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Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kate Moore writes a compelling and heart wrenching story about a group of women from New Jersey and Illinois whose job it was to use radium paint to paint watch dials so they would illuminate at night. Little did they know, that every time they would put their brush in their mouth to get the point just right to paint the dial precisely, they were killing themselves. They were told that the paint was perfectly safe and there was no way that the paint could be causing all of their medical problems. But the companies knew that the radium was dangerous. Scientists and others in the radium plant used gloves and had lead aprons on, but the dial painters were not given that luxury.

Slowly the effects of the paint began to show on their bodies. Women who were in the prime of their life were losing their teeth, their jaw bones were falling out, it was difficult for them to walk, and no one could explain it. They went to several doctors and no one could find the reason they were getting sick. The radium companies refused to admit that they were at fault. For years and years, they fought for justice. Justice for women who were dying in their 20s. This book made your heart ache for these women.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was quite a slow read for me. I wanted to know if justice was going to be served, but it took a while to get to that point. This is quite an interesting story and this was the first that I had ever heard of it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Boyfriend Blog Hop!!! GIVEAWAY!!!

Book Boyfriend Blog Hop

Hop on over to each author's page linked below and collect the boyfriend 2017 name at each stop.  Once you have all of your names, submit them to traciebanister@gmail.com so that you can be entered into the Grand Prize Giveaway!!

The Grand Prize includes a Kindle Paperwhite plus 30 e-books, one from each of the authors below.  

Entries are accepted until midnight on Sunday, May 21st and the winner will be chosen on May, 22nd.  


 






Monday, May 1, 2017

Review: Hit the Ground Running by Mark Burley

Hit the Ground Running by Mark Burley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eric Bakker has just received a cryptic message from his brother, Michael, about the disappearance of their parents. Now Michael is also missing, but who can Eric trust to help him with all of this. Michael says to trust no one. Eric is away at boarding school and hasn't made too many friends. What is he going to do to find his family?

Thank you to NetGalley and Blue Moon Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Hit the Ground Running had me hooked from the start. I read almost 1/2 the book on the first day. This is a faced paced novel that leaves you wanting more. Imagine your parents dumping you in a boarding school in Canada for no good reason and uprooting you from the home you've always known. Eric isn't sure why his family made the move to Canada or why he has to go to this school. He tries to stick to himself as much as possible. But when he needs help to find his family, who can he trust to help him. While contemplating his situation, he runs into Tess another student from the school, and she thinks she may have a way to help him. Can he trust her? Will he be able to find his brother and his parents before it's too late?  Traveling between Canada, California, and Montana, Eric does everything he can to locate his family.  With the help of a colleague of his parents and a couple of kids from school, they travel by plane, boat, motorcycle and RV in order to accomplish the task at hand.

This is the first book in a trilogy. The end leaves you hanging so you will want to read the next book. I can't wait for it to be released.

About the Author:
Mark is originally from Truro, Nova Scotia. His parents were teachers, which means he could have grown up around books, and he did, but mostly he marked biology tests for his dad and dissected whatever they had for dinner (true story). He attended Dalhousie University in Halifax to complete his science degrees and continued to cultivate the writer seed that was planted when he was a kid. Mark has always been involved in high-level sport, as an athlete through university and as a coach afterward, and maintains that sport has given him the chance to succeed in art, something he’s sure he couldn’t have done otherwise. As a result, though, he eats the same breakfast every morning and he always puts his left shoe on first—bad things will happen if he doesn’t. Mark and his wife live outside Halifax with their two children. Books are big in their house; Mark’s favourite thing is Bedtime with Ry (come on, Mom, who can sleep during the Quidditch World Cup?). As a reader, he's always been slow, preferring to savour, which drives his wife nuts —she’s a devourer. He is often drawn to books that are beyond his ability to comprehend, which is only frustrating when the words aren’t beautiful. He also has an unnatural attraction to chai lattes. It’s a problem. He’s okay with it.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak

Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cora has just moved to the town of Silver Springs California, hoping to start a new life with a new job teaching art. She's teaching a a school for troubled boys called, New Horizons and Cora is really drawn to its founder Aiyana. Besides the teaching job, Cora has other reasons to be in Silver Springs. Will she be able to find the answers she is looking for, or will the decisions she makes along the way hinder her ability to discover the truth about herself?

