I Admit, I've been a bad, bad girl. I have read many books since the last time I posted a review; and not a one has made it on this blog, to my AmazonI Admit, I've been a bad, bad girl. I have read many books since the last time I posted a review; and not a one has made it on this blog, to my Amazon review page, or any other sort of media. I'm not proud of my lack of structure; in fact, I've been hiding my head in shame since early May, wondering if I will ever finish my fourth book's edits, send my first book into a reprint or get my second book away from my first publisher (who I've come to despise). At first I made light of my moral failings, pretending I would soon snap back into action. It wasn't until very recently (as in yesterday) that I actually began to see the pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel that has become my life and I decided, without any more delays, to force myself back to work. But why? What could have kept you from writing for so very long...and why, when you are finally creeping back into the world of creative writing, would you chose to do it with a book review? The answer is simple: I chose this book, and this review, because like the Schofield family, I have a child who suffers from a major mental illness; and after several years of riding the roller coaster, being derailed from every path I ever foresaw, watching the best laid plans turn to ash and trying to decide who to tell and who to hide from, I finally decided I just don't care what people think. Scratch that. I care very much what people think--especially when it comes to my friends and loved ones. The misconceptions about schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are abundant and spread like fire through the Redwoods. In our society the word 'psychotic' is used interchangeably with the term 'serial killer' and after incidents like the James Holmes/Colorado tragedy...well you can see why most people who suffer from hallucinations aren't quick to come out and dispel the myth of all schizophrenics being violent. The ones who are often have been victims of long standing glitches in our mental health care laws. The ones who aren't cringe when bad news related to schizophrenia erupts, hide their heads and pretend to be typical (if they can). But just as I'm feeling alone, doomed to hide, stigmatized and ashamed, along comes this tiny, blond pixie--just a wisp of a person--with the voice and courage so many of us lack, speaking freely about her challenges (If you haven't caught her story on Discovery Health, I'd highly encourage you to do so. It is worth your time) shouting through the megaphone held by her parents, Susan and Michael, forcing the world to hear... Let's just say, suddenly my fears seem downright ridiculous. Jani is only ten. I have three additional decades of 'wisdom' to her one. What the heck am I hiding from? People fear what they don't understand. The time has come for people to understand the truth about schizophrenia. Not what is portrayed in the movies. Not what the lamestream media wants to publicize, but The Truth, all of it, even the parts that aren't pretty (not many are). Go on, say the word. Let it roll around on your tongue a bit before forcing it past your lips into the open air. Feels weird, doesn't it? Not so bad, right? Now, try to attach it to someone you love: your best friend, your sister or (God forbid) your own child. Ask yourself this: if my child were suffering, what would I want the world to know about them? How would I want them treated? How would I cope? Who could I trust? Where would we go? How would we function in this place where people shield their eyes and run? Bet you can't even begin to guess. I'm going to go so far as to say, I bet many a reader will pick this book up, read a few chapters, form a few misguided opinions about bad parenting, set it down and thank their lucky stars that it isn't THEM who is affected--it isn't THEIR child lashing out, talking to trees (or dogs or unicorns or demons or...pick your poison here) lost in the world, relying on psychiatry to catch up to the rest of modern medicine and praying people will be kind. But it could be you. If it could happen to Jani, the offspring of two intelligent, loving parents who doted on her and held every aspiration of sending her straight to the top to take over the world, it could happen to you. It happened to me. It happens every day, to families everywhere who feel they have to walk around stigmatized for a biochemical grenade which buried itself in their loved one's brain and blew up when they least expected it. And that, my reading friends, is exactly why you need to read this book. Not only is it well written, it is gritty, raw and truthful. It doesn't paint mental illness in any light other than the one that illuminated the Schofield family. And their light, no matter how much it dimmed, never went out. Instead it became a beacon of hope....more
I've read some criticism of the author's 'telling' vs. 'showing'. I typically do not rate books so much on such stylistic issues because I believe mosI've read some criticism of the author's 'telling' vs. 'showing'. I typically do not rate books so much on such stylistic issues because I believe most readers don't identify that as a problem in books. That seems to me to be more of an author as reviewer issue. Sure, readers might notice some missing 'zing' in a story...but I've yet to come across a large group of readers (not professional reviewers) who would write that. I not only had the good fortune to read 'Chasing China", I also had the opportunity to conduct an author interview. Ms. Bratt spent four long years volunteering in an orphanage in China (can you imagine?). This book, while a work of fiction, is based on her experiences/frustrations. Knowing the background really adds to the book. She knows it. She lived it. That being said: This book quite n interesting read. I've never been to China. I've never studied the culture, government, economic policies and atrocities. Having stated that, I felt this book did a good job covering all of the above topic s without being prejudiced. Having said that I should add there will be others who might disagree. There are many parts of this story which are difficult to imagine happening to anyone, let alone small children. It is tragic and sad. Mia, the star of our journey, goes 'home' to find her birth parents. She is young, naive and alone. However, she quickly finds friends to help along her path. Without any paperwork to point her in any direction, she traipses about the country. As a mother, this terrified me. I kept waiting for someone to snatch her up and lock her away for asking too many questions. As a friend to those who've adopted, I wondered...would this be a good book for them to read? Would they be willing to share this with their adopted children at a certain age? I honestly have no idea. I would recommend it. It is eye opening and heartwarming. The best message: Mia would never again need to go chasing China. ...more
