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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