam is without a Personal Assistant(she's the one who tossed the phone) and Poppy has given this number to anyone in connection with finding her ring.

I listened to this book on my way to and from work this past week.  It was read in an English accent and I found myself wanting to do the same.  What I  liked about this book was the sense of adventure tied into the romance.  Trying to resolve a few crises in the midst of planning a wedding and trying to live life.  They say,  you can't help who or when you will fall in love.  Poppy never meant to fall in love with Magnus while he was her patient.  She never meant to lose his family's priceless heirloom.  She didn't mean to have her phone 'nicked' and she certainly didn't mean to find a phone in the bin and be forever connected to Sam Rockston.

This is a cute, quick adventurous love story.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Love of Reading = A Love of Learning

Reading the Kindle while listening to a book(staged)

Last week was Children's Book Week.  With that in mind, I have been thinking about how much my kids enjoy reading.  My daughter who is 7 and in the 1st grade is currently reading on a 3rd grade ready to enter 4th grade level. Her favorite series right now is The Magic Tree House. My son who is 5 and is on the Autism Spectrum is also reading above his level.  I have one other child(4), who I am hoping will follow suit...if not, she will be my artist as her coloring is amazing

During Book Week, my oldest came home and told me something that stuck with me and inspired this blog post.  Her teacher had told her that people who read are the smartest people.  Of course that is true.  The more you read the more you learn.  You don't have to read just educational materials to learn.  There is some much to gain from almost every book you read.  Even Fifty Shades of Grey taught us to not be afraid to express who we are, right?  

I'm very thankful that we live in the area that we do.  Our school system is one of the best in the country and definitely one of the best in the state.  I love my daughter's teacher and wish she could follow her through her school career, she has a Master's in Education with a focus on wonderful.

I'm also thankful that my kids aren't too big into technology.  I know the above picture doesn't reflect that, but we staged that picture to show kids today.  They love to go to the library.  My daughter has started on a reading challenge for this summer.  Yes, I know it's a little early, but how can I stop her.  She is going to read all the books that are in her reading level from the Scholastic Parent & Child 100 Greatest Books for Kids.  We have already started on Charlotte's Web.  I can't wait to see how many she  will read and hope by the time she has entered high school, she has finished the entire list, or maybe before she leaves elementary school.

If you have children or children in your life please encourage them to read.  One thing no one can ever take from you is your education and as long as you can read, your learning has no limit.  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Review--The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rachel Watson rides the train every day to a job she was fired from months ago.  She spend the day in the city until it is time to go home again.  As she passes the town of Witney, she always looks at two houses on Blenheim Road.  Number 15 and number 23.  Rachel used to live at 23 Blenheim Road with her husband Tom.  But that was 2 years ago.  Now she lives in a flat with her friend Cathy in Ashbury.  Number 15 is occupied by Scott and Megan Hipwell who Rachel likes to refer to as Jess and John.  Rachel enjoys watching Megan and Scott and their happy life together, so much unlike her own.  Until one day, she sees something she knows she shouldn't have and then the next day Megan is reported missing.  Could the information she have be the key to the investigation?  Will the investigators believe her, or will they think she is just a lonely, drunkard who will try anything to get closer to her ex and his new wife.

I have been waiting to read this book for a very long time.  It has been on my hold list at the library for about 4 months.  I couldn't put it down.  It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had to know what was going to happen next.  There were a lot of shocking things about this book that makes you want to know who the culprit was.  Who has Megan and what have they done with her?  There were times where I was a bit confused about the different dates.  The book goes from present to past from chapter to chapter and from person to person.  I found myself flipping back to see where I was in the story to keep myself straight.

Overall, this is a good book.  One that I will recommend over and over.  It's a great thriller that you will not want to put down.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Review--Tempting Fate by Jane Green

Gabby is 43, married with two children and she is in "the afternoon of her life." She isn't particularly pretty or dowdy nor does she stand out in a crowd. She is just your average mom of two. According to Gabby she is middle-aged.
On a girls night out, she meets Matt, a social media mogul who is 10 years younger than her. Matt makes her feel like she hasn't felt in a very long time...far from middle-aged. But Gabby has been happily married to Elliott for years, and even though this young man is flattering and gorgeous, she would never do anything to ruin her family. But then Gabby and Matt begin to email and text and soon neither of their lives will be the same.
As women, when we age, we tend to lose our identities. We are used to being single and carefree and then we get married and have to learn to be a wife and share our lives with another person. Then the kids come along and it feels as if we are no longer ourselves. We're someone's wife and maybe a few peoples mother, seldom are we called by our own name. So when we get noticed, our minds start to turn, especially when we as women get noticed by the opposite sex. How we handle these types of situations can be a testament to our strength and character.
At times this book was predictable, which I don't think is a bad thing in this case. It's a story that you have probably heard in your real life. How the characters developed and the story progresses is what makes you want to continue to read. Jane Green always does a great job of writing about female relationships and emotions. This is the second Jane Green book I have read this year, the first being Jemima J. I have read a few others as well. Jane Green is now on my list of favorite authors.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Review--The Underwriting by Michelle Miller

The UnderwritingThe Underwriting by Michelle Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hook is the hottest new dating app.  It's location based and as long as two users match each other they can "hook" up in a matter of minutes.
Jost Hart, Hook's creator, believes it's time to follow in the steps of Facebook and other apps and take his public.  He enlist Todd Kent with L.Cecil to help with the IPO.  Todd barely knows Josh, having just met him briefly at a strip club months before, but is grateful for the opportunity seeing the potential in the app since he is one of it's users.

