Showing posts with label Adult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adult. Show all posts

Monday, November 27, 2023

Son of the Sea by Andrew E. Kaufman

Genre: Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I purchased a copy

Let me start off by saying, "wow!"  This was such an emotional rollercoaster ride for me.  The author has developed the character's so well that anyone can identify with them. His main character Griffin is carrying around a lot of baggage. We see Griffin and his father together at a fair. They are celebrating his birthday, while his mom and twin sister are out celebrating hers.  We are shown a loving father who loves his son, until the mother dies.  This father, a lawyer by day, becomes a monster by night, spewing his anger our on his son. Fast forward many years and we see grown up Griffin. He works out and runs to excess when he is stressed, which seems to be all the time. The woman he loves tries to help but has her own baggage. All of his actions are pushing her away. Then the unthinkable happens. Griffin is in an accident and the person who hit him is his estranged father. Old feelings return and threaten to destroy him. Griffin learns his father has Alzheimer's.  You will just have to read the book to find out what happens.  The turmoil in his life is one so many go through. Whether you have been through anything like this or not it puts fresh eyes on relationships and I would recommend it to everyone.


Friday, November 24, 2023

Second Chance Inn by Marlayne Giron


Genre: Adult, Amish Fiction

Source: I received an advance reading copy. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I usually read this author’s books in one to two days. However, I have been sick for almost a month. I had finished the first half of the book and got sick again. I am glad I was finally able to finish it. My husband said he knew how sick I was when I didn’t even feel like reading. I am sorry it took so long to finish this wonderful book.

Marlayne Giron is a very talented writer. In Second Chance Inn we meet Rachel Wilson and her daughter Karen. It is obvious from the start that they don’t get along and Rachel isn’t sure how to make it work. After her husband dies Rachel and her daughter move to Pennsylvania. She has bought a farmhouse belonging to an Amish widower. The idea is to turn it into a bed and breakfast so everyone who stays can have a full Amish experience. The only difference is there will be electricity and inside bathrooms.

Samuel Miller has sold the farm to Rachel after losing his family. He stays on to work with the animals and continue to be a part of his Amish community, even if he has had a falling out with God. We see the way God uses both adults to help the other heal. We see a teenager who lived in the world of social media and immediate gratification embrace the Amish lifestyle and turn from being an angry teen to very pleasant young lady. We see Karen’s attitude toward her mother completely change.  It is obvious that God is in the details here. Marlayne has obviously done a lot of research into the Amish lifestyle. Her characters are well developed and her setting puts you right in the middle of the story. I hope Marlayne continues to write in this genre. She is natural at it. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Awakening Avery - Laurie Lewis


Genre:  Adult, Romance

Source: I received a copy from Bookfunnel. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Grief is different for everyone. For the main character in this book, it is obvious that she is stuck.  She is a famous author who can’t seem to move forward because she is still grieving the loss of her husband a year before.  Her grown children are worried for her. As she tries to move forward she finds herself swapping houses with a gentleman who knows all too well what grief is like. He had to raise his daughters on his own after he lost his wife. I loved this for many reasons. I live in Sarasota, Florida and was familiar with many of the places in the book.  This was not a mushy, gushy romance. I hate those. Instead we find two people dealing with the loss of their spouses. They are also dealing with grown children who always think they know best. I loved how Gabriel changed. He realized that all he had done by raising his daughters on his own was spoil them. When he decides to swap houses with Avery it means kicking his daughters out of the house as well, where they will need to learn to stand on their own two feet. This is a great book, with a great message and one I recommend.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Shelve Under C: A Tale of Used Books and Cats by Jenny Kalahar


Genre:  Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source:  I own a copy