Story: A+ Yep, you read that right. This book not only gets an A, it gets a plus added on. When I started this book, I wasn't sure what to make of it.Story: A+ Yep, you read that right. This book not only gets an A, it gets a plus added on. When I started this book, I wasn't sure what to make of it. It had quite a bit of army lingo; it is based on Joe's time in 'Nam (never a topic I would have picked...yet I picked it. Go figure), as told from The Great Beyond. Gulp. Right off the bat, I felt I was in waaaay over my head. I read a few pages, contemplated shelving it, and took a nap. No, I'm not exaggerating. That's really how it happened. Somewhere between dozing in the rusty, old Explorer and making dinner, I decided to give it another go. There was something about the story (undefinable at the time) that kept calling me back. Two chapters later, I couldn't put it down. But what exactly drew me in? I'm still trying to put it all in a neat, little box. At first, it was the descriptions of the afterlife. Quite unique. Funny. Dry humor. I get it. Then, it was the 803rd's mission. What the heck was going on next door? Alien invasions? Torture? I hadn't a clue; but I *really* wanted to know... And then there was Mai. Was she a spy? Would she fall in love with Joe and come back to the States? Would she be captured and killed? The suspense was killing me. I won't give you the answers. Where's the fun in that? I loved this book. I know my husband will love this book as well. Sadly, I can't get it in e-pub for his nook (gasp! I know...he's a TRAITOR!). I wanted to send him overseas for his annual military training with this little gem--alas, it was not meant to be. If you like war fiction, Vietnam stories (Gary Alexander actually did some time over there), love stories, and just plain old *good fiction*, this book is definitely for you. But only if you have a kindle. Sorry e-pub readers. In this case, you are SOL....more
If you were a child of alcoholic parents, you really need to read this book. If you are the grown child of a mentally unstable parent, you really needIf you were a child of alcoholic parents, you really need to read this book. If you are the grown child of a mentally unstable parent, you really need to read this book. If you like to look inside others rough experiences and thank God that you never had to live through such events...yep, you guessed it, you will love this book. Laurel Saville does an excellent job taking the reader to haunted corners of living with an unstable parent, sparing the reader nothing. She gives you the raw, gritty truth. Not one to seek out sympathy, she makes it clear her life has been a journey, filled with complexities that some want to compartmentalize: alcoholic, artist, narcissist, drug addict, slut... All of the former are used to describe her mother, yet none fit as an all inclusive label. Anne Ford, a young woman with a promising art/fashion design career slides down into the canyon, losing her grip on sanity, and still maintaining her creativity and spark that drew so many to her. But can her daughter Laurel forgive her sins as a mother, reconcile the many pieces that make up Anne, and become a whole person in her own right? It sounds like fiction, but I promise you, it's not. It is the journey of Laurel Saville, as she unravels the mysteries of her mother Anne. I give her tons of credit. it could not be easy to move past the hurts inflicted on her as a young girl. It is a heavy read. It is an excellent read. I highly recommend it....more
All right, Love, let's get to it then, shall we? As some of you might remember, I read 'A Scottish Ferry Tale'. I even reviewed it. If you are a sleutAll right, Love, let's get to it then, shall we? As some of you might remember, I read 'A Scottish Ferry Tale'. I even reviewed it. If you are a sleuth at heart, you can sort through my old posts and find it. No need to really, as I will sum up my feelings of book one, but you can always go see for yourself if it suits you. Book one didn't impress me much. It wasn't *bad* (as in I couldn't finish it, it suffered murderous character flaws, massive editing errors); it just wasn't *good* (as in it didn't grab me & hold my attention). It was okay. Not earth shattering. Not keep you up at night wondering. I think I gave it a C. Enough about book one. It is water under the reading bridge. Book two... Oh book two, how changed my mind! How did I love thee? Let me count the ways...Honestly, I felt as if it were written by a different author! The writing seemed to flow far better. The story, the characters, the conflicts--all of it--just worked better. Until the very end (and I mean the very end, literally) the story was a nice, well rounded love story. Boy and girl have worked out most of their major issues. Boy and girl begin a life together with their wedding listed as #1 on the 'to do list'. Girl still has some minor insecurities. Boy still suffers an occasional bout of the jealous green meanies....but all in all, everything is just swell. But is it happily ever after? One would think that. And in a way, one would be right. But don't get too comfy under your Tartan plaid blanket. Don't skip through those nagging little details; because if you do you will find yourself wondering who smacked the air out of your lungs and fed you a big bowl full of haggis... *Gulp* That's all I'm going to say. Kudos to you, Ms. Nancy Volkers. You went back for a second round and vastly improved upon everything. If you enjoy a good love story that tugs at the old heart strings, stop by Amazon.com and grab your copy of 'Scotland by Starlight'. Right now you can get a print copy for $8.99 or a kindle copy for $0.99. Far cheaper than a trip overseas, and a magical transport in it's own right, I highly recommend it. That's all for now. Stay tuned for my review of, 'Unraveling Anne', Laurel Saville. Until then......more
