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

Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


I am reviewing a book on here because I have read it in three different languages and I am once again sharing it with my students. It is one of my all-time favorite books. I first read this book in my French class in my freshman year of high school. We moved to Florida the next year and I read it in my Spanish class. I read it the next year in English. 

No story has stood the test of time and is still as relevant today as it was when first written. This is a story of a little prince who leaves his planet, (an asteroid) and visits several other asteroids before finally landing on earth. What he learns from each of the men on those other asteroids is relevant today. We hear the phrase from each of the men on the planets he visits say they are concerned "with matters of consequence".  What is important is the question the prince must ask himself about what is important. He sees these adults as self-consumed and concerned with things that are vain and empty. It was important for me to share this wonderful book with my students, since these are things that must be discussed today.  A wonderful allegorical book that is full of wisdom. This book should be required reading in every middle or high school. There are so many lessons to be learned throughout the book. It is told in a manner that may be a little difficult to understand. This is great because it makes such wonderful discussions in the class. 

You may be wondering why I am speaking of this as a book for the classroom. To be clear, my blog was started years ago when I came to my current school. My husband suggested since I was teaching reading and students who were learning English at different levels that maybe I should start a blog where I talk about books. My students didn't seem to know how to find a good book. They were poor readers and so it was too much effort to try to sort that all out. My students AND parents are given my website and blog address at the beginning of the year. This way they can look for books for their children. So when I find a book this important for my students I believe it is just as important for the general public. So I offer this review with no apologies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf

Genre: Adult, Christian, Historical Fiction

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

simplest terms this is a creative retelling of the story of Esther from the Bible. The author has taken some creative liberties that do not destroy, but enhance the original story. We see Esther as a woman who reluctantly marries a man she never would have because of their differences in beliefs. The author took this opportunity to explore the love between Esther and the King. This is important because during that period in history we know that the King had many wives. Yet we see how much he loved Esther.  The author also shows the king as a wise man and a kind man.  Haman is a man with a hate for Jews and a grudge against a Jew the King likes named Mordecai. Mordecai is the uncle of Esther. In this book Mordecai is shown in a different light. His reasons for Esther’s marriage to the king come across as self-serving. The Bible shows him as a calm and peaceful man who is very loyal to the king. If I had one complaint that would be it. However, this was not enough to take away from the book. It is well written  and I really enjoyed it.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Mythical Girls by Alex McGilvery

Genre: Young Adult, Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I really enjoyed this anthology. All of the stories are about girls who find a magical object. I found it interesting that two of these stories had characters that found an object that was a version of Excalibur.  One of my favorites was a world where magic had been outlawed. When the young girl finds a magical bracelet and is found out, the bracelet is to be destroyed. Fortunately, it isn’t and the girl has to use it to help save her land.

One of my favorites was “An Unexpected Weapon” by Kandi J. Wyatt. Kandi has long been one of my favorite authors. Her story resonated with me for several reasons. Her main character had previously gone through a tornado that destroys everything she loved. Her character and her behavior when a storm comes up reminded me of a former student. Mallory had gone through a tornado over the summer while visiting relatives up north. The terror haunted her. Since we get a lot of storms in Florida she lived in constant fear. She needed to sit facing a window to watch the sky. I would have to have my students pull out a book to read and then sit and talk with her until she calmed down. Kandi’s character Karli reminded me of my student Mallory. Both of them had to face their fear to overcome it.

Each of these stories empower girls. Each of them has a relic of magic. There is a wonderful look at different cultures and beliefs through this book. I really loved how these authors demonstrated both the good and bad sides of magic. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Chronicles of a Nuclear World First Post-Apocalyptic Journal: “ Under the Ground” by Radislav Borr

This book will be available July 12th.