This is a wonderful book. I love cats and books and thought, why not.?  Mr. and Mr. O'Malley own and run a used bookstore. They buy and sell used books. With no children of their own they welcome orphaned cats into their bookstore. These aren't just any cat's. They work with the local animal shelter and foster cats where they would have a great chance of interacting with the public and then become adopted. This bookstore has two cats ready for adoption. Stomper who reminded me in personality of Garfield.  He was grumpy, wanted to be left alone and learned how to steal food from the small fridge inn the front room.  Buglit is the most recent addition. She had belonged to an older lady who had passed away. She hated the shelter. When brought to the shelter, she felt a connection to Mrs. O'Malley. Both cats have their own personality.  There are a variety of humans who play a big part in this book as well. You have the man who owns the music store down the street. There is young Kris who loves spending time in the bookstore. His love of books is obvious. It seems to go beyond the normal love of reading. He and Mr. O'Malley become very close. Like Buglit and Stomper he is a foster kid. Read this book to see how the three of them, Stomper, Buglit, and Stomper help each other through the ups and downs of everyday life.

Monday, April 17, 2023

The Hills be Shaken by Michael Stewart


Genre: Adult, Thriller
Source: Purchased

I loved this book so much I read it twice.  Mose as an engineer reminded me of author Del Shannon. He not only writes books but he is an engineer, specifically dams.  I loved the character Mose. I loved he kept saying, "I'm just an engineer." The fact he was able to take the info he had and use the knowledge from his career to help him was so spot on. I think something else I really like was that there was so much you could learn about engineering from reading this story. For a lot of people who read this, it may not have mattered at all. I love a book that has just enough info to teach me as well as having a plot so tight to keep me reading non-stop.  this is the first time in a long time that I have actually read a book through twice, back to back. I was able to picture the town.  Lots of twists and turns. I never expected the ending.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel


Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I own a copy

    During World War II Eva Abrams and her family live in France. She was born there, but her parents came from Poland. Eva, on her home one day is stopped by a friend and warned she and her family need to get out of France.  Over dinner she tells her parents. Her mom believes that things will change because the Jews have done nothing to the Germans. Her father tries  to tell her that fliers have been placed under their door for a couple of weeks and that it is possibly a ploy by the Germans.  After her mom has retired to  her bed, Eva’s father joins her in the library. He makes her promise him that if something happens to him and her mother that she will get out. He has already paid for fake papers. She promises. She and her mother are watching the children of a neighbor who had to take care of her sick mother. The irony is the mother can’t stand them because they are Jews.  She hears a knock down the hall and watches as her father is arrested by the Nazis. She finds herself in a position where the man her father paid has not completed the job because he fears what will happen to him and his family if he is caught helping the Jews. He reminds Eva that her father told her one day her artistic talents would help her. He convinces her that she can complete the forgery of the documents.  She is determined and does just that. She and her mother escape. She finds herself in a position to help children using her talents.

    This is the fictional story of forgers who helped people by forging documents for them. The author tells a compelling story that you can’t put down. Your emotions are so high you feel as if you have been transported back in time and are working alongside Eva.  This is a must read for people who love to read about World War II. I loved the fact that I learned something new from reading this fictional book.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Student Saturday: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Student Reviewer: Omar G.
Genre: Adult, Mystery

In the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, I have learned about a boy who was a shepherd. His name is Santiago, and he has been leading his sheep for almost two years looking for water and food. Later on there is a sentence I found interesting. It states “the secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.” It’s confusing without the background, but it basically explains to enjoy the big things but not to forget the little things, I think this relates to my life because I always feel as if I can’t enjoy the little things.

This book strongly relates to my life where it talks about how Santiago went on this journey to find treasure but found something greater. But in reality, what’s actually happening is he is heading toward self-discovery learning who he is because of this journey. I think this relates to me because I feel as if this journey I am on, me living will lead me to self-discovery, just like Santiago on his journey. Another thing the book talks about is how when Santiago is presented with a new change he isn’t scared off, but instead sees it as an opportunity to learn from it as he did from his previous experiences. In my life as I grow I will have positive and negative experiences. Regardless I will learn from it and use that to my advantage in the next challenge.