It's been a while since I've been asked to read & review anything by a new indie author. When I found an email in my inbox from Ms. Pavarti TylerIt's been a while since I've been asked to read & review anything by a new indie author. When I found an email in my inbox from Ms. Pavarti Tyler requesting a review for her Two Moons of Sera ebook launch I was ready. I should say, I *thought* I was ready. I have a strict policy of not...I repeat NOT looking too far into the content of a book (Any book. Right now I'm reading People of the Mist...hadn't a clue what it was about. I'm a century or so behind the trends). I like to read and form my opinion off the cuff. From the gut as it were. This book is the first part of the story, Ms. Pavarti's first novel. A YA novel dubbed as, "All the fun of YA written for adults." I'm an adult, however, I'm not a super fan of YA per se. I like it the way I like any well written book; but as an adult I lean in the direction of "full fledged adult" . i.e. adult humor, adult sex scenes (not pornographic, just not sweet sixteen), adult language... you get the idea. On top of that, this book is fantasy. Not what I reach for on a typical reading day. I was expecting a mildy entertaining read. Instead I was blown away. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! A++Five stars and all that jazz She created an entire universe of fabulous species. Are they humans? Kinda, sorta. The Erlanders are almost prehistoric men and the Sualwets are mermaidish...and Serafay? She is a Goddess in her own right. A mixture of wet and dry, earth and water. I cannot wait to read more. The book is available as an eRead only (really people, if you aren't nooking, kindling, or iPadding by now, I have lost faith in you) on both Amazon.com & Smashwords Even better...she's hosting a super awesome giveaway! Gift baskets, iTune cards, a manuscript critique...you name it, she has it. Take some time and immerse yourself in Two Moons of Sera. Just be careful. Once you enter, you won't want to leave. ...more
This was one of my famous Kindle freebies. Obviously, the cover is the standard, you got it for free so don't complain, cover. No rating required. I jThis was one of my famous Kindle freebies. Obviously, the cover is the standard, you got it for free so don't complain, cover. No rating required. I just consider it the classic, encyclopedia variety; clean & eye catching by its own right. I loved this book. Miss Butterworth, the single, older lady with a keen eye for detail, is the perfect behind the radar star. Mr. Gryce, the crotchety old detective you can't help but like, is her perfect partner. This book is another late 1800's miracle. Change some of the language and you could turn these two into a modern day Tracy/Hepburn. The dry wit has aged like a fine wine; and the mystery...well let's just say this super sleuth was stumped to nearly the end. There were several moments I believed I had figured out the whodunnit, only to quickly discover I was dead wrong. I did finally get it...but only a few pages before the unveiling. It is absolutely worth it, even if you pay for the paperback. Anna Katharine Green was a lady ahead of her time. I look forward to reading more of her work!...more
Wendy Sinclair, 45 year old newlywed is in the middle of some serious marital turbulence. In an effort to regain some of her sassiness she jets off onWendy Sinclair, 45 year old newlywed is in the middle of some serious marital turbulence. In an effort to regain some of her sassiness she jets off on a girl's weekend with on again/off again friend Paula to none other than Sin City. Once she's there, she has a midlife meltdown and decides to extend her stay...for what seems to be an eternity. I love stories about women who struggle against conformity. I love them even more when they include humor. This story has both. So why the C grade? Honestly, I felt this story had soooo much potential; but it seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time repeating the same theme without any variations. It focused far too much on food for my taste (and I love food) and other details that detracted from the humor and slowed the flow. Up until the very last page of the book Wendy moves back & forth between loving her husband, Roger, wanting to see him & rekindle their marriage--and despising the man. The amount of time she spends making the decision of "Yes, I love him; he's mine, nobody else better go near him" and "We'll never make this work. Maybe I should move on and go with one of these other dudes?" is in the real world of marriages (most marriages) about two years too long. If I were Roger, she would have been served in the first eight months; but that's just me. This book is a pretty quick read. It has some humorous moments peppered liberally with some "Oh hell no!" shockers. I will admit, I didn't see the end coming. I found reading pace picking up as I got closer to the end just to see where Wendy would finally end up. And I also started researching Vegas, as this book gives you the entire history of the city from stem to stern. I also realized, when it comes to Sin City, I missed 3/4 of it on my visit. Maybe I'll have to go back? If you're the type of person who analyzes a characters motivation/situation/outcome against probable real life scenarios, this book will challenge you. However, if you just want to hop on board and go for a ride...this might be your book of the year. I fall somewhere in between.
Well, I finally did it. I finished ANNA KARENINA. I started it in late July. Since I read it on my Kindle, I have no idea if that is an acceptable timWell, I finally did it. I finished ANNA KARENINA. I started it in late July. Since I read it on my Kindle, I have no idea if that is an acceptable time frame for finishing. If you don't own a Kindle, everything goes by percentages. For example: page 28 would be viewed as 5% or 10% or any other percent based on how long the book is. This is a curse & a blessing. With a typical book, say anything 300 pages or less, my percentage to time left ratio is fairly accurate; however, with a mega novel like ANNA KARENINA--not so much. Once I hit the 98% mark, it still took close to a week to read to the end. Ackk! Since this book is considered to be one of the *greats* I'm not going to go through with my typical graded review. I mean really, it's Tolstoy people. What could I possibly have to say about a book written by Tolstoy that would be of any value to anyone? Instead, I will give you my thoughts (those are always interesting, right?) pretending I know nothing of the gravity of the book. Consider me a babe in arms, with no knowledge of literary classics (not much of a stretch), no knowledge of Russian history...or any history beyond what I learned in high school (okay, I admit, this is true), and the attention span of a gnat who just ingested a Starbucks double shot. Above all, try to keep a sense of humor. To do otherwise will only serve to make you hate me in the worst way. What I learned from reading Anna Karenina: 1. People talked, wrote, and thought in the longest, most convoluted ways. If Tolstoy wrote (I'm speaking only of sentence structure here) the same book today, his editors would be having fits. I'm talking serious, Grand Mal seizures. I certainly didn't mind the long winded, semi colon filled conversations; but considering the last five Literary Agents I spoke to told me that long, complicated, wordy writing was a no-no...I'm thinking he'd be self published for sure.Of course, this is true of all period writing, since styles change to give an accurate portrayal of current times. 2.Details were mega important. If you like a fully detailed scene from every possible angle, this book will rock your socks off. I like details. I also believe that there is such a thing as over kill. Chapters devoted entirely to harvesting fields in Russia fall into the latter category. I like that type of detail to be a page or two at most. I fell asleep a few times while Levin was pontificating about the role of the peasant in Russian society. I know how terrible that sounds. If you're offended by my lack of cooth, please re-read the above preface to this review, as I will not apologize. 