Monthly Archives: September 2014

Teaser Tuesday: September 30th

Hello!  Thanks for coming by today.  I just finished this book for which I chose a teaser from for today, review coming soon.  Although I’m having a hard time figuring out how to write this one.  It’s non-fiction but reads like fiction.  And since it was/is a true story – I can’t really critique the story line and/or characters…stay tuned for what I come up with!

This teaser is from 31 Days by Marcia Gloster and was provided to me as a pre-release review (kinda missed the release date of 9/16/14 though – oops!) by The Story Plant. (Click on book to see description)

 “Have I fallen in love with him, or was this some sort of addiction?
Does it matter?
Is one any better or worse than the other?”
(p.296)

Thanks for stopping by and please leave your teaser in the comments!  See you next week!

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Teaser Tuesday: September 23rd

Hello!  Happy Tuesday!  And Happy Fall officially!  I’m sitting at a coffee shop sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte as I write this!

This week I’m simultaneously publishing the review for this book with its teaser.  This book messed with my head like no other, and still has me thinking about that.  I went back and forth and decided that was a good thing!  Check out the review here of The Girl from Nowhere by Christopher Finch, and check out my teaser below!

 

“Was anything real?  Now I seemed to be running in slow motion, as if some half-assed B-movie dream sequence, stumbling every few yards.”
(92% into book)

Thanks for stopping by and please leave your teaser in the comments!  See you next week!

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Book Review: The Girl from Nowhere by Christopher Finch

The Girl from Nowhere (click on book or see below for description)
By Christopher Finch
Released 9/16/14
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 5 nights.  [Insert profanity here]  Seriously, this book was crazy and its making me want to use inappropriate words.  I’m still stewing over whether that is good or not – maybe as I write this review it will become clearer (it did).  It was very well written in that I could not put it down, but the subject matter was unsettling, to say the least.  I would have finished it earlier if I could have kept my eyes open that long.  And I should have because where I left it the night before I finished with 10% left, was not a settling point.  I had nightmares about it.

As I’m reading back the book description (see below), I’m not going to plead ignorance on this one, it promises action, suspense, mystery, but where this book went, I never would have guessed.  Not even if given a million guesses.  Which was a nice break from predictable books, but this one just messed with my head.

So to get to the story – I started by being a bit annoyed this was a sequel to Good Girl, Bad Girl (personal preference – I don’t like series). In reading the description for that book, it also seems like it would also provide a very exciting story, and is probably one I would read as well.  So sequel in this sense appears to maybe just have the same main character, Alex Novalis, in the same 1960’s New York City setting.  The book begins pretty dramatically with Alex being suddenly approached on the street as asked to be kissed by Sandy, whose life is being threatened, and who upon further conversation is “the girl from nowhere.”  Interest peaked and drawn into Sandy’s world, Alex, a private investigator by trade, delves into the life of this girl from nowhere.

Sandy’s world is anything but ordinary as Alex is warned to stay away from her, followed, threatened, kidnapped, and so many more disturbing twists and turns as he investigates.  This is the kind of book I could probably re-read a few times to pick up all the details, as I found myself frantically turning pages to find out what happened next that I was pretty confused at some points.  And at others trying to figure out who could come up with this stuff as it was almost surreal to me at point.  Sandy is pictured as a sweet, wholesome girl, albeit a stripper, that draws people in (especially Alex but lots of others), but has a dangerous side that kept me, the reader, on my feet, what could it be, just where is nowhere, and what is her story?

I’ll stop before I’m tempted to divulge too much, this is the kind of book you need to experience for yourself.  Are you up for the ride?  I’d love to hear about it.

Description from Amazon:

“I’m being followed,” she said. “I think he wants to kill me.”