Kelly Jacobsen is also a Hook user, one of about 500 million.  She has just accepted a position at L.Cecil after interning there over the summer.  Now, back at Stanford, she reaches out to Tara Taylor, her mentor during the internship, letting her know of the decision.  Tara is very excited for Kelly, this along with being named as part of the IPO team for Hook is really making her week.  But after making this decision and spending a night out with friends, the next day, Kelly is found dead, with a drug overdose as the explanation.  Her friends and family are baffled by this as this is something she would never do.

The death of a young co-ed and the introduction of a new company going public.  Could these events be related in any way?  Could Hook somehow be involved with Kelly's untimely demise?  As the buzz for the IPO grows so does the speculation of the security of the app and it's users.

With so many changes happening so quickly, what will be the outcome?  This book is filled with sex, lies, and billions of dollars, never a great combination when dealing with murder!

When first reading this book I was shocked at the number of different characters introduced so quickly.  The book was fast paced from the start.  ou meet the team of L.Cecil bankers in charge of the underwriting.  From the guy at the top, to the little-a analyst who is crunching all of the numbers.  You meet the guys in Silicon Valley from the creator of the app, to the engineers, that help to keep it running.

Everyone has their own agenda in this deal.  To be bigger, better, and more powerful than before.  And with billions of dollars on the table, the deal would do just that.  This was an intriguing book, that thoroughly kept my attention.  After reading one night I had very vivid dream about the book.  I was sitting at the table with everyone, trying to make the deal work.  It was a bit crazy for me.  There are parts of this book that leave you with your mouth hanging open as you can't believe what you just read.
**I received an uncorrected advanced proof of this book from FirstToRead in exchange for my honest review.**

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Review--Epubor E-Book Converter

I love it when I get a new book.  Whether it is a physical copy or an electronic version.  I, personally, am a Kindle user.  I was gifted one about five years ago and I have been attached ever since.  Unfortunately, not everyone shares my infatuation with the Kindle, and so there are multiple versions of e-books out there, not always compatible with my reading device.

Sometimes, I'm given a book that is not easily accessible through my Kindle.  In that case, I have to sit at my home computer and read or use my phone where I can access a reader other than Kindle(although that is on my phone as well), but reading on my phone and computer are not ideal for me, at least not when I want to dive into a book for a good hour or more.  So what's a girl to do?

Luckily, there is a company out there called Epubor.  They offer an incredible converter that allows you to convert any version of an e-book you may receive to the format that best suits your reading needs. does it work?  Visit the Epubor site.  Click on the e-book converter and download the version you need.  They have it available for Windows or Mac. They even offer a free trial version.  But get it now, because currently they have a huge discount if you buy it (was $59.99, now $24.99).

I have tried a few other converters and DRM removers.  There are so many steps you have to take to get the book to the format you want.  One I tried, I had to save the book in different formats first before it converted it--what a pain.  Epubor is so easy, books are converted in just a few steps.

  1. Upload the current version of the book you have to your Epubor converter.
  2. Select the version you want.
  3. Send the converted version to your device
It's that simple!  Try Epubor today!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review--The Sound of Glass by Karen White

The Sound of GlassThe Sound of Glass by Karen   White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Merritt Heyward has just inherited the home of her deceased husband's grandmother.  A grandmother she never knew existed.  Now she is packing her whole life and moving from her home in Maine to Beaufort, South Carolina.  What secrets will she uncover about her husband and about herself?
Edith Heyward's whole world is turned upside down in July 1955 when on the same night, a plane explodes over small town Beaufort and her husband is killed in a car crash from watching the explosion.  How will these events change her life.
These women have a very strong connection to one another.  One that involves more than just Cal Heyward(Merritt's Husband).  They both share a secret that they don't want the world to know.

I so enjoyed this book.  This is the second book by Karen White I have read.  The first being The Beach Trees.  In this book, you were on the edge of your seat to see the way secrets were going to unfold.  When I first started reading this book, I thought what a bitch Merritt was.  But as the story unfolds you get to see what a sheltered person she is who has had to hide her emotions for so long, she's not sure how to act.
At the same time Merritt is moving to South Carolina, her step-mother and half brother are moving there as well from Georgia.  Merritt has never met her brother,Owen and does not have a relationship with her step-mother, Loralee.  But when they show up at her front door in a town where she is new to as well, walls start to come down and friendship and love is born.
Trying to find her way in a new town, find out who her husband was and why he kept so many secrets, and get to know family members she had no desire to know in the first place; Merritt is destined to learn more about the South, conquer her fears and become the woman she has always wanted to be.

This is an amazing novel with strong characters.  You will find yourself, looking for a journal to write down all of the inspirational quotes and sayings.  I highly recommend this book to all of my female friends.

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**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.**