3. If you happened to be of any wealth or means (and you were a man), your life was AWESOME. In the upper echelon of Russian society, life was one big party. Even the fake rich (Dolly & Stepan) had nurses, cooks, country houses, land...you name it. Work consisted of going to an office where people came to ask you if you would grant them wishes, etc, and every night you would stay out until one or two in the morning. Dinner parties happened every night of the week, as did the opera, and nobody exchanged much cash. 4. Everyone was given at least three names, which were all interchangeable, depending on mood/whims/relationship and the person speaking. I'm sure there is cultural/period/class significance here. No need to explain. I only wish this held true today. I'd love to be known as: Elizabeth Loan, Elisabetta Burkano Manifesto AND Elsie Love...how cool would that be? 5. The rich, in spite of all their wealth, were pretty miserable. AS a reader who would have fallen into the peasant class, I can't help but feeling these people just needed more to do. In other words, if you can spend entire months in 'spiritual crisis' during the 1800's, you needed some good old fashioned real work! BTW, I find this to remain true today. :) 6. Lastly, Anna, Anna, Anna...what can I say? I loved her and I hated her. The scene where she visits Seryhoza on his birthday brought me to tears; but to jump in front of a train for the lost love of a man? No, I cannot accept that.Where does her death leave her son...her daughter? I found myself trying to diagnose her. Was she suffering from PPD? Bipolar disorder? Severe Narcissism? Did she really truly believe her death would teach Vronsky the ultimate lesson? In the end I decided she was part of Tolstoy's twisted soap opera (the book was originally done in installments. I love this because: a. it tells me that people have always loved scintillating scandalous material and b.even the greats produced in small bites from time to time) unable to fathom life without her one great love. Not quite the heroine I was looking for. Although I give her bonus points for having the courage to follow her heart. And that my friends, is my take on ANNA KARENINA. (free on Amazon.com for kindle)...more
*I'm just reviewing "INVISIBLE"* his was another one of my Kindle freebie finds, which fell into the Christian fiction chasm. At the time, I wasn't awa*I'm just reviewing "INVISIBLE"* his was another one of my Kindle freebie finds, which fell into the Christian fiction chasm. At the time, I wasn't aware that I was grabbing books all classified by the CF genre; but since I went on a mad downloading spree, I decided to read them anyhow. This one had the added twist of being a mystery. Of all the CF books I've read, I enjoyed this one the most. Ms. McCourtney writes a clean mystery (no swearing, violence, gratuitous sex) that has a fun, quick witted style/pace. Ivy is a real hoot. Picture a scatterbrained Agatha Christie. Her humor gave me a chuckle or two & the mystery (although I solved it before the end) had some surprising twists and turns. Best of all, Ivy addresses the issue of aging and becoming an 'invisible' part of our oversexed, 'Bay Watch'- brainwashed culture. I would recommend this book...if you don't mind the 'God Speak' to anybody looking for an easy to read mystery. It is best described as 'cute' (and I mean that in a good way). It will give you a laugh or two for sure. As a bonus, the first book gives you a chapter peek into book II, where Ivy is still dealing with the same sinister clan she thought she'd taken down in book I. From what I read, the transition is very smooth. Plus, the books are very reasonable (in eBook format). The first one of the series is FREE for Kindle & the rest are in the $5.00 range. They are also available in paperback for those late to the game diehards (of which there are many I'm told). ...more
The dialogue in this book is some of the most witty material I've crossed since my deceased favorite author, Erma Bombeck. Debbie Viggiano spins a talThe dialogue in this book is some of the most witty material I've crossed since my deceased favorite author, Erma Bombeck. Debbie Viggiano spins a tale of hilarity and hi-jinx that will have you laughing out loud. Believe me, I'm not one to blow smoke, so when I tell you that I laughed out loud--I mean it. There are no boring bits in this book. Page one, when Cassandra walks in on her hubby bouncing a middle aged, floppy chested, big bottomed neighbor around on his pelvis, is just the tip of the phallic iceberg. I found this book so thoroughly enjoyable that I felt compelled to send Ms. Viggiano an email expressing how absolutely brilliant I found her story. That is a first for me. I have no idea why this book isn't a best seller, because it damn well should be. This book should be up there with every Jennifer Weiner and Emily Griffin listing. It is the bomb-diggety. For a good laugh, stop by Amazon.com today and order your copy. It is available in both paperback ($13.95) and Kindle ($5.99) formats. Be warned: if you are sipping Chablis, you just might find it coming out your nose!...more
No matter what your thoughts are pertaining to Christian fiction, you cannot find fault with this cover. I always say, covers are the gateway to the lNo matter what your thoughts are pertaining to Christian fiction, you cannot find fault with this cover. I always say, covers are the gateway to the literary amusement park. This book proves it. It is the kind of cover that stops a B&N, coffee slurping, stay-at-home-mom like me to pick it up (or download it, as the case may be). Kudos to the cover artist (who wasn't listed on the Amazon site tsk-tsk). I'm really not sure how I missed that this book is Christian fiction when I downloaded it. I suspect that in my eagerness to find free books to try, I didn't read the description. I know I tried the sample...which oddly enough does not have one mention of the G man in it. Hmmm, can you say, false advertising? Nah, I'm just joshing ya'. Seriously though, this book goes from a light hearted, fun read, to GOD RULES EVERYTHING (he'll even bring you chocolate ice cream upon request) in a quick turn of the page.
In spite of that, I have to say, it is a nice little book...for those that are not only Christian fiction fans, but those that attend the mega churches (since that is the variety of Christianity this book touts as the right one). It was far better than the last piece of Christian fiction I reviewed. This book had some actual conflict (always good in books). If you are looking for serious Christian fiction this will be an A or a B. The rest of us--C. It is free for kindle, so if you've got one you could always give it a whirl...moving on.