Genre: Young Adult, Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy from Booksprout to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I really enjoyed this book.  In the beginning, I felt it started a little slow. The more I read the longer I read. I sat up until three in the morning finishing this book. A book has to be extremely good for me to stay up that late.  This book is written as the journal of Robert Williams a fourteen-year-old when World War III started.
Robert Williams was one of the lucky ones or was he. When World War III became imminent he and his mom were flown to an underground bunker. Why were they one of the lucky ones?  His father’s position in the Department of Defense gave them a spot in the bunker.   His grandfather on his dad’s side is in a leadership position as well. From the very beginning, we see what led up to WWIII and what life might be like is you were lucky enough to be one of the chosen to survive in a bunker. But this book did something that most dystopian, futuristic books have never done. Instead of focusing on the survivors on the outside, it focused on the survivors on the inside. We get a look through Robert’s eyes of what life like that would possibly be like. I honestly believe that this is probably the most realistic outlook of what that life could be like.
Our main character grows up and becomes a man in this book. He sees his mentor in charge of the library die. What he learned from that man is what turned him into the person he became. There is so much I could say about this book, but this is one that I want to not give away any plot points. Think about what you think life would be like living in a bunker underground. Then read this book and get a new perspective, a fresh look. How do you think you would stack up to all of it?  I will definitely shout the praises of this book to everyone I know.

Author bio: I am a Ukrainian citizen who served as an airborne trooper and in the Security Service of Ukraine. For more than five years, I have been a digital artist in the field of video games development. I write under the pen name Radislav Borr.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Glimpses of Time and Magic by Ariel Paiement

Genre:  Adult, Historical Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This anthology of fantasy stories is historical because the stories take place in different time periods.
There are nine stories and that means there is something for everyone. "Maiden of Embers" explains the explosion of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii. I have always loved the story of Pompeii. "Excal'byr" explains the beginnings of Excalibur. "In Leap of Faith a woman, wounded in the heart by a man trusts no man. It isn't until she meets a stranger and takes a leap of faith into another world that she learns about true love.  In "Rise of an Empire" we see the final battle before Rome falls. Then we travel with the remaining soldiers as they travel north to try to re-establish their empire. "Misted Love" was one of my favorites. It is the classic tale of a woman of high breeding falling in love with a man of a lower station in life. When her family's finances take a downward turn her father makes a decision to save his own wealth. He will sell his daughter to the one man she detests.  This story pretty much explains the fog of England.  I won't say too much because I don't want to give anything away.   "Paradoxeffair" is one that felt familiar but fresh at the same time. We have a young man who has run off to join the circus only to learn it isn't what he thought. No one can leave the circus until their contract is up and only if other conditions are met. Most of the people of this circus are true "freaks or have natural magic". The magician has magic that was taught and yet it was enhanced by this special circus run by an evil mermaid.  One of my favorites was "The Heart of the Phoenix King".  This is the retelling of the disappearance of the people of Roanoke. Let's just say it is full of betrayal and revenge.  "The Apprentice of Amadan Dubh" is written by an author I am very familiar with. Kandi J. Wyatt often writes stories of Dragons and other worlds.  I was extremely pleased to find something completely different and refreshing. In a small village a mage takes on an apprentice. The apprentice has always wanted to use his power for good. But, what happens when his master decides to use his magic and his apprentice's magic to get rich?  What is the line between right and wrong, good and evil?   Maybe your tastes run more toward the time period of Pirates.  In "The Heart of the Coast" a young boy whose father was responsible for the death of Blackbeard finds that his father despises him. When given the opportunity to run away to sea he does, promising his one remaining brother he will see him again. But Blackbeard's curse may have more to do with how his life changes than he ever understood.

I have truly found some new authors to check out. I have always loved anthologies because you get to sample different author's work as well as have stories with a common theme.  I would whole-heartedly recommend this book. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace by Johan Twiss

Genre:  Adult, Magical Realism
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my reviews. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Johan Twiss has created two characters that anyone could relate to. You want to cheer them on.
Aaron is a young teen who is living in a nursing home. His body doesn’t work right but his brain does. He has created a place in his mind he calls his “Mind Palace” to keep himself from going crazy. Unfortunately, his parents are unaware of this since he can’t communicate with them.  I felt so sorry for him.  When he described his condition as being turned to stone by Medusa, you truly understand how it is. His character reminded me of the character Shawn in Terry Trueman’s book, Stuck in Neutral. For me having a working mind but not body would be horrible. I guess I feel this way because I had a cousin who was in a terrible accident. Her eyes were open and she could hear the nurses talking about how she was nothing but a vegetable. They had no idea until a month or two later how much her brain processed.

