Although I didn't lose the 20 pounds the book says you could lose in 4 weeks, I did lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks and I am happy with that result. The inf...moreAlthough I didn't lose the 20 pounds the book says you could lose in 4 weeks, I did lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks and I am happy with that result. The information in the book is very informative and it also includes many 100 and 150 calorie snacks along with soup and smoothie recipes.
The technique is basically carb cycling which Dr. Ian Smith explains very well in the book. Each week has different meal plans that are outlined specifically to maximize your metabolism. I will definitely do this program in the future and I will use what I learned in my everyday healthy eating lifestyle.
Dr. Ian is also on Twitter and is available for guidance. He answered my question in the first week of dieting within 2 hours. Though I didn't lose 20 pounds, I'm still happy with the 10 I did lose and I'm happy I'm back into my favorite jeans!
If you're wanting to lose some weight in a short amount of time in a healthy way, you should give Super Shred a try. (less)
I know I'm very late in reading the work of mystery/suspense writer Karin Slaughter, but all I can say is better late than never. I love that all of h...moreI know I'm very late in reading the work of mystery/suspense writer Karin Slaughter, but all I can say is better late than never. I love that all of her stories take place in Atlanta, Slaughter's home town, and of course, I've heard so much about her highly acclaimed Grant County Series. In keeping with my decision to read less review books and focus more on books I've always wanted to read, I decided to start with KS's later spin-off series from 2006, Will Trent. TRIPTYCH starts the series off with a bang!
Michael Ormewood, a long-time detective with the Atlanta PD, is investigating the rape and murder of a known prostitute that lives in the projects. Its a disturbing crime scene made even more gruesome with the realization that the victim's tongue had been bitten off during the attack. Will Trent, with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, has been sent in to assist on the case. The puzzling part is that there have been two other cases of young girls being raped and their tongues bitten off, but they were not murdered like the last victim. And the prostitute, Aleesha Monroe, was in her forties. Soon, there's another victim: a fifteen-year-old who may have been raped before she died. Her tongue, however, was cut off, not bitten and the shocking part is this victim is Michael Ormewood's next door neighbor.
Will and Michael work together to figure out who the perpetrator of these horrific crimes is, but Michael resents Will's intrusion and Will doesn't care for Michael. Meanwhile, there's an ex-convict who was recently released from prison after serving two decades for raping and murdering a fifteen year-old girl back in 1985. And the fact that the victim's tongue was bitten off is too much of a coincidence to ignore.
I'll just get right to it and say that though this was a gruesome story, I loved this first book of the series. Admittedly, I don't read a lot of books like this, but it was a nice change of pace for me and was exactly what I was in the mood for. I have noticed, however that some reviewers haven't rated this book very high, but I gave it 5 stars. In my opinion, a good thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat and this book did that for me. I could not stop reading and when I had to stop, I couldn't wait to get back to it. I was so immersed in the story and so connected to the characters that I lost all track of time. My favorite thing was the story telling style of KS. I appreciated and enjoyed how she would reveal certain revelations throughout the book. That made it possible for me to have many AHA moments. But I will say, not to be stereotypical or anything, if I didn't already know the author was a woman, I would've sworn this book was written by a man. That is also one of the interesting aspects for me as I read this book. Also, when I read a thriller/mystery, I want to be shocked and surprised. I don't want to see everything coming at me. I hate predictability and this book was not predictable. There were many moments where I sat there with my mouth hanging open. For me, that's a great thriller/mystery novel. TRIPTYCH gave me all of that. I'm not saying its the perfectly written book, or there's nothing out there like it, but it had everything in it to make it a great thriller! Thats all I can ask from a writer.(less)
I give this book 3 1/2 stars. When I first started reading, I was unsure if I was going to like it. Adele, the mother, seemed a bit off to me and I had...moreI give this book 3 1/2 stars. When I first started reading, I was unsure if I was going to like it. Adele, the mother, seemed a bit off to me and I had trouble relating to her and the way she lived her life. Thankfully, as the story went on I began learning more about her background and I understood her a little better. Though I still thought she was a bit odd. Additionally, in the beginning, the story just didn't sound all that realistic to me. That said, Frank did come across as a likable guy once you knew the real story of how he ended up in prison and I did like how he related to Henry and taught him things. But the fact that this man had so much power over them was just strange to me. I still have trouble accepting it as realistic sometimes when I think back on it.