While I have many Brenda Novak books on my Kindle, this is the first of her titles that I have actually read. I was drawn to this book initially because of its setting of Silver Springs, the town I live in is called Silver Spring. I was even more drawn to the book by the characters because I have members of my immediate family with similar names to the characters in the book.

Cora Kelly was adopted 28 years ago. Since that time she has been on a quest to find her mother and find out why. She loves her adoptive parents wholeheartedly, but still has a desire to know where she comes from. Her birth mother was at a reasonable age to keep a child, 21, so what were the circumstances that made her decide that adoption was the best idea, especially since in her investigation she finds out that her birth mother has adopted several children over the years.

This was a very compelling story. It drew me in immediately and I couldn't put it down. I read it in just a few hours over a couple of days. I can't imagine what it would be like to not know your birth parents. And then searching your whole life to find them, with a closed adoption. In Cora's quest to find all this information, she falls in love and faces conflict with her adoptive parents. It's a great story for everyone who likes a little romance in their lives.

If you enjoy Ms. Novak's books, consider joining her book club on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/brend...

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review: Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile


Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charley Bordelon has just inherited 800 acres of a sugar cane farm from her father. So she uproots herself and her daughter from their life in California to Saint Josephine, Louisiana. She moves in with her grandmother, Miss Honey and tries her best to raise a successful cane farm. With other family members stepping in her way, this can prove to be difficult at times. Charley is doing the best she can, but will it be enough to keep the farm or will she be forced to sell it and head back to California.

I watched the series for this book on OWN and I loved it. If I would have known about the book, I definitely would have read that first. They always say, the book is better than the movie, but in this case, I will say that the book was not as good as the series. The characterization is a little different and the TV series definitely added a lot more drama to the situation. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book and look forward to other books by Natalie Baszile.

Charley Bordelon has a lot on her plate. She has an adolescent daughter who hates the idea of leaving her home in California to live in a remote area of Louisiana. She has a sugar cane farm she has just inherited and she knows nothing about sugar cane. Her older brother Ralph Angel feels as though he is entitled to something, but he feels that way about everything in his life. Dealing with hurricanes, quitting farm hands, no money, and flooding back lots, there is a lot to learn and most people in the area, don't think she can do it.

The book takes you on a journey through Charley's first season of Cane Farming and all the trials and tribulations she endures during this time. I enjoyed the book and I look forward to the new season of the show coming this summer!

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Review: Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones

Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Amy Bensen is on a plane to Denver to start a new life when she meets Liam Stone. From the moment she first lays eyes on him, there is something about him that she is instantly drawn to. Knowing she is on the run, will she be able to trust Liam in order to share a life with him, or will she always be on the run from a past she is uncertain about.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Amy Bensen has only been Amy Bensen for a few hours. She received a notice from her handler that it was time to move on, since he had found her. Now she is on the way to a new city to start a new life and she has no idea how that is going to work. Having to look over her shoulder all of the time and always be on alert for someone lurking around a corner is no way to live. But this is the only way she has to survive now. Meeting Liam on the plane to Denver has her thinking about this man in a way she has never thought about anyone. Can he be someone she will be able to trust or is he a part of the people who are after her.

Amy is hiding a lot about her past. Some things she remembers and other details are foggy in her brain. Sexy billionaire Liam Stone, makes somethings disappear from Amy's mind, but only briefly. Their instant connection scares her.

This book reminded me a little of Fifty Shades of Grey. With the intensity of Liam Stone and his controlling personality, and of course the sex. Overall the book was interesting and I'm curious to see how it will all end for Liam and Amy. If she will find out what happened in her past and if she can start to live normal life again. Will she be able to do that with Liam, or will he be the person who keeps her from finding the truth?

The other books from the series are Infinite Possibilities, Forsaken, and Unbroken.