I do have some other, very interesting things to report:...more
This story follows the life of Nonna Bannister. Her hand written notes, transcribed into a story, taken after her death to a publisher. Wow. It is amaThis story follows the life of Nonna Bannister. Her hand written notes, transcribed into a story, taken after her death to a publisher. Wow. It is amazing. The story itself--gut wrenching. True. Unbearable at times. The history & timeline are unwound and even challenged at times, by the publisher/'author'. I read this book on vacation...in the airport. It was so good, so totally spellbinding, that I could not put it down until the very end. Even after the war, when Nonna is safe & sound, the story is riveting. Married for over 50 years, she never shared her story with her family. And (even more interesting) her wonderful, loving, amazing husband, never asked. He knew not to press his wife...so he waited patiently. Then, not long before Nonna departs for the great beyond, she shares. The story of Nonna Bannister is not to be missed. As the sole surviving member of her family, she carried a great deal of pain with her throughout her life; but she never let it jade her. She married, raised a family, loved and was loved. This book is an amazing read. A Must Read if you have any interest in Russian History, the Holocaust, or World War II. I openly wept in the airport (I believe I scared a few folks). Get it....more
The entire novel is a series of emails between friends (and eventually lovers). When I began reading, I wasn't sure if it was going to sit well with mThe entire novel is a series of emails between friends (and eventually lovers). When I began reading, I wasn't sure if it was going to sit well with me. Fast forward a few hours to 'The End' and I'd say we have ourselves a winner! Humor is rampant throughout (the dating website Renee works with is 'Choose Jews'? Totally inappropriate and TOTALLY hilarious. Probably exists...) Renee is only thirty. Hardly a life crisis....I know more unmarried women over thirty than housefrau's. I know some women feel that clock ticking, but not all. Or maybe, at 40, I look at thirty with envy? The real reason I dropped it from an A to a B was *SPOILER ALERT* the big A-HA!moment. I felt that Shelley was much too smart not to connect the name dots or, at the very least, cross-check Ethan's....just to be sure. And Renee feeling more terrible about teasing 'The Cuddler' than knowing he played musical beds with her bestie? Hmmmm, I only hope I could be that selfless (Already knowing there's no way I'd pull that off). This is a really fun book. So good that once I dove in, I had to finish.The kind of story you can pick up and devour in one sitting (poolside at the Hilton optional).The characters are very well developed, the plot is unique & the writing will give you a good old fashioned chuckle....more
I love this book! What you need to know about me: I don't like sci-fi-at all. I sat through every episode of Star Trek the Next Generation because I fI love this book! What you need to know about me: I don't like sci-fi-at all. I sat through every episode of Star Trek the Next Generation because I fell in love with a man that loved it. For me it was a snooze fest with a capital S. So, the fact that this book was so thoroughly enjoyable threw me for a loop. The story is fast paced and exciting. I was amazed at how thorough the author was in creating an entire alternate universe. Her attention to detail really sucked me in. That and the relationship between Sara Mendoza, Ranier, and Sean. The torture scenes were brutal, the love scenes were hot, and the entire message of society/values left me awestruck. I highly recommend you give this title a shot. It will blow you away. And when you're done, you'll be able to pass it along to the sci-fi fan in your life. Just think, you'll be able to talk Fragger speak with the best of them at the Nebula awards......more
Beatrice Munson is Mary Poppins for every woman over forty. She is the person you wish you were, the person you wish was your BFF, and the person youBeatrice Munson is Mary Poppins for every woman over forty. She is the person you wish you were, the person you wish was your BFF, and the person you will strive to be forevermore. This book is enjoyable. Not what you expect, considering Marissa spent her years post high school building her up as her arch nemesis. Beatrice rides into town, her carpet bag full of tricks & tips to shake up the neighborhood in a good way. She is a Good Witch, a fortune teller, & the female equivalent to Buddha. Marissa and her besties fall prey to Beatrice's intoxicating ways and before you know it...*poof*they find the courage and dreams they lost between diaper changes. This is a great summer read. If you've ever felt like an outcast for not drinking the "motherhood is the end all be all" Kool-Aid, this is the book for you. Do yourself a favor, get a little Beatrice Munson'd. You'll be glad you did!...more
Wow! These ladies are really overachievers! Both stories earned solid A's. I gave The Very Old Man, By Jenny Milchman an A+. The story has an intense suspense level that's tough to build in a short. Ms. Milchman created the edge of your seat thriller, and it is perfect. I loved it. In fact, I wish I'd written it. Drat! Escape From Southern Point, by Libby Sternberg also earned an A. A very solid, not even close to a B, A. This story is a sweet mystery. Humorous from the first word. Very entertaining. I loved it as well. ...more
I think this book has potential. It's a great idea that needs help with the execution. Too many errors that distracted from the story. I'd love to revI think this book has potential. It's a great idea that needs help with the execution. Too many errors that distracted from the story. I'd love to revisit it if Ms. Hood makes revisions....more
I love Kizzy Dean. She is absolutely adorable. Dark, smoldering, Andreas was a chalThis review can be found with greater detail at: Elsie Loves Fiction
I love Kizzy Dean. She is absolutely adorable. Dark, smoldering, Andreas was a challenge for me. The beginning of the book he is just soooo full of himself. I want to kick him in his Dolmades and send him packing. As the story comes together, you learn more about him as a person, and it helps; but first impressions are hard to shake. As corny as I feel admitting this, I shed a couple of tears at the end! (What on earth is happening to me???) The sex is scintillating. So hot, that there were parts I had to gloss over for fear of self igniting. (I went back and read them later, of course). Romance stories were never my first choice when picking through genres; but the last two books I've reviewed (both from Salt Publishing) are quickly making me a convert. This is Ms. Lyndhurst's first novel and she deserves a standing ovation. Her writing style swept me off my feet from page one. Her desriptions make me want to pack my bags and move to Lindos, so I can run barefoot through the cobblestone streets and take a daily dip in the Agean!...more
I read the book rather quickly and enjoyed it. The plot, especially the surprise ending (almost a double surprise. There is a big BANG! but wait...there's more...) took some twists and turns that I could not predict. I hate knowing everything before it happens. Not good when that happens. This book will throw you a curve ball or two. It did have some editing issues: i.e. using the wrong words- past where it should have read passed. Also, a couple of scenes had some minor head hopping issues. Not enough to make you dizzy, but if you are a stickler on that issue you will see it. I also thought Bianca was an enigma wrapped in a riddle. One minute she's complaining up a storm about how awful her brother/sister are (typical YA behavior)and the next she's saying things like "My brother maintained his youthful good looks" He's 25...he never lost them! LOL
(Here come the spoilers)
This book has some girl on girl throw in a boy action in it. I'm not a prude; however the premise for that material in this story didn't ring true for me. I thought it was just some spice for spice sake. It was well written; but I had a tough time taking the relationship between Bianca & her female experimental springboard the way the author intended....more
Bound to Love, Sally Clements. Oh la-la. What a steamy, dreamy, thrill ride. A romance, rated on the 'softer' side (meaning the details of the encounters between the main characters are juicy but not overly detailed ie erotica. Yes, I need to clarify--not everyone reads according to how many roses or hot peppers or whatever ratings the publisher uses). Well, it sure got my juices flowing. It. Was. Hot.