For me, this is one of those books that slowly got better and by the end, I was glad that I'd decided to finally read it. I did really like the ending, though it was a sad and strange story. I am looking forward to seeing the movie to see how they interpret it for the big screen. Maybe it will come across a bit more realistic to me. Plus, there's the Josh Brolin thing....
Though I did end up enjoying the book, I can't say it's one of my favorites or one that I would recommend highly. If I'm completely honest, I just don't relate to all the hype this book garnered when it was first released. For me, it was okay but I didn't love it. (less)
Admittedly, I stepped away from Grisham's novels several years ago after reading eighteen of them as soon as they each were published. I was one of hi...moreAdmittedly, I stepped away from Grisham's novels several years ago after reading eighteen of them as soon as they each were published. I was one of his biggest fans. Then suddenly, I wasn't loving them as much as I once had. I'm not sure if I grew tired of the stories or if the stories grew tiresome, but when SYCAMORE ROW came out recently, something about it sparked an interest in me that hadn't been there in awhile. I had to read it.
When A TIME TO KILL came out, though it was Grisham's first novel, it wasn't released until after THE FIRM, so I was already a huge fan. Jake Brigance was a terrific character in that book and was made even bigger when Matthew McConaughey brought him to life on the big screen in the motion picture. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see that character been brought back for this novel.
The first paragraph of the book grabbed me right away. The visual Grisham painted was stunning, and not in a good way. It set the bar high for my expectations from that point on. The story takes place three years after the infamous trial where we first met Jake and I felt it was perfectly suited for the story and made it all seem like a natural progression.
Seth Hubbard's story was engaging and, like all Grisham novels, methodically told. There were a lot of facts and they were brought out in a well-timed manner. Grisham is a wonderful storyteller and I enjoyed being taken back into the lives of some of the people of Clanton, Mississippi and to also see that time doesn't move as quickly down there in that small southern town.
John Grisham has always had a knack for creating remarkable characters that enrich his stories and that was proven once again here. He brought back a few from the first Brigance novel and introduced some new faces that were equally as entertaining. I found myself matching the voices of the character from the book to the actors I remembered from the earlier film, probably because I was listening to an audiobook and it just seemed to flow that way naturally for me. Speaking of the audio vesrion, I can't say enough about Michael Beck, who did the narration for this book. He was amazing! He did all the voices and did them so well. I remember him as an actor as well so it was nice to have that familiar connection with him.
I don't know if Grisham has more books planned for Jake Brigance, but since he's calling SYCAMORE ROW book two, I'm assuming there will be more to come. If so, I will definitely be on board. In fact, I'd also love to see Matthew McConaughey reprise his role...but maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part!
The bottom line is that I really enjoyed this book and it made me realize how much I'd missed John Grisham. I have many of his later novels but haven't read them. Maybe its time I give them a try. if you're looking for an engrossing book written by a master story teller I highly recommend SYCAMORE ROW. (less)
This review is written by a close friend, also an avid reader. These are his thoughts on this book that admittedly was rough to read at times but well...moreThis review is written by a close friend, also an avid reader. These are his thoughts on this book that admittedly was rough to read at times but well worth it.
(No Spoilers Included) A few months back I started seeing a lot of buzz about Wiley Cash from my other Southern Lit lovers. Surprisingly, I had not hea...more(No Spoilers Included) A few months back I started seeing a lot of buzz about Wiley Cash from my other Southern Lit lovers. Surprisingly, I had not heard of this author until then, so I looked into his work and saw that he had a new book, THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY that hadn't been released yet, but his debut novel, A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME was getting a lot of positive reviews, not to mention, it was the type of book I love to read..