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Monday, April 3, 2017

Review: Far From True by Linwood Barclay

Far From True by Linwood Barclay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Promise Falls is still under attack. Detective Barry Duckworth has his hands full with the number of incidents that are taking place in this small town. From the bombing of the drive-in movie screen to a burning bus rolling down the middle of town, there are too many things going on and no suspects to charge.

As they say, the sequel is never as good as the original, but it's close. A lot of the same characters return for Book Two of the Promise Falls Trilogy. In this edition, the main focus is the death of four Promise Falls residents after the drive in movie screen falls on them. Mainly the couple in the vintage Jaguar are a mysterious couple especially when the wife of the owner of that car, shows up alive. Who was in the car, then? There is also the constant recurrence of the number twenty-three. What does it have to do with anything and who is behind all of the incidents with that number included? There are a few twists that caught me by surprise and one moment when I shouted out loud, "I knew it!" This story started off a little slower than Broken Promise even with a exploding movie screen at the forefront. Will Detective Duckworth be able to tie these cases together and find out who is behind the mysterious and crazy 23 incidents?

The final book in the trilogy is call The Twenty-Three. I can't wait to read and finally find out how all of this is going to end for the residents of Promise Falls.



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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Josephine Jones has just move to the big city and is in need of a job. She finds one where her job is to input information into a database. She will sit in an office with smudged pink walls, in a building with no windows. Her only job is to enter the information and don't ask questions. But curiosity is a part of human nature. Will she be able to continue the job when she discovers what it is she is really doing?

Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Josephine and Joseph Jones have left the hinterland(the place they call home) for the big city. I'm not sure what city they are in or what kind of people Josephine and Joseph are. Sometimes Josephine calls Joseph by a number 041-74-3400. They jump around their new city from sublet to sublet, each with one disgusting trait or another. Like black bubbling coming from the bathtub and gray sheets on the futon that were at some time in their life white.

This was a short story that captivated my attention, but also had me confused. There didn't seem to be enough time to tell the background of the story or develop the characters enough to really get to know them. There wasn't a name to the city they were living in and Josephine constantly refers to her boss as "The Person with Bad Breath". Overall this book was pretty good and I would read more by this author.

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Review: The Other Side of the Pillow by Zane


The Other Side of the Pillow by Zane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For most of the relationships Jemistry has been in, they have been abusive and she ends up hurt, physically and emotionally. After so many years of this she decides to take the rest of her life into her own hands and builds a wall around herself and stay single only have a few friends with benefits, to fill her needs. That is until she meets Tevin Harris. Will he be able to tear down the wall Jemistry has built around herself or will she repeat her past patterns of bailing on a relationship just when things seem to be going well?

I have read quite a few of Zane's book in the past, but it has been few years since I have read one. This I will say is now one of my favorites. The Other Side of the Pillow was a great love story that most women dream will be a part of their lives. To meet a man who is understanding of your past, butwill love you because of the future you will build together. Jemistry meets Tevin after she finishes reciting a poem called "Bitter". Shortly after they meet, though, she drops the two men she's been having casual sex with for the past couple of years.

The thing I liked best about this book, is that is gives you the hope that there is love out there for everybody sometimes in the place you leastexpect it. Learning to trust is not the easiest thing to do, but when you find someone you can trust completely then it's a magical thing. Tevin helped Jemistry to break down the wall she had built and learn to love again, but will the love and trust last.

Each chapter started with a quote about love, here are a few of my favorites:





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Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 Stars

Lauren and Sarah have been best friends since they were eleven years old. Now that they are adults, they don't seem to be as close as they used to be. With Sarah's upcoming wedding, will they be able to revive the friendship they once had?

Reading the description for this book, I was so excited to read it as I thought I would be able to relate to the characters, but unfortunately, I couldn't.

The story focuses on the long relationship between Lauren and Sarah and takes place in New York mostly during the months leading up to Sarah's wedding to Dan. There are things they share and secrets they keep from each other. Lauren is living her single life and Sarah dreams of something different for their future lives together. Lauren appears to be happy for Sarah, but internally she doesn't really care. I thought something more dramatic may have happened during this book, but overall it was underwhelming. The two never seemed to work through the issues they were having just glossing by life. Several times I thought about putting this book down, but I had to see how it was going to end.