In the book Santiago is presented with many obstacles. Some which almost made him quit his journey. He had a rough moment that almost made him quit but instead he decided to settle down an reevaluate his plans for his journey. This shows he doesn’t let this fear hold him back, but instead pauses to rethink before deciding to quit. This relates to me; for instance I have had my fears and things that have made me quit something I am aiming for, but there are times when I decide to just sit back and think, reflect on what to do.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter


Genre: Young Adult, Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I purchased a copy

    This is actually a reread for me. I purchased this book when it first came out. A friend at school told me about it because the author was a friend and she knew I reviewed books.  I absolutely loved it. However, I somehow forgot to write my review. To do it justice I reread the book. It was just as painful the second time around. 
    Cassie doesn't trust anyone to love her. Her mother is abusive both physically and mentally. She finally has Cassie put in a mental institute until she is eighteen. Cassie leaves there and heads off to college where she tries to rebuild relationships and make new ones. Sometimes the past just won't let go and like powerful waves will continue to drag you under.
    Unlike many books that start out like this, Cassies gives us hope things can change for the better. She gives us hope that relationships can be renewed. You can never go back and undo the damage that has been done. You can choose to move forward and forge new relationships, even with those who broke up that relationship. Cassie is a courageous character. What you read is raw and make you evaluate the realtionships in your own life.  This should be a must read for teens everywhere.


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Autism Goes to School by Dr. Sharon A. Mitchell

Source: Adult, Realistic Fiction
Genre: I purchased a copy

As a teacher I have taught students with varying levels of autism. Most of them were higher functioning. I have not been trained to work with them. However, I have had a couple of parents, and even the students themselves that have helped me understand people with autism a little bit more. This helped when my own grandson was diagnosed with autism. When my daughter would call me frustrated with her son’s meltdowns I thought I recognized the signs so I checked with another parent who told me to have her son tested. He is very high functioning. However, I now know things not to do and how to help him. So let’s get to the book.

This book is fiction. We have Ben a man who learned just three years before that he had a son and that he had autism. Jump forward to present time. Ben receives a call from his son’s mom. She can’t deal with their son Kyle. She is pregnant and engaged; she is dropping Kyle off to live with him. Knowing nothing about autism, Ben does everything wrong. He was under the impression that the therapy he had been paying for over the last three years would cure his son. On the first day of taking his son to school he witnesses the class his son will be put in. He berates the teacher for her methods only to learn that is the class his son will be placed in. Ben truly wants what is best for his son, as does Kyle’s teacher.

I loved that autism was  treated accurately in this book. We saw children of varying levels. We saw what happens to parents who hold their children back out of fear of the world hurting them. I found that this is the first book in a series. I most definitely will get the others to read.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Tortured Souls Series By Ron Ripley

 Source: I purchased the first six books in this series. I won the sixth book from LibraryThing. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Genre:  Adult, Horror

Evil comes in so many forms. Sometimes in the form of ghosts, and sometimes in the form of those who use the ghosts for their own purpose. Janet Ladd is one who uses the spirits to get her what she wants, even if it means people are injured or killed.

Dan Tate lives in a historical school house and takes care of Coffin Cemetery attached to it. He was a former journalist who suffers from PTSD. While interviewing a young high school girl she is shot by an active shooter, along with several other students and teachers. Dan is helpless to do anything except hold her as she dies. His inability to move on from this event cost him his family, his job, everything.  When Eli, a young ghost living in the cemetery comes to him and explains what Janet is doing he agrees to help.

Ron Ripley has created a wonderful world filled with ghosts and a great plot line to go with it. I purchased this and the next four because I had won a copy of the last book. I am one that needs to read the whole series if possible. It is a good thing that I have spent my Christmas break doing exactly what I told my principal I would be doing, reading. Can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this series.

Something that is very important for the reader to know is that the story takes place in Anger, New Hampshire. Dan is still battling Janet and her ghosts. However, things are getting a lot hotter on the ghostly front. The evil seems to be growing. I kept wondering if Dan would be able to handle it all with everything he was going through. He still battles his PTSD. He has the help of the local sheriff who is also a distant relative to the young ghost boy Eli. They ban together to try to save the city that is being terrorized by the ghosts that Janet has unleashed on them.