The story takes place in the small North Carolina town of Marshall, in 1986 and is centered around three complex narrators who tell this story of family, faith and betrayal.. First, there's Abigail, an elderly woman who has seen a lot in her 80-something years who has strong religious beliefs that she isn't afraid to stand up for. Then there's Jess, a nine-year old boy, living with his mother, father and older brother, Stump, who was born mute and has never spoken a word. The last narrator is Clem, the local sheriff, who knows loss first hand yet does his very best to serve the people of Marshall in a fair way, even though he doesn't agree with some of the ways of certain townspeople.
Jess and Stump's mother, Julie, had a very religious upbringing and even though her husband, Ben, didn't share her conviction and dedication to the church, she attended services several times a week. Neither Ben nor the boys ever accompanied her to the her church. But one day after the boys saw something they weren't meant to see, Julie was convinced by a church elder to bring Stump to church with her for a healing. Jess was upset by this but felt he couldn't tell his mother the truth as to why he felt so strongly about it for fear of getting he and his brother in trouble and upsetting his parents.
Abigail had stopped attending the church ten years prior after the shocking death of one of its parishioners during one of its unusual worship services led by Pastor Chambliss. She felt so strongly about what was going on behind those blacked-out windows that she even moved the children's Sunday school classes outside the church. Abigail didn't agree with Pastor Chambliss' ways, nor did she trust him so she kept her distance. But when there's another death at the church, the trouble lands on her doorstep and she can't ignore the truth any longer.
As Sheriff, Clem always tries to keep the peace but the events that took place during that Sunday evening service, and the subsequent fallout, put him in the middle of a very volatile situation. He must find answers before more lives are lost but getting people to talk proves very difficult. To complicate matters, Clem comes face to face with a man he hasn't seen in years and who bring with him very painful memories from his own tragic past.
One thing I liked about his novel is the three very different perspectives each narrator brought. The young innocence of Jess, the wise voice of Abigail and the calm and quiet manner of Clem work together so beautifully, though I would have to say that Clem is my favorite narrator. He's such a likable and fair character and I couldn't help but feel drawn to him.
I'm sure most people can't imagine the kind of worshipping that went on in the church of this story, but the truth is, it is real and things like snake handling and healings do go on in southern churches even today. In fact, there was a news report just last week where a pastor was killed after being bitten by a snake during a service. I had just finished reading this book and even I was shocked by it. Though I have read several southern fiction books involving worshipping with snakes, they disturb me. That said, in my opinion, Wiley Cash did a great job bringing that element without letting it cloud the main plot line. The 1980's were an interesting time in our history, with a lot of changing going on and I enjoyed revisiting that time. I was completely absorbed and had difficult putting this one down. There was a lot of history being told by Abigail and Clem, which gave a clear understanding of where they came from and what kind of people they were. In fact, I felt there was as much background being given as was current storyline, but it didn't bother me at all because it was all very interesting and relevent to the story being told.
If anyone ever wonders why I love reading Southern Fiction so much, all they need to do is read this book and they will have their answer. Nowhere else, in my opinion, will you find deep-rooted stories of family, southern culture, past and present, and genuine characters as you find in books in this somewhat overlooked genre. Wiley Cash is my favorite 'new to me' author and I will be telling everyone I know about his work. I'm very much looking forward to reading Cash's new novel, THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY, which will be released next week. I can't encourage you enough to give this writer a try - I promise you won't be disappointed.(less)
An enlightening and thought-provoking glimpse into the possibility of connecting with the other side. If you have an open mind, you will enjoy this bo...moreAn enlightening and thought-provoking glimpse into the possibility of connecting with the other side. If you have an open mind, you will enjoy this book. I chose to listen to the audio version and though I'm still glad I did, Theresa's delivery could have been smoother. That said, I do not regret listening to this book and it didn't take away the enjoyment I got from the book. Full review: http://tinyurl.com/k644xvj(less)
This is the second book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series and it captivated me as much as the first book did. Gamache's quiet, thoughtful d...moreThis is the second book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series and it captivated me as much as the first book did. Gamache's quiet, thoughtful demeanor make it easy for the villagers of Three Pines to talk to him and reveal things they may not intend to. I love the interactions between all the characters and the slow-paced reveal of the killer. Louise Penny writes thought provoking stories that are a pleasure to get lost in. That being said, if you're looking for a fast, edge of your seat thriller, you won't find it here in this series. What you will find is a carefully revealed mystery woven around many twists and turns so that in the end, the true killer is still a surprise. (less)