Solomon is the other main character in this book. He is elderly and has been placed there due to dementia.  Solomon can hear Aaron’s thoughts. Because they can communicate through their minds, Aaron gets to learn about Solomon’s earlier life. There is a historical aspect to this book as we learn about Solomon. The connection between Aaron and Solomon was simple. Aaron played trombone in his school’s jazz band and Solomon was a Jazz musician. Solomon takes Aaron on trips back into his past.

I have read several books  by this author and this one is right at the top of my list. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Silent Death by Ron Ripley

Genre: Adult, Horror
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing

This is the first book in this series that I have read. I have now had to go back and purchase the others.  Abel Worthe is one extremely wicked and mixed up man. Money has always bought him what he wanted. He has a whole village of ghosts he has had trapped for years. Amongst all of these ghosts is a young boy named Alex. He can see and communicate with the ghosts, and more. Abel wants him removed from the village. He doesn’t seem to care what it might cost in lives.  Add to this mix a young teen ghost, the most evil of all and you have a wonderful story you will read from beginning to end.  Kimberly killed her whole family with a hatchet. She likes nothing more than killing people and ripping out their voice box. Here reason for this is just as crazy. I was drawn in to a story I couldn’t put down, from the very first chapter.  This is one of those book I can’t say too much about because to do so would create all kinds of spoilers. I will say this much. I will be reading the books before this one and the next one. This author has a new follower.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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

For those of us who grew up reading the “Little House on the Prairie” series, this book is a must read. When I first started student teaching almost thirty years ago I created a whole unit around Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books.  I had just about anything that had been written about her. One flood took all of that away. When I saw this book I knew it was a must read. After reading this book you will discover how much of her series was true to life. Like any author, things were changed in her children’s books to fit the age, theme or character she had created. This is not a book for the younger child. However, the older teen who like me fell in love with who this author was would really enjoy this book . For me I grew up in the country. I lived in a house that got an  indoor  bathroom not too many years before we moved in, so I was very familiar with and hated, outhouses.  A lot of the things Laura grew up with, I did too. We lived in a modern house, yet so much from my great-grandmother was there and we were expected to use it. I think having that connection is what made the books so real and special to me. Knowing the extra’s I’ve learn through this book and others helped me reconnect.

This book is full of pictures and references. That is one thing I really enjoy because it adds another layer to my learning about this most beloved author. I knew from years back that Laura’s daughter Rose helped her turn her story into the fictionalized stories I read as a child. For me that made it even more special.  There was just something  special about Laura  taking her own life events and putting them into a story that children in future generations would be able to connect.  For anyone who has every read “The Little House Series” and want to know more about the author and their creation, then this is a must read.  This book is special enough to me that I have directions that it will go to my granddaughter Haylee when I am gone. When she first started reading chapter books I introduced her to Laura’s series. I wanted my granddaughter to grow up know what a wonderful story looked like. We discuss her books all the time.  So I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who has loved Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Broken Roads: Returning to My Amish Father by Ira Wagler

Genre: Adult, Amish, Memoir
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Ira Wagler left his Amish background. This is something he did with lots of thought. For those who are not familiar with the Amish, leaving results in shunning. Essentially there is not much interaction between the family and the child who has decided to leave.  This doesn’t mean they can’t visit. The family always holds out hope that the one who left will come to their senses and return to their faith.
In this second book by Ira we get what I believe is a deeper look into his life after leaving. It begins with his reason for telling this story. On this occasion, he is preparing to go back home because his father is dying. He wasn’t the only one who left.  He is representing those siblings who left and can’t go back. He would go back to visit his family. There was always an admonishment to come. The title is very appropriate. Through the book, we see how the path he traveled through life was like a broken road. Through sharing his life with the public we see that no matter what our path looks like, no matter how broken it is, there is always hope. He shared both the good and bad decisions he made. He showed how far he strayed and how God always led him back.  This is not a book that is written in a strict chronological order. It felt more like sitting and having a conversation with the author where he shares stories as one thing connects to another.  I read this in just a couple of hours. I didn’t want to put it down.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Simply Dead by Eleanor Kuhns