Not a book I would recommend.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Review: The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Things We Wish Were True takes place in a small town in North Carolina during the summer of 2014. It's a very close knit community and most residents have lived there most of their lives. From Zell, the neighborhood matriarch to Jancey the "prodigal" daughter returning after making a quick escape after high school. Each character has their own story and each story intertwines with each character. It includes twists and turns that will make you need to find out what is going to happen next.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

I will admit that at the beginning of the book, there was a little confusion with all the different characters, but after getting into the story, everything soon became clear. Each character carries a secret. Some secrets are small and others could be catastrophic.

Zell - has been limping around all summer and has stopped running, why/
Cailey - is growing up faster than she wants to or should, but with a single working mother is there anything that can stop that.
Bryte - doesn't want to have a second child, the first time was so difficult, she doesn't want to go through that again.
Jencey - Returns home after being away for so long. Will she stay for good this time, or will she run again like she did in the past.
Lance - has recently become a single father, but how long will that be the case?
Everett - Married to Bryte and ex of Jencey has a few of his own secrets that could tarnish his relationships.

There is one story about a summer in North Carolina, told from each persons point of view. Each character has their own side to the story centered around the neighborhood pool. It dives into the past which helps to progress the present. At the end of this summer the whole neighborhood will be changed from the secrets that are revealed.

This is the first book I have read by this author and I look forward to reading more of her books.


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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: Nine Women, One Dress by Jane Rosen

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Every woman needs a LBD(Little Black Dress). This book tells the story of one such dress. You get to follow the life of the dress at it is born until it meets it's demise. Max Hammer is the designer. Along the way, we meet the dressmaker, the runway model who first shows the dress to the world and the other women who have come in contact with the dress and the way it has affected their lives. The dress of the season has made it's way around New York City and the world.

I listened to this book over the past couple of weeks to and from work. It's a cute story about "the" dress of the season. Throughout the life of the dress you meet a host of characters that each have their moment with the dress. We have Natalie the Bloomingdale's sales girl, who uses the dress to help an actor get negative press away from his name. Then there's, Felicia who has been Mr. Winters assistant for the past 20 years and has been in love with him for just as long, she gets the dress in the best/worst mix-up ever. Then there's an actress in a Broadway play, the French girl who is normally only in a berka, the private eye who snoops out cheating husbands, and the runway model from Alabama making her debut in the dress. The whole story is centered around the Bloomingdale's where the dress is being sold and the employees who work there are just as pertinent to the story as the women who wear the dress.

Overall this was a cute story that made me laugh out loud at parts.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Promise Falls is a small town that is slowly losing itself. The amusement park has shut down along with the newspaper. Because of this latest incident, David Harwood is forced to move back in with his parents along with his son, Ethan. Eager to find a job he helps his parents with whatever they need around the house. As he takes some food to his cousin, Marla, he makes a startling discovery. She has a baby that she insists an angel has brought to her house. When the mother of that baby is found murdered, David does all he can to protect Marla despite her sorted past.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review this title. Broken Promise is the first in a new trilogy by Linwood Barclay. This book wasn't necessarily action packed, but it held my attention completely. By the end of the book there were 23 dead squirrels, 5 dead people, 2 unsolved murders and one strange adoption case. There is a cliffhanger at the end of the book that made me immediately go out and get the second book in the trilogy Far From True. Linwood Barclay is a great storyteller who keeps the reader wanting more.

This book had me asking many questions at the end and wanting to know what is going to happen next. Marla, who is David Harwood's cousin lives alone and posts reviews online for various companies. Less than a year earlier, she had lost her child and her life will never be the same. David was working for the Boston Globe, when he became a single parent, and decided to move back to Promise Falls so that his parents can help him with his son, Ethan. Detective Duckworth is celebrating his 20th year on the force, when these incidents take place. These characters along with the other residents of Promise Fall will spend the three days trying to solve the mysteries that are taking place in their small town. Will Marla be charged with murder? How did this baby really come to be in her possession? Will David be able to get to the bottom of the mystery before he becomes a part of it?

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