Its been quite awhile since I've read anything by Dorothea Benton Frank. I've read many of her previous books and always enjoyed the stories and locat...moreIts been quite awhile since I've read anything by Dorothea Benton Frank. I've read many of her previous books and always enjoyed the stories and locations but mostly the characters. The same can be said of THE LAST ORIGINAL WIFE. The characters were very believable and most of them were likable. But I must say that the thing that really drew me to this audiobook was the incredible narration by Robin Miles. I was flitting through Audible.com's new releases one day and I sampled this book and it had me from the first sentence. Southern accents can be tricky and if not done right can put off listeners very quickly. But Ms. Miles' performance, not only of Leslie Carter, but the entire cast, including the male characters, were absolutely spot on. Les's exasperation and Wes's hostility towards his wife's change in attitude were very well done. Wes is a man used to getting his way and his wife seldom questioned him or his actions. After Les woke up and realized her life wasn't what she thought it would be at her age, she decided to do something about it and Wes was clearly not having any of it.
I loved the relationship between Les and her brother, Harlan and I really loved that she packed up and went to Charleston, one of my all-time favorite cities, to stay in his beautiful old home to re-assess her life. Honestly, I was a little jealous of Les and her lovely surroundings and the slow and casual tempo of her summer spent in her hometown.
The writing was true DBF. She made me feel like I knew this woman and I had no trouble relating to her story at all. I thought it was clever how she started off with Les and Wes each in their therapy sessions. It gave insight and background to each of the characters and it showed their personalities, both good and bad. I thought it was a interesting way to show the development of the characters.
Overall, I'm glad I took the time for this book, however,. I can't say that I was blown away by the story, though it was a completely satisfying experience for me. It is a character driven story with flair and a genuine storyline. I appreciate the bravery Ms. Frank showed in Les to go out and make her life what she wanted it to be, even after 30 years of marriage. (less)
If you're one of those people who looked at the cover and title of this book and thought it was just another flowery, story of love, you couldn't be m...moreIf you're one of those people who looked at the cover and title of this book and thought it was just another flowery, story of love, you couldn't be more wrong. This is the second Moyes book that I've read and once again, I was very pleasantly surprised by what I read and its impact on me.
ME BEFORE YOU is the unlikely story of a twenty-six year old English woman still living with her parents and elderly grandfather, struggling to help contribute to the family's income. Louisa, unlike her older sister, did not exude much independence and drive, so her parents didn't expect a lot out of her in the long term. She put up with her father's constant teasing and light-hearted put downs and for the most part, didn't show how deeply his words wounded her. Her mother made up for her father's insults by offering non-stop complacency with Louisa's choices. When Louisa lost her job at a local coffee shop she was forced to scour the limited workforce. Reluctantly she took a job working as a companion for a local wealthy family looking after their grown son who had suffered a life changing accident two years prior. Once a hard-nosed, thrill seeking, successful executive, Will Traynor was now confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.
Will Traynor was an impossible man who seemed to take pleasure in being harsh to Louisa and making her feel completely inadequate for even the simplest of tasks. Lou, as she was often called, wanted to quit right away but her sister Katrina guilted her into staying on, especially after their father lost his job at a local furniture factory. She was making good money taking care of this man and if she quit now she would be hurting her family. Lou decided that the only way to deal with Will was to stand up to his bad attitude. As time went on, progress was made and they even developed a kind of comfortableness with each other.
When Louisa overheard a conversation with Will's mother and sister, it became clear to her why they had only hired her for a six month contract. This information disturbed Louisa and went against everything she believed in. She felt completely helpless and felt she couldn't discuss it with anyone, considering the legal ramifications it entailed. Neither her family nor her boyfriend realized the stress she was under and when she finally confided in her sister, a plan was devised. Lou made it her mission to make Will see that his life was not over. To complicate matters, Lou's close proximity to Will's every personal need created a closeness that became second nature for her. She was also spending more time with Will than her own boyfriend, Patrick.