It seems like each book in Ron Ripley’s “Tortured Souls” series is getting better. That is definitely what I enjoy in a good series. 

Dan continues to restore the school house and work out his issues from being involved in an active shooting at a high school. Unfortunately, he has made a big time enemy of Janet Ladd and the ghosts she has set after him.. She is the local medium who is using the ghosts to take people’s money. Unfortunately, Dan is the target of Janet’s latest ghost. Someone who is very evil and will do anything to Dan, including killing him.

We are introduced to a cannibal ghost in this book. That should say it all. This book is very gruesome. Good thing I like gruesome books.  It is very important that Dan keep on his toes in this book. I am finding that I have to read from beginning to end because this is not a book you can start and then go to bed only to pick it up the next morning. I am looking forward to the fourth book in this series.

This is the fourth book in the Tortured Souls series by Ron Ripley. I am enjoying this series immensely. We are introduced to Olivia. She is a ghost who is determined to kill Dan. Part of the reason is Mary's house. Dan has inherited it and the ghosts want it for the power it has. Each book seems to bring the tension up ten-fold. The ghosts get more violent and evil and Dan and his friends become more determined to stop Janet and her ghosts. Each book ends in a way that makes you yearn for the next book.  I'm not sure I would have stuck with this series had I started it when the first book came out and then had to wait so long for the next book in the series.  If you like ghost stories then this series is a must read.

True to form we are introduced to a new ghost. As I have read reviews about this series people have talked about a character from another series. Now that I have met him I will need to read the Berkley Street Series to find out who this Shane Character is. If that series is as good as this I know I will enjoy it.  Something else we find out in this book is who is behind controlling Janet. The violence gets worse. Dan's state of mind is worse. The tension is so high I couldn't put the book down. Looking forward to the last book in the series.

I feel so bad for Dan in this series. It seems like the harder he tries the more things he is up against.  He is worried about his children, having trouble with his ex-wife and now he has to try to do everything in his power to save the town of Anger. This is a town he has come to love.  How much more can he handle?  You will need to read this book and the rest in this series.  Definitely one of my favorite authors.  This is a must read series.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Rise: Book one of the War Witch Saga by Cain S. Latrani

Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Source: I purchased a copy

WARNING; This book is full of erotic scenes.

I was asked to read and review this book. Let me make it clear that I do not usually read and review books that are erotic in nature. I was not aware of this at the time I agreed to read and review the book. I will not be reading any more in the series for this reason.

This was a hard book for me to review.  The writing itself is good. There is a great plotline, the world-building is awesome.  The story is reminiscent of Greek or Egyptian Gods.  In Greek mythology we often find the Gods playing with the lives of the humans as if it was all a game.  The characters, most who fall into the category of Heavenly Gods, or Demon Gods took on characteristics that reminded me of Egyptian gods.  You had a combination of characters you would not expect such as Trolls, Ogres, Werecats, etc.  Of course you have the humans within as well. 
The story opens with a young girl being hidden by her sister before she sees her violated and killed. She then sees her mother and younger brother burned alive in their house. The demon gods destroy everything they can. This young girl is saved by a heavenly god who saves her to teacher her to fight and bring vengeance on those who destroyed her village. Like I said the story line was great. What I didn't enjoy and skipped over was all the erotic scenes. I felt like the story would have been great if not for all of that. This is the first book in a series. No matter how great the story line I will not be reading the rest due the the sexual nature. I leave that decision up to other readers.


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

𝐒𝐲𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲: 𝐏𝐨𝐞𝐭𝐫𝐲 & 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐖𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐲 𝐂. 𝐆𝐚𝐫𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐥𝐞


Genre: Adult, Poetry

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

    When I was asked to read and review this book I didn’t know what to expect. I had never heard of this author. I enjoy reading poetry. This book however was something different, something that resonated more personally with me.