When a panicked young woman slips her hand into his in 1960s Chinatown, just before a knife-wielding stalker attacks, private eye Alex Novalis finds his cherished hard-boiled persona threatened by a romantic streak that has a habit of getting him into trouble. Sandy Smollett is triple trouble—a stripper who comes on like the girl next door and has a way of bending the truth to suit any occasion. Novalis finds her irresistible.

It doesn’t help that her mobster boss, a sleazy politico, and an attorney brandishing an envelope stuffed with cash all warn Novalis that Sandy is strictly off limits. Things don’t get easier when Novalis finds a dead man in her apartment, or when they both are kidnapped by homicidal thugs. Who is Sandy Smollett? For once she tells the truth when she tells Novalis, “I’m the Girl from Nowhere.”

Christopher Finch’s sophisticated sequel to Good Girl, Bad Girl unfolds against the background of a volatile era of social upheaval.

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Book Review: The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg


The Moonlight Palace (click book or see below for description)
By Liz Rosenberg
Releases 10/1/14
Downloaded free through Kindle First Program – September 2014

Rating:4 bones

Finish Time: 5-6 nights.  I was excited to see a historical fiction read on the Kindle First list for September and this month has (you still have time to get one Prime members!) some pretty good selections compared to some past ones.  Upon my highly technical Google search, I learned that this was actually a true historical fiction in that the Kampong Glam Palace (pictured below in present day) does exist and was under control of Sultan Hussein. This story follows Agnes Hussein, a direct descendant of said Sultan, who appears to be fictional.

Malay Heritage Centre, Istana Kampong Glam 3, Dec 05.JPG

17-year-old Agnes “Aggie” and random family members reside in the now crumbling Kampong Glam Palace in Singapore in the 1920’s.  At first appearing naive, then coming into her own as the story proceeds, she makes it her mission to save her family’s home.  The story contains a vibrant cast of characters ranging from her Uncle Chachi, to Nei-Nei Up and Nei-Nei down.  Throw in a British Grandfather, some palace employees and boarders, along with a few outsiders, this story was full of drama from start to finish.

I really had a vivid picture of this crumbling palace around them (not at all like the picture above!) Almost everyone seemed to accept their situation, but Aggie knew there was something more and was determined to save her family.  A bit of mystery was thrown in at the end and left me wanting so much more when it was over.

Sequel?  I hope so, I felt like it ended well, yet left so much to be desired.  Thanks Amazon for a great September selection!

Description from Amazon:

Agnes Hussein, descendant of the last sultan of Singapore and the last surviving member of her immediate family, has grown up among her eccentric relatives in the crumbling Kampong Glam palace, a once-opulent relic given to her family in exchange for handing over Singapore to the British.

Now Agnes is seventeen and her family has fallen into genteel poverty, surviving on her grandfather’s pension and the meager income they receive from a varied cast of boarders. As outside forces conspire to steal the palace out from under them, Agnes struggles to save her family and finds bravery, love, and loyalty in the most unexpected places. The Moonlight Palace is a coming-of-age tale rich with historical detail and unforgettable characters set against the backdrop of dazzling 1920s Singapore.

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Book Review: Fantastik by C.A. McGroarty


Fantastik (click book or see below for description)
By C.A. McGroarty
Released 6/5/14
Downloaded free through Amazon on 8/28/14

Rating: 3 bones

Finish Time: 5 nights.  It took me a few nights to figure out what was going on in this book.  It was an impulse download, I tend to do that when I have too many books in my queue, that I don’t know where to start.  Weird, I know.  I had trouble getting into this – and maybe was only reading a little at a time, so it took me until about halfway through to realize that was kind of the point – the main character of this book didn’t even know what he was doing!

I’m all for trusting your gut, but Charlie Boone had some deeper issues and his gut was making him do some crazy things.  Even his wife would agree.  It takes a little for Charlie and Jake’s paths to cross, but when they do, hang on for a wild ride.  From two different worlds are these two men, but they both learn and grow from each other in a quite unexpected journey.