Lou is fighting time and battling a decision, that frankly, she has no right to change. This is Will's life and she must find a way to come to terms with it, but she vows never to give up until the very end.
Though this is a story of love, it is only secondarily a love story, in my opinion. This incredible story is told from a unique perspective and goes beyond the outer surface to the very difficult and controversial topic of assisted suicide. That being said, there is even more than that. Through her complicated relationship with Will, Louisa also learns so much about herself, as does her family. I like that they begins to see her in a different light and even gives her the respect she deserves for the difficult job she has. The compassion is not all one-sided either. Will, even in his most vulnerable state, is able to help Lou overcome an event in her past that has, until this point, shaped her life. The beauty of this story for me was the unexpected gift of self discovery that Will is able to give Lou. The impact he has on her life changed her drastically and will stay with her forever.
This is a complicated, layered story that is anything but a typical romance. As with the previous Moyes book I read, THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND, I was completely immersed and satisfied with the story. I chose the audio version of this title and I felt it was superbly done. The narration was done by several different people and they all had fantastic performances.
Jojo Moyes is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and one that I will not miss in the future. This book is totally different than the earlier one I read and it shows her versatility. Some writers stick to the same theme or technique throughout their career and though there is nothing wrong with that, Jojo Moyes has surprised me twice and that makes me want to read more from her.
I couldn't recommend this book more, whether in print or audio. It is an absorbing, interesting novel that deserves all of the accolades my fellow readers and reviewers have given it. If you're looking for a good book to lose yourself in, you must read ME BEFORE YOU.(less)
'Do you believe in miracles'? Sounds like a simple question, but William Ashe had no idea how important his answer would be to Shandi. It would change...more'Do you believe in miracles'? Sounds like a simple question, but William Ashe had no idea how important his answer would be to Shandi. It would change her life. And his. Forever.
Plain and simple, this is my favorite Jackson novel yet. The storyline is amazing centering around Natty, an extremely bright 3-yr old boy, his teenage mother and the broken man they meet in a jiffy store who will change their lives, and his own, forever. This is so much more than a love story and its one of my favorites of the year.
In STILL LIFE, the first book of the series, veteran Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, with the Surete du Quebec, is called to a crime scene on Thanksgi...moreIn STILL LIFE, the first book of the series, veteran Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, with the Surete du Quebec, is called to a crime scene on Thanksgiving Day to the small village of Three Pines outside of Montreal where an elderly woman has been killed, possibly murdered, by an arrow through the heart. Gamache and his team quickly descend on the tight-knit community and begin their investigation. With it being hunting season, the suspect list starts out very broad, but as Gamache observes the residents and gets to know some of them, important clues come to light. On top of heading this disturbing investigation, he is also tasked with training a new recruit to his team, Agent Nichol. Though she first appeared bright and promising, she soon shows her immaturity and lack of respect to both the residents of Three Pines and to Gamache, himself. For reasons that are beyond some, Gamache continues to try to help her learn not only how to be a good investigator, but also to learn something of herself as well.
I am so happy that I found this series! When I was on Goodreads, I noticed that several of my friends had read it and really enjoyed it and I wondered how I'd missed it. The characters, especially the chief inspector completely drew me in. Gamache has a fatherly sense to him that makes you instantly trust him to do what's right. What I also enjoyed was getting to know the different residents of Three Pines and their quirks. Some of them are likable right away, while others were not likable at all to me. But they were all so believable and they each added to the story.