I enjoyed it. It was fun. It was hot. It made me want to build a fire with my husband or jet of to Paris.There was a turn or two that wasn't over the top obvious to me, which earns the book bonus points. I hate knowing every twist and turn from page one. I did find the beginning (which is supposed to be the big draw you in part) a little too cheesy. Jake & Tempest feel a connection that is so overpowering. I would have liked a little more conflict in the beginning working towards the intensity as opposed to instant attraction followed by questioning. Overall, it was very well written story. Kudos Ms. Clements, very nice work!
I don't often revisit a book once I've reviewed it. Come to think of it, I never revisit a book once I've read and reviewed03/19/2012 AMENDED REVIEW:
I don't often revisit a book once I've reviewed it. Come to think of it, I never revisit a book once I've read and reviewed it. Like the old saying goes, 'there's a first time for everything'. This is my first. A long time ago, when this blog was in its infancy, I read and reviewed, Tales of Aradia, The Last Witch, Vol. One I really liked the premise of the book. It had really great potential. But, I just could not get past some of the basic story telling issues. I ended up giving it a rather poor review, with side bar notes explaining why I felt I had to do so. I felt bad doing so; really I did. As a writer, I'm acutely aware how much bad reviews sting. The author, Ms. L.A. Jones read the review and sent me a personal email asking what I thought she could/should do to improve the book. Of course, her kind insistence that I share only added to my massive guilt. One I finished blundering through my apologies about being so hard on her, I tried (with my limited, not nearly an expert experience level) to point her in the right direction. She met with an editor, worked through some rewrites and sent it back, asking ever so kindly if I would take another peek? I agreed. Although most of her story was grammatically correct (and I'm no grammarian, so please take that with a grain of salt) it still lacked some of the vital elements the book required to flesh out the best story. Now I had the daunting task of having to break the news to Ms. Jones that I still did not think this was work worth putting out there. I think I said something like: right work, wrong editor. At this point, if I were L.A. Jones, I would have told that snobby, nobody of a writer, Elsie Love to *suck it*. But, because she was determined to see her project through to its true potential, she went out and found another editor! (I love determination. Nothing makes me happier than a good underdog story). Guess what? She gave me another crack at her book. I admit, I was hesitant. After all, what were the odds she actually found an editor who 'got it'? In spite of my reluctance, I agreed. I'm very glad I did. This last round took the Tales of Aradia and moved it from the category of a bunch of good ideas lacking continuity, proper scene set up, good conversation and flow and turned it into a winner! So now, without further tongue wagging I would like to say to LA Jones: Congratulations! You, my dear, put in the time and effort, never giving up and it shows! Your editor, Mr. Harrison Bradlow was the perfect partner for your writing tango. I would *highly* recommend this book, especially for lovers of YA series. You will not be disappointed!