Charlie, product of a rough childhood, is having dreams and visions of things he cannot decipher.  But when he meets Jake Mott, things become a little clearer, in that he knows he is supposed to follow him.  Jake, just released from prison, where he was for 30 years, just wants some quiet and time to readjust to society.  But when Charlie is persistent, knows things no one else ever knew, and predicts certain events, Jake just can’t say no.

It was an interesting story that had me cringing at times yet warmed my heart at others.  It was part mystery what Charlie’s visions would reveal.  Part self-discovery for both characters and even a little faith thrown in, which I love, especially when it is not expected.  And even a little love between Charlie and his wife.  I don’t even want to mention the ending, but I will say it was satisfying yet heartbreaking at the same time.

Overall a good story, I went with 3 bones because it was hard to get into and simply comparing it to other books that held my interest a letter better, but not a bad free read.

Description from Amazon:

Charlie Boone, a city bus driver and the bastard son of a schizophrenic woman, still lives in his boyhood home with his wife and two kids and cares for the ailing mother who made him promise…he’d never let them take her away.

But Charlie’s unfortunate childhood isn’t the only thing haunting him. Tormented by unsettling dreams and disturbing visions of his own, he now finds himself on the brink of insanity, and the thought that he shares the same affliction as his mother is beginning to look like a reality. The prospect of losing his wife Lisa and their two boys has him desperate for answers.

Jake Mott, an ex-con, has spent the last three decades in a maximum security prison for killing a man in cold blood. Still struggling with the guilt of his youth and life in the free world, he is planning a trip to California to reclaim a bag of money he buried thirty years ago.

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Teaser Tuesday: September 16th

Hello!  Happy Tuesday!  And almost Happy Fall here in beautiful OH!  Chilly mornings have us pulling out the jackets already.  As I updated last week – I’ve been reading a lot, just slacking on reviews.  But I was able to complete these 2 since last Tuesday:  (and hopefully more to come on a regular basis.)

The Seventh Mother by Sheri Wood Emmons.  NetGalley Read.
Released 7/29/14. 4 bones.
The Children Act by Ian McEwan.
NetGalley Read.  Released 9/9/14. 3 bones.

And my teasers this week is from September’s Kindle First read The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg – back in my comfort zone of historical fiction!  Click on the book for description.  They are only a few sentences apart – I like the first one and the second is a little intro to the main character, plot of the story!

 “Let’s agree right here at the outset that memory is made up of one part perception, one part intuition, and one part true invention.”

“Because I was orphaned at such a young age – I had not yet started school – I believe my relatives thought that any discussion of that past might harm me, even the distant past.  So I became a detective early.  I hunted for linking bits and corners and put together something that looks like this:”
(5% into book)

Thanks for stopping by and please leave your teaser in the comments!  See you next week!

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Book Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan


The Children Act
By Ian McEwan
Releases 9/9/14
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones

Finish Time: A few nights.  I’ve sat on this one for a little too long, that I’ll apologize for the lack of specifics in this review.  It was an interesting read, but maybe too smart for me.  Not sure if that makes sense, but I felt like I was skimming over some of the parts that were just too high level for me (or didn’t hold my interest).  It lacked emotion for me too, so didn’t feel as invested as I do with other stories.  The author may have been going for that, but my taste (in books) is maybe for a bit more drama and more opportunities to stir up emotion in the reader, which I felt this book had it’s fair share to do so.

As you can read in the description below, the book centers around Fiona, a High Court judge, center of a controversial trial, all while her home life is falling apart.  You feel a bit for her there and maybe some of it can hit home, but again I felt it was very logically approached versus emotionally.  Which makes sense, in that Fiona is a judge (although it’s still her life).  And the current case she has to apply just those standards.  The decision is hers alone on whether a Jehovah’s Witness patient, 17 years old, should be allowed to make his own decision regarding his medical care.  Just a few weeks shy of 18 and complete power to make this decision, does he know the true ramifications of his decision?  It’s quite the debate and very interesting to see both sides of the debate and waiting on her ruling.