    The book is broken into four parts; Body, Mind, Heart and Soul. Each section seems to be a picture of a part of her life. Through her poems we learn a little about her, but as with most poetry we learn to look within ourselves. With many of the poems I found a piece of myself brought to the surface, or I found healing within her words.  Books like these are hard to describe. It is not a work of fiction, but a look into the authors, life, thoughts and the way she has dealt with it all. It is open, honest and at times raw.

    Her poem “Battle” spoke to me, about a me that lived some thirty years ago. I wondered how she knew me so well. “Off the Grid” resonated with me. My thoughts of wanting to just be a hermit, by myself with no one or nothing to possess me. This poetry and musings shows a path I traveled so many years ago. My faith in God is what carried me through just as it did the author. I believe sometimes we have to cross paths with a book such as this to remind us of the journey God has walked with us. To remind us that no matter what our circumstances he is there for us. I looked up the word Synergy. In its easiest definition it is a collaboration between two things that make the outcome so much better. In this book you see the collaboration between the author and God and how she has come out a better person because of that relationship. No matter where you are in life this is a wonderful book to read. I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Sin Series Books 1 – 3 by A.I. Nasser

Genre: Adult, Horror
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book 1 - Kurtain Motel

I will say that this is definitely not the book to read during a storm at night. After car trouble Patrick is picked up by a priest and due to a storm they stop at a creepy motel. The setting was a perfect setup for this story. The “guests” find themselves plagued by their deepest sins. Something wants them to confess these sins. If you really want to creep me out then add in spiders. They are my biggest fear. This is told from multiple points of view.  I happen to be someone who likes this. I don’t think I would ever want to be in a motel like the Kurtain Motel.  This is just the first book in his Sin series so it ends a little bit differently than I liked, but set things up to make me read the next one. If you love creepy books then this book and this author is the one for you.


Book 2 - Refuge

Okay, book 2 of A.I. Nasser’s Sin series is just as creepy as the first book.  Three people have escaped the Kurtain Motel. They end up in a town called Refuge. I am a strong believer that names in books are often a story in themselves. It made me wonder why the author would name the town Refuge. Just when they think they have their lives returning to normal the creep factor is turned up once again. We still have a theme of “confessing their sins” running throughout this series. This author knows how to make everything about his book creepy. Definitely one of my favorite horror authors. Now on to the third book in this series.


Book 3 - Purgatory

Patrick and Jimmy have been on the run since they left the Kurtain Motel. They are trying to find Jimmy’s mom who was possessed by the evil that haunted them at the motel. They find themselves in a town called Darville. Something is definitely wrong in Darville. Evil lurks there. Once again those creepy spiders make an appearance. All I kept thinking as I read this series is that it would make an awesome movie, spiders and all. I do feel that the series left me with some unanswered questions. Was that enough to make me not enjoy the story?  Definitely not. I need to check some of the other books by this author. But please, check out this trilogy, you won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle Heera Datta

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.


I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come to watch “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. After reading this book my feelings toward the author have been tainted.  While I saw him as a wonderful and successful writer, I never knew who he was. To understand who he was you must understand the Victorian time period he lived in. 

Imagine you have married the man of your dreams only to have him blame you for everything that he doesn’t like in your marriage. Imagine your young sister who lives with you to help you with your children, suddenly sides with your husband.  You are removed from your home, while your sister and your children stay with your husband.

This is for the most part a fictionalized account. We know for a fact that Charles Dickens was separated from his wife. We also know that even though he wrote terrible things about her. She kept her mouth shut. Part of this I believe was because she loved him, and part of it was because that is the way things were handled during this time period.  Women pretty much had no rights.  She was publicly humiliated through his writings. Up until her death she pretty much kept quiet. Yet she made sure her daughter received letters Charles had sent her to be sent to the Smithsonian. It was her way of letting the world know he really wasn’t all that bad.  She believed this until her death. Maybe that is what helped her survive this situation.

Even though this story took place in the 1800’s this could be anyone’s story today. I believe that is why it is such a good book. It is so applicable to present time.  A great book to be read by anyone wanting to know more about the real Charles Dickens.