Check it out! Tales of Aradia, The Last Witch. Book One This gem came to my attention via another site. The author, L.A. Jones, posted a request for reviews, with a link to download the book for FREE on Smashwords. I jumped on it. We all know that when it comes to Elsie's (Egads, I'm relating to myself in third person?) favorite things Kindle & FREE reads get my heart pumping with excitement. Plus, the cover art was simply divine.We aren't supposed to judge books by their covers, but we all do, and in this case the cover made the download. It was good enough that I might have even paid for the book. Might. Let's not get crazy here. The story is a YA tale. The bulk of it happens in Salem ( a little cliche for a book about a modern day witch, but in a clean Disney way). The main character, Aradia, is the last true witch. She has supernatural powers & no idea that she is a witch. She knows she's different, but has no idea how or why. Her friends in Salem High are the usual characters: Vampires, Werewolves (therewolf! Sorry, couldn't resist), Fae, and other assorted 'hidden' elements that live happily alongside humans without any suspicion being cast. Sound a little Twilightesque? Yeah, it kinda is. But that is the least of it's problems. The real issue with this book, is that it lacked editing. I mean, really lacked any & all editing. The way the book was written, I felt like I was reading a book written by a someone the same age as Aradia. So much so, that I researched L.A. Jones to try and uncover her age (listed as 23). I think young teen girls might really enjoy this book, but most adults won't be able to get through it due to the haphazard writing style. Perhaps the first book is free and the second & third volume (at roughly $5.00 a pop) had a serious make over? I'm not willing to fork over cash to find out. I give the book two stars...for the STORY. One star for the lack of editing (no, it doesn't add up to three. it comes in at one and a half). I split it (which I NEVER do) because I think there is potential for a much better book if Ms. Jones gets a publisher & an editor. Again, if you have a twelve to fourteen year old girl moping around that likes Vampires, witches, magic & wolves, give it a shot. It's clean & Free...why not? Everybody else, skip it....more
This is the short version of my blog post: Deliver Me from This Book, My Daily Bread. Check it out at: Elsie Loves Fiction
Delivered with Love This is toThis is the short version of my blog post: Deliver Me from This Book, My Daily Bread. Check it out at: Elsie Loves Fiction
Delivered with Love This is tough. I'm tackling a piece of Christian fiction. Those of you that know me personally, know I have a few unresolved issues with organized religion. You should also know that as much as I can't stand elitism (which I feel most religious groups propagate under the umbrella of what 'God wants') I am a fair reviewer. In other words, I won't prejudge a book by it's genre. Cross my heart & hope to have a fat slice of cherry pie, with whip cream, please. So, when I picked up Delivered With Love by Sherry Kyle last week for my kindle, I set aside any & all preconceived notions about the Christian fiction genre and stuck it at the top of my reading list. I'm sad to report, the book did nothing for me. The premise is that a young woman named Claire, who is in her early twenties & just lost her mother, is starting her life over. Sounds intriguing, right? It would be, if the plot had any real conflict. Everywhere this woman turns people love her, help her, & share with her the good word of the LORD. No matter what kind of a bind she's in, nobody gets mad. No matter how unscrupulous other characters might be, it's all solved in less than a day, thanks to a quick little prayer. And (ironically) the only time any of the characters step foot in a church is at the end...for a wedding. Hmmm.
I know it sounds as if I'm judging it for having a message from above, but I swear on a stack of Holy Bibles (and whatever other books you want to throw in there) I'm not. It just lacked pizazz. It also really lacked a plausible story line.
I will say this: If you are a Christian fiction fan and you have a twelve year old daughter...give it to her. Don't hesitate. It is exactly the 1950's type of romance you will want her to read. But, if you've ever had any real trials & tribulations, this book won't cut it. For adults, looking for a good read, I give it two stars.
The following review is posted on my Elsie Loves Fiction Blog, along with other interesting tidbits, so please stop by & check it out! ELSIE LOVESThe following review is posted on my Elsie Loves Fiction Blog, along with other interesting tidbits, so please stop by & check it out! ELSIE LOVES FICTION
Please Say You Care. In my reading repertoire, I have started to add short stories. Actually, I added one. Michele L. Montgomery, a writer from some great mountainous region of the United States, has written a YA short story that tackles the very dark issue of bullying of GLBT teens. I know that bullying exists across all stretches of adolescence; so I don't want comments back suggesting that this was written to exclude all the hetero kids that get bullied. This story deals with homosexuality and should be respected for its representation. In other words: read it for what it is, not what it isn't. It isn't pretty. The story is raw. Filled with pain, sadness, and demoralizing behavior that exists in the pack mentality that humans are capable, but not proud, of. It has a message and a sliver of hope as well.
As a test I gave this to my seventeen year old son to read before I cracked the cover. He brought it back with tears in his eyes. I asked him what he thought of it. His comment was this: "It got me worried. I hope that I would be strong enough to fight off people that want to hurt someone like that." I thought that was a pretty powerful statement. It also acted as a door opener to a conversation on what to do if you witness bullying. So, I say, kudos to you Ms. Montgomery. You have hit a nerve.
You Never Cared is available now on Smashwords. It's FREE people! Be the change you want to see in the world. Get on it....more
Ms. Barnett is a well seasoned author. Wit This review was copied from my book review blog at: Elsie Loves Fiction
1. Bridge to Happiness, Jill Barnett
Ms. Barnett is a well seasoned author. With 13 novels & seven short stories in print, I was surprised to find her book, Bridge to Happiness, as a kindle freebie. But, on my search for something new, there it was. I downloaded and dove in. Before I post my opinion of the story, I want to take a minute and talk about the quality of the piece. As a writer I am acutely aware that mistakes slip out. It is a fate worse than death (as a newbie) to get a copy of your baby & find glaring misprints: commas in the wrong place, quotations that are missing, misspellings, etc. As a nobody, you know that 99.9% of the people that read your material know you personally & are going to (with the attitude that they are doing you a favor) point each & every one out in triplicate. What they might not realize, is that you have already lost a week's sleep--per mistake. Do you think the same holds true for a seasoned Walden Book Award winner? I only ask because this book had a whopping handful of them. The biggest issue was quotes that didn't quite get around the person speaking in the correct format. It was enough that I assumed that Ms. Barnett was just like the rest of us lower level mopes running around looking for our big break. I checked out her bio & publisher at the end and thought, Hmmmm, now that is interesting. Perhaps the book was free that week while Bell Bridge Books made corrections? Or maybe they are a lower level publishing house & the book I chose to read represents her earlier work? I really don't know. But it sure did make me feel better about me! On to the review...