Genre:  Adult, Historical Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Hortense a young midwife fails to return home after delivering a baby. Her mother and uncle seek out help from Will Rees. Will finds Hortense with no shoes and no cloak.  As the snow comes down heavier it is decided to leave the unconscious Hortense overnight at Will and Lydia’s house.  Will and his family attend to chores around the farm. Will hears his daughter Jerusha yelling for him. She has been frightened but he doesn’t know what scared her.  The next morning Jerusha is attacked by two young boys.  Will is sure Hortense knows something she isn’t telling them.  When a Shaker woman is killed Will is determined to do everything he can to find the person responsible for the attacks on women in the area.
Once again this book was so well written I didn’t expect the killer to be who it was. I have only read one other book in this series. I have definitely got to catch up on them. This author brings you in to the time period and into the setting.  The characters are well crafted. Will Rees has become one of my favorite characters. He is a weaver by trade and yet he has become a wonderful detective. This is a book I would read more than once.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

After You’ve Gone by Kay Kendall

Genre: Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense
Source: I purchased a copy.

This was a fun book to read. We start with a twenty-three-year-old character named Walter MacGregor, Wallie for short. Walter was named after her father who is a judge in Gunmetal, Texas.  Wallie, whose mother is deceased has been raised by her father with the help of her two aunts. Her favorite thing to do is read Sherlock Holmes books. That is as close as she figures she will ever get to an adventure. When her uncle Rory shows up she is very intrigued. He claims his life is in danger and he needs his brother’s help. There is definitely some contention between Rory and his older brother. It is obvious that Rory, a rum-runner is nothing like her father, the well-spoken judge. However, his lifestyle intrigues her, even if she doesn’t agree with it. There are family secrets, and a stranger watching the house. No one will talk to her about her uncle or why he left so suddenly twenty years before. When Rory is found dead, it is ruled an accident by the sheriff. Wallie doesn’t believe this was an accident. Her perceptive Aunt Ida, knowing her niece won’t let this go, proposes a trip so Wallie’s father can grieve, while secretly helping Wallie find the information she wants. But things are worse than Wallie could imagine. She and her aunt find themselves knee-deep in gangsters and women they would not usually associate with. Throw into this mix two young men who are after Wallie’s heart and you have a charming yet mysterious story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I loved this for several reasons. We start off with Wallie writing to her sixteen-year-old granddaughter about Rory. It seems that her granddaughter, Austin Starr is as curious as her grandmother was as a young lady. The time period was one I am not familiar with in books. There seems to have been a lot of research that went into this story to make it accurate. The roaring twenties was a time of prohibition and rum-runners, as well as gangsters. We get an idea through this book what life for a young woman would have been like during that time. Anytime Wallie tries to step out of the acceptable role for women she is treated like she has no brain. She holds out hope for women as they have just won the right to vote. I loved that Wallie assumes she will never marry since she doesn’t want to be reigned in by a man. The story is a remembrance of a time in Wallie’s life that provided the adventure she longed for.
The author does such a wonderful job of putting twists and turns in that I had to sit and read it from cover to cover. I could not go to bed until I had finished it. I truly had no idea who the murderer was or why until near the very end. Well done. I definitely want to read other books in this series as this was a prequel to the Austin Star Mystery series. This is a book for adults, but I would recommend it to young adults because it is a clean read with the occasional swear word.