Once the ruling was made, I maybe was hoping for more of a riot…not saying by which side, but both were strongly supported/opposed, maybe opportunity for more drama?  And then I almost thought after the ruling was made, the story just moved along.  But thankfully it was brought back into focus and without spoilers, continued.  The ending, well, let’s just say it’s not how most books end and was a bit shocking.

I’d like to read other books by this author, because I have heard wonderful things.  But in my personal opinion, just what a review is, this book doesn’t have me shouting off the rooftops.  It was incredibly well written, contained a controversial subject matter, definitely kept the pages turning and reader engaged, just missing something for me.  I’d love to hear what you think though!

Description from Amazon:

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude, and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—and encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

 

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Book Review: The Seventh Mother by Sherri Wood Emmons

The Seventh Mother
By Sherri Wood Emmons
Released 7/29/14
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 4 nights.  I’ll have to admit – I put this book off for a while.  Obviously I had requested it, as it peaked my interest, but then I started worrying that the subject matter might be too rough.  Being a mom of young kids (or really just a human) the thought of a child not having 2 loving parents just hurts my heart.  So I put it off, but I did finally read it, and I’m glad I did.

The story centers around Jenny, an eleven-year old being raised by her father, Brannon.  Her mother died when she was just three and since then they have moved around a lot and with new “mothers”, really just girlfriends of Brannon.  But after a while each one would leave and they would move onto the next job opportunity in their mobile home.  While Jenny was subjected to hearing some things that were not appropriate for a child her age, I was pleasantly surprised that she spoke fondly of most of the women in her life (but what she liked about them or how they treated her).  I guess I had in my head with that many women in and out that there would have been some abuse – but there was not thankfully.  Brannon really raised her well, had her home/computer schooled and really doted on her.  Albeit more independent and granted more freedom than my kids will have at that age, but loved and cared for for the most part.  Just longing for stability and a home, which still hurts the heart.

Enter Emma, the best of them all according to Jenny.  I guess, like the others, moved in pretty quickly with her dad.  Jenny would pray that she would stick around and not leave like the others.  The reader gets glimpses of why the others may have left and I’ll just say my guesses were not quite on the ball and the story develops into the quite the thriller, even mystery maybe.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but this book took a turn that I was not expecting, made for a great read, and depending on how you look at it, had a good ending.

So all in all, I’m glad I finally read this book.  It will pull at your heartstrings a bit, but hang on for the ride, and it’s an enjoyable read.

Description from NetGalley:

The summer that her father falls in love with Emma, Jenny Bohner is just turning eleven. Jenny was three when her mother died, and since then Brannon Bohner has traveled with his daughter from one seasonal job to another, picking up girlfriends along the way. Cara, Ami, Trish–all were sweet and kind, but none ever stayed for long. Somehow Emma is different, traveling with them from Idaho to Kentucky, filling Jenny with hopes of a real family at last.

Emma’s warmth and optimism are contagious, defusing Brannon’s flashes of temper and making their first weeks together everything Jenny has dreamed of. Yet something still troubles her, surfacing through years of memories–tempting her from within boxes Jenny has been told never to touch, filled with hidden mementoes from long ago. And somewhere among them Jenny will find answers that compel her to choose–between the home she longs for, the love she craves, and the hard truth she can no longer ignore. . .

 

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Teaser Tuesday: September 9th (and update!)

I missed last week again, I’ll blame that on the holiday!  This week – with school starting, I am going to TRY and catch up and get everything (included blogging) on a schedule again…we’ll see, but that’s the PLAN!  At the very least I want to try to review my NetGalley reads, since that is a wonderful service that I hope to continue to use to preview and review great pre-release novels!  But for now, since my last review, here are the books I have read and my bone rating of them.  Reviews may be coming soon.