Monday, March 21, 2022

After the Fall by Craig DeMartino

Genre: Adult, Christian, Inspirational
Source: I purchased a copy

I have never had a desire to rock climb. It might have something to do with my fear of heights, or worse yet, my fear of falling.  I will however read books and watch movies about people who do this.

This book is amazing. This is the story of a man who fell 100 feet while rock climbing. By all accounts he should have died that day. A few miraculous things happened that prevented that. First he struck a tree that slowed his descent. Then he managed to twist his body in a manner that when he landed it didn’t kill him, but messed him up big time.  There were several other things that played a part in his fall and rescue. He landed in the one place that they were able to get cell reception. He had his phone on him instead of in his car. The people who came to rescue him were familiar with the area and made it in record time.  This is a book about not just a man’s journey to survive and heal, but more importantly a man’s journey back to God and the purpose God had for him. Before the accident Craig and his wife were Christians, but didn’t live very close to God. After the accident Craig had to rely on God for so much. He started question God as to what his purpose was in all of this. I am a firm believer that sometimes God has to hit us over the head with a two by four to get our attention. The fall was Craig’s two by four. Casually sharing with people how God helped him not only that day but every day after became a first step. Learning to step out on faith when he had his badly damaged leg amputated and then having the courage to begin climbing again is another example.  Yes, we know that this book and climbing could be a metaphor for the mountains we often have to climb to get back to a relationship with God. However, this is just straight forward, ‘look what God has done with my life and  how he has blessed me after my accident. Look how he has taken something I deemed so bad and used it for something good.’  This is one of the most inspirational books I have read this year. I highly recommend it. You don’t have to be a rock climber to enjoy this book. It is inspirational in the fact that it shows us how much we as Christians need to hold tight to God, to keep our priorities in order. It shows us that no matter what terrible thing happens that God is there to walk with us on that journey.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Beyond the Storm by Carolyne Zane

I was on Spring Break this week. One of my goals was to catch up on reading. That didn't go as planned. However, I spent several days reading and below is one of those books. Unfortunately for me, when reading about quilts, whether fiction or not I start thinking about quilts. This is why my reading goal didn't get met.  I got side tracked and planned an entire quilt for my bed and a throw for my mother-in-law. However, I loved this series. See my review below

Genre: Christian, Romance
Source: I purchased a copy 

The idea of this story was great from the beginning. It is the story of a tornado that ripped a town apart. But, it is much more than that. The storm could also be seen to represent the storms or trials in our lives. Through the making of a quilt made from scraps of fabric found by the local hairdresser after the storm. We see how each piece of fabric helps make sense of the tragedy and the part the person played in the lives of those in the town. Creating the quilt, putting it together piece by piece is the way we have to put our lives back together after we weather our own life storms. The center patch belonged to a man who made Jesus a part of his daily life. It is the interconnectedness of those he touched along with the interconnectedness of the quilt pieces that make this such a wonderful book. The book doesn’t come off as preachy. It is a demonstration of a life lived the way Christ would want us to live life. Just another reminder that in life’s storms we need to turn to and rely on God. He is truly the only one who has control. This is the first book in this series and was by an author I was not familiar with. I am looking forward to reading the others in the series.

Monday, March 7, 2022

What Hurts the Most by Willow Rose


Genre: Adult, Suspense/Thriller
Source: I purchased a copy

I love the setup of this book the chapter titles are dates. The book switches back and forth between past and present and the dates help keep you from getting confused.  Mary is a journalist with a young son. She has been fired from her job. When she learns her brother has been arrested for murder she returns to Cocoa Beach Florida to try to solve this crime. The tensions run high in this book. In the beginning she stays with her father and her step-mother. There is definitely no love lost between Mary and her step-mother.  Then there is her ex-husband and all of her old friends. Together they set out to try to prove her brother’s innocence.   One thing is for sure, Willow Rose does an excellent job of creating a variety of well fleshed out characters. Each of them have their own quirks, some of them very annoying. Be sure this book will keep you on the edge of your seat reading until the end.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Robber Girl by Franny Billingsley