Speaking of story - Louise Penny sure knows how to write a compelling tale. Let me be clear, this is not a fast-paced who-dun-it. It is a slower paced, methodical mystery that patiently weaves through time and character to create a suspenseful outcome. I also have to mention that I love the title of this first book, STILL LIFE. Before reading it I thought I knew what the title meant, but as I read on, other meanings began to develop in my mind. A great title always gives me an added appreciation for the author and their work that was definitely the case here.(less)
Sure Signs of Crazy has a young protagonist that reaches in and grabs your heart. Sarah Nelson is also the narrator and Harrington does a fantastic jo...moreSure Signs of Crazy has a young protagonist that reaches in and grabs your heart. Sarah Nelson is also the narrator and Harrington does a fantastic job of writing this sensitive story from her twelve-year old perspective. In my opinion, she nailed it. She may be young and unsure of herself, but Sarah is bright, articulate and she loves words, which makes her even more endearing to me.
As a young adult novel, this is a home run, even with the difficult subject matter, but Sarah's story is appealing to mature readers as well. Her family has suffered a tragedy and since Sarah feels like she can't talk to anybody about it, she writes letters to someone she trusts, even if that person isn't real. Her conversations with Atticus have a child's honesty in them. I loved reading those letters.
Another part of the story I loved was Sarah's friendship with elderly next door neighbor, Mrs. Dupree. That was an unexpected nugget and it even reminded me of a relationship I shared with an older neighbor after moving to Florida and not knowing anyone. That was one of my favorite parts of the book. I also loved another neighbor, Finn. What a great character! Even though he is nineteen and obviously much older than Sarah, he took the time to realize that she was a very intelligent girl. He was kind and he made time for her.
There is so much about this book that I loved. It was engaging, had great characters and the story was believable. The issues Sarah deals with are so current: peer pressure, single parenthood, alcoholism - all dealt with very well in this book. Sarah also has a great sense of humor and the way she explained things made me laugh sometimes. I think this is a great book for young readers. In fact, I'm giving a copy to my friend's 13-yr old daughter, who also enjoys reading, with the hope that she will share it with her friends.
It doesn't even matter if you haven't read JANEOLOGY, although I highly recommend it! This is a great second novel for Karen Harrington. It proves to me that there is a definite place for her in the literary world and I'm excited to see what's next from her. I'd like to thank Karen for sending me an advance copy of this terrific book. I enjoyed it immensely. (less)
I am always on the lookout for a new mystery series and I was particularly happy to find this one because its a paranormal mystery. Since I enjoyed So...moreI am always on the lookout for a new mystery series and I was particularly happy to find this one because its a paranormal mystery. Since I enjoyed Sookie Stackhouse so much I was on the lookout for something along those lines. Well, I believe I've found it with Stacy Justice.
Stacy lives in Amethyst, Illinois, where she works as a journalist for the local paper. Her grandmother, Birdie, and two great-aunts run a bed and breakfast there and another aunt owns the bakery. Her best friend and cousin, Cinnamon, runs one of the local bars called The Black Opal.
Amethyst is a close-knit town but the residents tend to raise their eyebrows at Stacy's family for their strange beliefs. You see, they are witches. They don't flaunt their actions but they have been known to hold odd ceremonies with their capes, chanting strange verses from time to time. Though Stacy isn't sure she believes all the witch stuff, she loves her family dearly, so she listens with an open mind, albeit a skeptical one. She hasn't fully accepted the fact that her elders believe she has powers of her own.
Being the investigative reporter she is, when The Black Opal mysteriously catches fire and almost burns down, Stacy does everything she can to find out what happened. Things get complicated when a body is discovered in the cellar of the bar and Stacy begins to experience some not-so-natural episodes. The closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous it becomes for her and her family.
This book turned out to be exactly what I thought it would be: A fun story with a good mystery, entertaining characters and a little magic thrown in. Its not over-the-top with the paranormal element, which I like. Its a quick read that has a lot of humor throughout. I laughed out loud many times. The dynamic between Stacy and her cousin, Cinnamon, is loving and well-worn. By that I mean, its obvious these two have been close for a long time and they know everything about each other, the way best friends do.
Along with the mystery of the fire and the dead body in the basement, the end of the book sets up what will surely be a big part of future installments. I enjoyed reading this first book and I'm sure I will continue with the series.
Though I rated this book 3 stars, technically that means 'I Liked It' and I hope it doesn't deter anyone from reading it. I believe the next installment will be even better than the first. (less)