Kay Kendall is an award-winning author of two historical mysteries. Her second book, RAINY DAY WOMEN (2015), won for best mystery and best book at Killer Nashville in August 2016. It is the second in her Austin Starr mystery series, published by Stairway Press. The first was DESOLATION ROW (2013).
In her previous career, Kay was an award-winning international PR executive, working in the US, Canada, Russia, and Europe. She has graduate degrees in Russian history and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 
Kay and her Canadian husband lives in Houston, Texas. They’ve rescued abandoned pet bunnies for twenty years and currently have three rabbits and a bemused spaniel, Wills.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Forged Lines by J.T. Bishop

Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance
Source: I purchased a copy. The opinions expressed here are my own

This is the next fantastic book in the Red-Line: Fletcher Family Saga.  When I started the book, I was a little confused. You have a police officer watching the skies for  UFOs. They make fun of her at the station and call her VT.  Then we switch to a dinner party. It was at this point I started having trouble remembering who is who. I had read and reviewed the last book back in January.  Then we have the event that sets everything into motion. The house where the dinner party is taking place is blown up. From that point on, I was oriented and hooked once again by this author.  The officer known as Vee has been tasked with looking for any other victims or survivors at this house fire. She comes across injured Jasper, who is babbling about his pills and his ship. A part of Vee wants to believe him but knows he has to be delusional. 
You have an alien race that has been fighting a battle within their own ranks. Within their culture, you have the Reds and the Greys. They have blended in and even married into the human race.  This has created some very unique problems. Hiding among them is the "High Child." He needs to go back to Eudora and take his place as leader. There are those who want him stopped and will stop at nothing to make that happen. You need to read this book to see what role Vee will play in this story. That was a great little twist I enjoyed immensely.
The book is jam-packed with action. You aren't sure who they should trust. Every time I thought I had figured out who was good and who was evil, something else was thrown at me, and I realized again, I didn't know. Once I got to the third or fourth chapter, I had to finish the book. My husband kept telling me to sit back in my chair. I get so into a book I scoot to the edge of my chair.  If you have not started or heard of this series, you must. It was wonderful. You won't be disappointed.  

About the Author

J. T. loves stories that explore a character’s unique abilities and origins. It’s the thrill of the unknown that continues to inspire her stories. What if extraterrestrials did walk among us? It’s a theme she finds intriguing and provides a wealth of inspiration for her books.  Drama, angst, passion, and humor all add to the fun. A little bit of romance doesn’t hurt either.

J.T. graduated from Southern Methodist University with a major in Marketing. She’s worked in the corporate world as a project manager as well as a Customer Service Manager. She tried teaching for a while and took a course in teaching children how to write. That course reignited her passion that began in high school when she and her best friend would write stories featuring themselves as the main characters. It was fun to do, but it took years before she got serious. But, when the right idea came along, and inspiration hit, she was ready to run with it.

J. T. enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling whenever she can, and spending time in nature (despite the heat in Texas). Getting up in the morning with a cup of coffee, ready to write is the start of a perfect day. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Only Charlotte by Rosemary Poole-Carter

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This story takes place after the Civil War. Lenore James is a woman who has out-lived three husbands. Financially she is in a great place. She is wll aware of what is going on in society around her. When her brother Gilbert, a doctor loses his wife and child he loses a large part of himslef. Lenore invites him to come live with her and open a practice in New Orleans. Gilbert is willing to take those cases where the main doctor in town feels he won't profit much. This doesn't bother Gilbert since he is more about taking care of the patient and not worrying about the money. 

Gilbert is called to a house to care for a young child who has a terrible cough. He is immediately drawn to the child's mother, Charlotte Eden. Charlotte is married to awealthy architect. Gilbert's sister remembers her when she worked making hats. It is obvious to Lenore that her brother has fallen for Charlotte. The Mystery comes in when Gilbert is asked to remove Charlotte's dead body. I won't say anything more since I don't want to give anything away.