Genre: Middle Grades, Young Adult, Adult, Fantasy
Source: I purchased a copy

This is probably one of the harder reviews I've had to write. I absolutely loved this book. There are so many layers to it that make it hard to write about it. We have a young girl working alongside "Gentleman Jack" a known criminal. She believes he rescued her after her mother abandoned her. While trying to rob a stagecoach Gentleman Jack is caught. This young girl is taken home to the Judge's house. This is a house that has known sorrow. The judge and his wife lost their son and daughter to smallpox. As you read along you realize that things definitely are not what they seem.  The judge and his wife try to "tame" this wild girl. She communicates with her dagger who keeps reminding her how much Gentleman Jack has done for her. You know something is afoot whenever she begins to communicate with the dolls in a dollhouse the judge had made for his daughter. The dagger also doesn't like when she thinks she remembers things. It doesn't want her to remember.  There are definitely reasons Gentleman Jack has not named her. There are reasons she has been lied to for five years.   She is the only one who holds the key to what Gentleman Jack wants. Better than that she holds the key to who and what she is.  I tried to explain this to my students and had just as much trouble explaining it to them.  I recommend this one to everyone who loves beautiful language, fantasy and, unreliable characters.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Twisted Road to You by Barbara Longley


Genre:  Adult, Romance, Suspense
Source: I was given a copy to be reviewed, the opinions expressed here are my own.

I am trying to clean out my personal library and my e-reader.  I am not sure how long I've had this book. Something about it appealed to me way back when I purchased it or agreed to read it for the author.  I don't read a lot of romance. I don't like, nor have I ever like mushy, gushy romance. However, give me a book where both parties fall in love while overcoming major obstacles and I am there.  

The two characters are both suffering from a type of PTSD. Wes is a former marine. He watched one of his men die and blames himself because he was thinking about how his wife had dumped him while he was away from home. Carlie is a single mom of a young boy. Her ex-husband is in prison. They moved changed their names and did everything right to protect themselves from the man who almost killed her.
Wes eats breakfast every day at the diner where she works. It is obvious to everyone around them that Wes has feelings for her. 

One day we goes for his breakfast and doesn't see Carlie. The owners who have taken her under their wing tell him about her past. He sets off to make sure she is okay. He sees her and her son being held by her ex.  He manages to rescue them, but her ex gets away.  His mission from this point forward was not to fall in love, even though you know that is what is going to happen, but to protect her and her son.  Like I said, this is not a mushy-gushy romance. The twists and turns are what will keep you moving through this book. The sad thing to learn after reading this is that there were other books before this one in the series.  Definitely going to read them.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom by Ariel Berger

Genre: Adult, Biography
Source: I purchased a copy

The conversation started like this, “I was reading the most wonderful book last night and I finished it in class today. I will let you borrow it if you like.”  Any time someone starts a conversation like this I know it will be a book I must read.  This statement was made by my co-worker. Together we teach a holocaust unit on different grade levels. We have both taught “Night”. Had it not been for her I never would have known about this book. 

 The author, Ariel Burger was a student and friend of Elie Wiesel. The book is written from notes, conversations and lessons he had learned over the years from this man. This book is a look at life, faith, doubt and so much more as seen through Elie’s eyes and through the lens of the lessons learn through the holocaust. In this book we see how the past affects and shapes the future.  It makes us question our beliefs no matter what our religious beliefs. It is through questioning that I believe we learn more about ourselves and about our beliefs. This book made me do exactly what I tell my students I want them to do. It made me think about the past and make connections to the present and to the future. It made me question my religious beliefs. So many times I had students tell me they don’t know what they believe. I never understood that until I read this book. I don’t think they were saying they didn’t know, so much as they didn’t really understand their beliefs.  One of the questions asked in the book was whether faith and doubt could co-exist. I thought about Thomas in the Bible. He was called doubting Thomas because of his doubt, yet his faith was strong.  No matter what your religious beliefs I believe this is an excellent book to read and I definitely recommend it, especially for  those who have read Elie Wiesel’s books.