Portrait of a Girl by Dorthe Binkert.  August Kindle First Read.
Released 9/1/14.  3 bones.
The Seventh Mother by Sheri Wood Emmons.  NetGalley Read.
Released 7/29/14. 4 bones.
The Children Act by Ian McEwan.
NetGalley Read.  Releases 9/9/14 (today!). 3 bones.
Just Destiny by Theresa Rizzo.  Amazon free download.
Released 3/28/14.  4 bones.

And my teaser is from a book that I picked up off of Amazon for free.  Been back and forth on whether I’m engaged in the book and my thoughts on it, but just about finished so we’ll see how it ends.  Fantastik by C.A. McGroarty (click on book for description.)

 “Embrace it.  In that instant he made an oath that the isolation and abandonment in his vision would not be his destiny.  In that moment, he committed himself to finding out the truth, to solving the mystery that was his life.  His life was falling apart, and it was only up to him to put it back together.” (18% into book.)

Hope to see you again next week, if not sooner with some reviews.  Thanks for stopping by and please leave your teaser in the comments!

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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My Lighthouse

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Happy Monday.  Back to school here in OH (finally!  I know all our GA started weeks ago!)  Looking forward to getting back into a routine and figuring out our new normal.  With that, I am hoping (but don’t hold me too it) to get back into regular blogging.  Right now this is my little outlet when the kids have quiet time to reflect on books I read, prayers I have, or really just whatever I want.  If I can reach even just one person, it is worth it, even if that person is myself!

photo (17)

One of our anthems of the summer, on repeat in the car, was “My Lighthouse” by Rend Collective.  A catchy song that you will often hear me and the kids blurting out (loudly) while driving down Lake Road with the windows down.  But one, the more I reflect on (or hear), that really has a lot of meaning and significance, now and always.  The obvious, we live at the lake now, so we do get to see lighthouses often.   But also God/Jesus as a lighthouse is a wonderful metaphor.  And then we all have opportunities to be a lighthouse to those around us.  And lastly we probably have lighthouses in our lives (other people or places that reflect the light of God on earth.)

IMG_3335

Living along Lake Erie, daily being able to catch a glimpse of the water, is an amazing thing.  But also has made me realize how many verses are centered around nautical things.  Seas, waves, fish, anchors, floods…visual reminders I see each and every day.  Trying to make a better effort to reflect on them as a message from God, who is our lighthouse, who will lead us safe to shore each and every day or with each trip through the troubled sea. (The lighthouse above is in Cleveland, the one below is in Hilton Head, SC.)

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And then today as I was thinking about this post, I read the news of Truett Cathy passing away.  Founder of Chick-fil-A, a company that I was blessed to call my work home for 5 years, and a company like none other.  Truett was a man of great faith, lead by example, humble, had a huge heart, treated his employees like friends, wanted his customers treated the same, and left this world a better place.  To me because of his values (and HIS values), Chick-fil-A, will always be a lighthouse in my life.  Especially since moving away from GA, CFA is a place that reminds me of home.  The taste, the service, the playground, even my kids are more comfortable in a Chick-fil-A restaurant than most other places.   Truett truly practiced what he/CFA stood for and left the world a better place.  Saying many extra prayers today for his family, both blood, and employees alike.  Our hearts are all much heavier today thinking of him, but have peace knowing he is rejoicing in heaven.  (The picture below was at the 2010 Christmas party in his office/treehouse.)

IMG_3061

Take a listen to the song below (I’m including the lyrics too and a bonus video if you scroll all the way down.) And reflect on this simple message of truth; God will always be there to guide you, to keep you safe, be your peace, and be the brightest light in your life, if you invite Him to do so.  Look for Him in the darkness, and He will deliver, He always does.  Amen.

My Lighthouse
Rend Collective

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
You’re great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence You won’t let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness I will follow You

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms

*Lighthouse print at very top is available on Etsy – click on picture.

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