We see a society where those who are in power and have lots of money rule. Women have no rights and if some people had their way there would be slavery again. The author has told a story in the flowery and flowing way it would have been spoken in that time period. For some this may be a hindrance. It took me a couple of chapters before I was comfortable with this aspect. However, it actually put me in the time period. This author has a way of helping the reader visualize everything around them. I love a book that draws me in and carries me around twists and turns to the point I don’t see the ending coming. I love the historical aspect of this book. For me the emotional factor was a plus. I could feel how much Lenore felt she needed to protect her brother’s heart. I could see how Gilbert fell hard for Charlotte from the beginning. I agreed to read this book because there was the mystery aspect and it was historical fiction. I got so much more than I bargained for from reading this book. I highly recommend anything by this author.

About the Author
Rosemary Poole-Carter explores aspects of an uneasy past in her novels Only CharlotteWomen of MagdaleneWhat Remains, and Juliette Ascending, all set in the post-Civil War South. Her plays include The Familiar, a ghost story, andThe Little Death, a Southern gothic drama. Fascinated by history, mystery, and the performing and visual arts, she is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Mystery Writers of America, and the Dramatists Guild of America. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she was a long-time resident of Houston, where she practiced her devotion to reading and writing with students of the Lone Star College System. She now lives and writes by the Eno River in Durham, North Carolina

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Write Honor by Anna Dynowski

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

The first thing I have to say is that I absolutely loved this book from the very beginning. I was pulled in emotionally right from the start. A book that can grab me emotionally and hold me all the way through is a winner in my book.  Krysia Barciniak is hurting. At the age of sixteen she has a child that she gives up for adoption. There isn’t a day that she doesn’t feel that empty hole in her heart. It is one thing to know that God forgives you for something and another to forgive yourself. As a romance writer she has decided to leave the romance to her books. She was betrayed once and wants no part of love.
 Connor Tierney had the best of life. He had a loving wife, a beautiful daughter until he lost his wife in an accident. A year has gone by since his wife’s death. He feel’s his daughter’s pain of loss. He knows that his daughter needs a mother, but he doesn’t want a wife. He decides to compromise. He takes a job in Harmony Village. This is where his daughter Brenna’s biological mother lives. He can’t give Brenna her mother back so maybe he can let her biological mother into her life as a sort of substitute. However, the townspeople and a certain cat named “Cupid Cat” have other ideas.
I loved this. You rode the emotional rollercoaster with the characters, yet felt the strength in their faith that whatever happened in their lives was because God wanted it.  I have to be honest and say I don’t usually read romance. However, there are a few authors who write romance in a manner I love to read.  This author is one of them.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Spirit Wind by Marilyn Meredith

Genre: Adult,Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy to facilitate my review, the opinions expressed here are my own.

It has been a month since I've written a review on my blog. We have been in the middle of state testing for the past month. It was a pleasure to read this wonderful book.  I will definitely be reading more of her work.  On April 24th the author was a guest on my blog. You can find that here.
Tempe Crabtree is a law officer and her husband a pastor. She is able to communicate with ghosts.  As she and her husband prepare for a vacation she has agreed to  help out a ghost hunter who is trying to help a woman with a spirit problem. When they arrive the police are there. It seems a murder has taken place on the property.

What made this book so wonderful is that it is the ultimate in mysteries. You have a cop who communicates with spirits, especially if they are Native Americans. You have her husband who is a pastor, yet has helped her in many cases. It seems that the two belief systems would fight each other. The great thing about this book is that you can feel the tension between Tempe and her husband. At the same time you know that he has her spiritual back. The author has created characters that you really begin to care about. For those of us who love reading about legends or Native Americans you get a great amount of it in this book. This is definitely an author you need to check out.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Final Cycle by Elaine L. Orr

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

I have found a new mystery author to love. Mystery is my favorite genre. It has been since I was in elementary school. When we are preparing for state testing, I usually agree to guest posts only. So why take on a book by an unfamiliar author? I read the premise of the book and was intrigued by a body found in a dryer. Especially since she was not well liked.  Then there is the mention of a second murder. I needed to know how they connected, if they did. This author is so talented that I had the wrong person pegged all the way through.  The characters are well thought out. I would recognize them on the street from the way they are portrayed. The setting is so realistic I asked my husband if it was a real place, then looked it up online. It could be any number of small towns in southern Illinois. To me this is a author who has definitely done some research to make the reader feel a part of that world. This is the second book in the "Logland Mystery Series". I have not yet read the first one, "Tip a Hat to Murder." It is next on my reading list. You don't have to read them in order as they read well as stand-a-lone books.  The third one in the series, "Final Operation", comes out June 7th. This will make a nice and early birthday gift to myself. Yes, I did pre-order it. I look forward to checking out some of this author's other books.