It was a nice well written story. I really enjoyed it. Mostly romance, it is the story of March Cantrell, a wild lioness of a woman. It chronicles her life from her twenties through her sixties. Part one of the book is written in third person. Very beautifully done. The language flowed and descriptions were so vivid--I loved it immediately. But hold on a sec, in part two the book switches to the first person view of March. Her children are grown, her husband just passed away in an untimely manner, and she is unraveling. Can you do that? I guess Jill Barnett can. It threw me for a bit. I didn't like the switch. I felt that the conversations between her & her children were a tad forced. Just when I was ready to throw it down & give up...March really loses it & the book becomes very engaging once again. I guess I'm just the kind of gal that can relate to a woman on the edge, drinking margaritas with her cackling hens until she passes out. LOL Overall this was a nice little read. I give it four stars. I did find chunks of the work to be quite predictable, but it's a love story, that tends to happen. There were other parts that were a complete surprise. They made up for any cliches. (Why doesn't the little accent show up here?)
The book is up to full price now. A whopping $8.99 (less than three fancy coffees at Caribou & easier on the hips). If anybody pays for it, would you please send me a note & let me know if the quotes were fixed? It's been driving me crazy......more
Many readers have reported having trouble with the age difference between Ralph and Cassie. That wasn't the case for me. I guess I've known enough MayMany readers have reported having trouble with the age difference between Ralph and Cassie. That wasn't the case for me. I guess I've known enough May/December romances to not even bat an eye. My issue came with the 'conflict' of the story. Cassie struggles with giving up her independence/future to go to Scotland to be with Ralph 100%. I would never have left in the first place! Hot guy, madly in love with me, wildly successful as an actor? Yeah, I'd never give that up. Probably would have married him after the first date. The torture of listening to her ramble on about what she'd be giving up, considering there wasn't anything to give or miss, drove me mad. But then again, I'm a go with your gut kinda gal. The romance boils at a low simmer throughout the book. I wanted the big BANG! Here's the deal. If you want a spicy sizzler with loads of hot sex, this isn't the book for you. You will find yourself wanting to throttle Cassie while screaming, "WAKE UP YOU DOLT!" If you love Scotland, dream about Gerard Butler, and want a sweet story, then this book will tickle your fancy. Plus, you'll have the added bonus of the sequel (which I haven't read) to follow their love story to the end, or beginning, or however it goes. Right now both books are available on Amazon.com for your Kindle at $0.99. Steal of a deal and you don't have to taste a bit of haggis. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. More than my last four choices combined. It was a the perfect bite sized adventure for me. I'm posting my review from my rI really enjoyed this book. More than my last four choices combined. It was a the perfect bite sized adventure for me. I'm posting my review from my review blog: http://elsielovesfiction.blogspot.com
A Fairy Tale of a Book,That Deserves a Storybook Review (Finally, a review!) A month ago I downloaded a novella from Carina Press. For those that haven't been there, it is a nice little site. A subsidiary of Harlequin, they publish solely in ebook format & every Tuesday(? I think?) they post selected titles at a discounted rate. On the particular Tuesday in question, they had a novella...for FREE. Now, we all know I'm not one to pass up a free book. I snatched it up, put in on my Kindle, & forgot about it--until yesterday. The Sevenfold Spell, by Tia Nevitt is Sleeping Beauty told from the perspective of the spinning wheel spinster, Talia. It sounds unusual, but I assure you, it is one fantastic read. I liked it better than the last three books I've read by famous, not to be named here, authors. It was one hundred pages of great fun (I gobbled it all up in one day). Ms. Nevitt's writing is full of grace & beauty (pun intended. I do that--sorry!) that will make you yearn for more. It has humor, romance, and some steamy love scenes. Not erotica, just steam. It is part of her Enchanted Miniseries...so get ready to fall in love, repeatedly! Kudos to you Ms. Nevitt. You wrote one heck of a fairy tale for the young at heart that require a more adult version of life. I give it five solid stars and a swish with my magic wand. It is no longer free; but at a mere $2.69 for the download, it is still a steal. That's all I have for now folks. Enjoy the spring weather. Take your reading to the park & get lost in adventure!...more
Admit One? First, I have to admit this... I'm a buffoon. I read the first eleven (that's right I said eleven) chapters of Emmett James's book Admit OneAdmit One? First, I have to admit this... I'm a buffoon. I read the first eleven (that's right I said eleven) chapters of Emmett James's book Admit One: My Life in Film before I caught on to fact that the author is actually an actor (hence, the title). I got it right about the time he finished hunting down a well known director that was filming in England and headed off to America to make his way in life via the craft of actor. Yep, I will repeat, I am a buffoon. Up until that light bulb went off, I was enjoying the book, but not nearly as much. I thought it was about a writer that was writing his memoir & relating it to movies he'd seen. Sure, the name seemed familiar, but every writer tries to coin a name that reeks of best friend or someone famous comfort. I thought Emmett James was one of the lucky ones that came out with a great moniker or picked on up to sell his writing. Wow, was I wrong. This guy was in Titanic, a porn & a soap opera that claims the love story of Luke & Laura. Not in that order of course, but you get the idea. He crashed Oscar parties pretending to be a director and convinced James Cameron to keep him on the set long after his bit part wrapped. This guy is an evil genius. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't have the full back story. I actually think it was more fun that way. Plus, I believe my review is far less tainted than those that were star struck from page one. I give the book four stars. I think if I were from England, it might have been a five star review (humor is just a little different over there). His antics in the quest for fame are unbelievable; and it carries a good message. To paraphrase: life's success is in the journey. Do what you love. A list status isn't the grand prize...that comes from following your passion & enjoying the ride. The only issues I had were as follows: I felt that he isn't very fond of his mother at all. He seemed to prefer his father. He also clearly hates his brother. None of those things should have bothered me, but they did. I thought it came across as a tad bitter. But, then again, those are his feelings. Can't change that. It's a good read; and as promised, right now it's FREE for your Kindle on amazon.com!
Cheers! (that's British for until next time...I think)...more