 Elaine L. Orr writes three mystery series. The Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series, set at the Jersey shore, includes "Behind the Walls," which was a finalist for the 2014 Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Awards. In the River's Edge mystery series, Iowa nice meets murder. "From Newsprint to Footprints," was followed by "Demise of a Devious Neighbor." The latter was a 2017 Chanticleer finalist. "Tip a Hat to Murder," the first in the Logland mystery series, was followed by "Final Cycle." A police procedural with a cozy feel

Elaine also writes plays and novellas, including the one-act, "Common Ground," published in 2015. Her novella, "Biding Time," was one of five finalists in the National Press Club's first fiction contest, in 1993. "Falling into Place" is a novella about family strength as a World War II veteran rises to the toughest occasion. "In the Shadow of Light" brings the tragedies of the U.S. Mexico border to life through the eyes of children and their parents.

Elaine conducts presentations on electronic publishing and other writing-related topics. Nonfiction includes "Words to Write By: Getting Your Thoughts on Paper" and "Writing When Time is Scarce and Getting the Work Published."

A member of Sisters in Crime, Elaine grew up in Maryland and moved to the Midwest in 1994. She graduated from the University of Dayton with a BA in Political Science and from the American University with an MA in Government. She worked for GAO and the National Academy of Public Administration for many years, and for two Iowa members of the U.S. House of Representatives -- one Republican and one Democrat.

Elaine did some journalism course work at the University of Maryland and has taken fiction courses from The Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD, the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and Georgetown University's Continuing Education Program. She is a regular attendee at the Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis and the Book Bums Workshop in West Liberty, Iowa. She has served as a preliminary judge for the Raleigh Fine Arts high school literary awards (2016-19).

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Young Adult/Adult, Memoir
Source: I purchased a copy

I often wondered how Laurie could write such raw, emotional and spot on books. After reading Shout I understood how her writing has evolved. The authentic voice in each book came out of her own pain and experiences. Shout is one of those books that reaches inside of you and grabs your guts and twists them. It is painful yet for some of us it is also a release. You know that someone has grabbed hold of your guts to help untangle them. That  is what this book does. I met Laurie years ago at an English conference. I stood in line with her book "Speak" to get it signed. I handed it to her but would not look at her. She held on to the book as she handed it back forcing me to look up at her. Then she said, "You're Melinda." My lip quivered as tears slid down my face. She hugged me and and for the first time I felt the strength to do something.  Laurie never knew how she helped me.  My abuser was a family member.  My meeting with her gave me the courage to put myself into counseling. The next time I saw that family member I pulled them aside.  They had long ago sought counseling for the incident. At the time I felt so dirty and ashamed that I didn't want anyone to know. and I didn't want anyone to talk to me about it. My mantra was, "God forgave them so it's done and over with." For me it wasn't. On that day I walked up to them and told them. "God forgave you and so have I, but I haven't dealt with it. I'm doing that right now. Understand there will days that I hate you as I go through this process. There are days you can't talk to me or hug me or anything else. I hope you will respect that."  They sidestepped and said they would do whatever to help me heal." That was not what I expected. Healing is a long process. If you read Laurie's book you will understand it. We all have to find our path and our voice.

Laurie's book is raw. It takes you through her painful life. It takes you through the events that led up to her getting her voice back. I read and thought about the different people and events in my own life that paralleled hers. My family life unlike hers was not as volatile.  My parents were very strict Christians. This is one reason I suffered so long. As Christians we were told you  don't talk about certain things. You let things go and let God handle it.  I walked through each painful moment with her.  When she is accepted as an exchange student she became a new person. She was away from her old life and was given  the opportunity to see what a healthy life is like. She was given the strength to grow and become the person she is today. This event put her on the path to healing. It is never done and over but you gain the strength to move on.

I know of no other author who's books have helped both students and adults as much as Laurie's books. I highly recommend her book "Shout".  It explains so much about the other books. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Shaker Murders by Eleanor Kuhns

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

Fresh from facing allegations of witchcraft and murder, travelling weaver Will Rees, his heavily pregnant wife Lydia and six adopted children take refuge in Zion, a Shaker community in rural Maine. Shortly after their arrival, screams in the night reveal a drowned body ... but is it murder or an unfortunate accident? The Shaker Elders argue it was just an accident, but Rees believes otherwise.

As Will investigates further, more deaths follow and a young girl vanishes from the community. Haunted by nightmares for his family's safety, Rees must rush to uncover the truth before the dreams can become reality and more lives are lost. Yet can the Shaker Elders be trusted, or is an outsider involved?

My Thoughts:
Mysteries are one of my favorite genres, and has been since I was in elementary school. Eleanor Kuhns is a master at writing mysteries that hold your attention from the very first page.  Will and his wife Lydia have gone back to the Shaker community they had once been a part of because his wife Lydia was still wanted, accused of witchcraft.  When people in the village start going missing, then turn up murdered, Rees is sure it is someone in the village. How safe is his family?  The events just kept me turning the pages.  Like all of her books, the action keeps rolling at a great pace. The end was just as suspenseful. I kept trying to guess who the murderer was. Each time I thought I had it figured out something else would happen to lead me in a different direction.  I highly recommend this series.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Spark by J.T. Bishop

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

From Goodreads
Eve Fletcher is on the run. She’s hiding from the men who’ve killed her boss. But she’s not alone. A man she barely knows is with her, and she must decide whom to trust. But Eve has more than her life at stake. She’s protecting secrets too. Secrets that if exposed could risk not only her, but her entire family. But everyone has secrets, including the man who refuses to leave her side. 

With time running out, Eve must choose whether to bring her boss’s murderers to justice. But she’s falling for the mysterious man with his own suspicious motives. Can she risk loving him or will his presence threaten the family she’s trying so hard to protect? 

Family whose survival depends on keeping secrets

My Thoughts
I had not read any of her other books, that is being corrected. It didn’t  create any confusion by starting with this book. I liked Eve and her independence. I also like Benny who took care of Eve like she was his own daughter.  Adam was the icing on the cake.
Watching Eve who wants to be so independent have to decide to pair up with and rely on Adam was at times humorous. The author keeps the suspense going from the very beginning. I couldn’t put the book down.  This was a new author for me. The way the book ended tied everything up neatly, but left just enough suspense to want to know what will happen next to these characters.  This is a book I highly recommend to those who love suspense.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King

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

This was a great and complex book.  Maisey Addington has little confidence in herself. As a single mother she believes that is the only thing she has ever done right. She receives a call about her mother being in a coma. They suspect her father had something to do with it since they found him sitting on the bed with her.  He had failed to call for help. He claims she wanted to die. They all realize there is something else going on with him.  Maisey had a strained relationship with her mother. She has no way to prove her mother wished to die because her mother’s papers were destroyed by her father. It had been quite some time since she had seen her mother.  He destroyed the paper telling her last wishes while he was trying to protect a long-held secret. Maisey discovers she has a twin sister named Marley. At her daughter’s urging she sets out to find her twin. What she learns is that her sister has known about her all along and their lives went in completely different directions.  Both of them have misconceived ideas about how things happened. Maisey remembers the trauma. This interaction gives both girls the opportunity to stand up to an abusive person in their lives.
This book was a great and realistic look at how an abusive situation can affect someone not only long term, but also generation after generation. The author took a sensitive topic and wove hope into all of it.  This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone.