I received a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted on my blog, Donnie Darko Girl.
I read Village AmericanaI received a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted on my blog, Donnie Darko Girl.
I read Village Americana in one sitting and could not take my eyes off of my Kindle. This story was craziness and sadness and hopefulness. It took me a while to figure out if I liked this novella or not - I'm a fan of thrillers, but torture is something I have a hard time reading about or watching in a movie.
Brooke was a really kick ass character. I'm not sure I would have made it five minutes in that ordeal. She was a fighter on automatic pilot and didn't allow herself to fall apart, maybe holding that off for later. I had no idea how this was going to play out - it was completely intense. I don't know how I survived just reading it! Many times I found myself holding my breath with my heart racing, and I'll admit to losing some faith in humanity.
I'd like to think I'm not a pansy, but I needed to decompress afterward with cute fluffy cat videos. It was that intense of a read with a ton of things happening in a short period of time. I feel I must warn you there are gory and disturbing scenes. If you're squeamish of violent and disturbing images, this is not a story for you.
I don't know exactly what made this group of men go crazy in the jungle, and I'm not sure I want to know. All I know is they were what makes up some of my worst nightmares. ...more
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author! :D
What does a heroine diagnosed with ADHD, a Wiccan ritual fI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author! :D
What does a heroine diagnosed with ADHD, a Wiccan ritual for Samhain, and a mysterious pull into another world have in common? You have to read The Space In Between to fully find out! This novel pulled me in right away, and nothing in this world (or any other!) could have stopped me from turning the pages.
Moira, the main character, and her siblings, fraternal twins Tabby and Dai, find themselves in a place where time seems to stand still when they perform a ritual on Halloween. As a Wiccan, Tabby wants to see if she can lift the veil between the living and the dead to communicate with their grandparents who died a few years ago.
Instead, the trio are in a mostly dark desert, and it's like they're having a collective dream. They see and experience the same things. I had goosebumps imaging myself performing the ritual with them, especially when the wind died down, and then finding myself in a darkened landscape, not knowing where I was or what's out there. Anything could be out there.
There were several aspects about the characters and story that I liked quite a bit. I liked that Tabby is Wiccan and that her family is so supportive of her. There are other lesser known religions talked about in the story, and I knew while reading I would look into them more in depth after finishing the book. All of it ties in with the story and made me want to know more.
I also appreciated the fact that Moira has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and is struggling with how the medication is making her feel. I admit that though I've studied ADHD for my psychology degree, I don't know enough about it, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there. So to see a character with this diagnosis and how she deals with it was refreshing and educational.
The bond between Moira and her siblings was wonderful and strong. They actually have parents. REAL LIVE PARENTS! Parents who are functional, warm, and loving. That's so rare for novels these days! Their dad travels a lot for work, but he's there with them a lot, too. It was easy to see how close knit this family is, and I felt like I was a member, too!
Moira's relationship with Patrick drove me crazy. She switched from going to school full-time to part-time because he didn't approve of her going, so that was her compromise I guess. She couldn't be herself around him, and I wanted to tell her to just kick him to the curb. There were other more disturbing things he said and did that had me scratching my head as to what Moira saw in him.
Hayko is easy to fall in love with. I know he's a virtual stranger to Moira, but I understood how she felt about him and why. She was more inspired by him and how to help him than anything in her "real life", and I think that said a lot about where she was versus where she wanted to be. When things felt so right with Hayko but not with Patrick, I knew that was a sign for sure. I was rooting for Moira to dump Patrick, willing her to figure out something was wrong here. But decisions are always easier when you're looking in from the outside.
The Space In Between will take you on a journey into a place where dreams and reality are mixed together, and you won't be able to tell which is what or who is where. And you'll love every second of it, just like I did.
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review at Donnie Darko Girl.
Undeniable is super steamy and super hot. The firI received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review at Donnie Darko Girl.
Undeniable is super steamy and super hot. The first part of a trilogy, it's a quick read at around seventy pages (on the Kindle), and it ends with a cliff hanger. If you don't like cliff hangers, then you might want to wait until all three parts have been released.
Everyone who is a part of Allie's life treats her like dirt, except MAYBE her roommate. Her roommate seemed like an okay friend, although I have to wonder about her selection in a blind date for Allie. That was a total disaster! If I were Allie, I would have been insulted that my friend chose such a skeeze to be my date.
Allie and her brother lost their father when they were very young and were raised in a single parent home by their mother. Then their mother died from cancer a year before the start of Undeniable. Allie's brother drops out of college and turns to drugs to cope, and while she blames herself for the way his life is turning out, it obviously isn't her fault.
She can't stop him from doing drugs if that's how he wants to cope. I think as the older sibling, since both of their parents are now deceased, she feels responsible for him on some level. She mentioned she promised their mother she'd look after him, but he's a grown man. I think it's unfair for Allie to put this burden on herself, especially since her brother treats her about the same as an enemy would.
I wasn't sure how to feel about the possible romance blooming between Allie and Zac - Allie is a weak female lead while Zac is a jerk to be honest. I like alpha males, but since there isn't much background given on him, it was hard to root for him. Strangely I still found their scenes hot!
Overall, with the way Undeniable ended, I definitely want to read the next installment and am hoping for the lowdown on Zac. I need to know what's happened to him in the past because he's obviously been hurt - and badly. I also want Allie to toughen up and stop letting everyone in her life run over her. ...more
I received a copy of this book for an honest review from Xpresso Book Tours. You can also find this review at my blog, Donnie Darko Girl.
All My RestlI received a copy of this book for an honest review from Xpresso Book Tours. You can also find this review at my blog, Donnie Darko Girl.
All My Restless Life to Live immediately caught my attention with its title. Anyone who's a soap fan can see how the title of this book is pieced together from different soap operas, which I very much appreciated having been a soap fan my entire life. In case you aren't familiar with soap operas, here's the three show titles brilliantly put together: All My Children + The Young & the Restless + One Life to Live = All My Restless Life to Live. See? Awesome!
I've found myself getting more and more into chick lit lately. It's nice to read a story that isn't heavy and serious for the entire duration of the story. This isn't to say there aren't some sad moments in All My Restless Life to Live because there were times I felt Elle's sadness profoundly and felt tears gathering in my eyes. I know what it's like to mourn a parent, and I could relate with how she felt. There are also many moments that had me laughing out loud at the craziness that is Elle's life at times.
Main character - Elle
Elle is a TV producer for the show, I'd Rather Be Loved. She's funny, creative and clever yet also a little scatterbrained. She's very passionate about her job, the show, and the entire cast and crew. There's a lot for her to deal with at the moment - her grief from losing her dad, her eccentric mom, her obnoxious boss (and that's putting it nicely!), the stress of her job, and the pressures of dating. She handles all of this as best she can which is better than I could have I must say!
Elle's job and Liam, her boss
I can see the non-glamorous side of her work, but I'm still jealous of it. I'd love to work on a soap opera for at least a week to see what it's like. I can only imagine how much work it would be to have to remember old storylines, come up with new ones, and stay true to the history of the show and its characters, not to mention meeting deadlines QUICKLY. There's not only that pressure but also the heavy responsibility of making a lot of people happy - Liam (her boss), the viewers, and the network executives.
Ugh! Working for Liam would be a nightmare. I couldn't stand him - he has to be the boss from hell. Luckily, Elle has great coworkers beside Liam. He has these disgusting habits and never appreciates the hard work Elle puts in to the show. His character is meant to be this way, so it's comical at times I will say without giving anything away that there's a huge surprising twist involving him at the end. So be on the lookout for that!
Though Elle's dad has died, you can feel his presence so strongly throughout the book it's as if he's alive. I loved that Elle received "signs" and little messages from him and didn't dismiss them right away like I thought she might. I believed they had such a strong connection in life that not even death could break it.
Her mom is a bit neurotic about the laptop, but as the reader you'll know why. It's Elle who has no clue why her mom is so against Elle using her dad's old laptop. I pictured her mom as being adorable, and her sadness made my heart break. It was obvious something more was going on with her attachment to the computer, although as a reader, I was privy to information that Elle didn't know.
Adam, Elle's best friend
Adam goes above and beyond to be a great friend to her. Sometimes I thought she could have given back to him rather than taking so many times. Her mom adores him, and I can see why. With the way her mom accepts him as if he's family, he's like Elle's brother. I know I absolutely adored him! He's a very devoted and loyal best friend.
Elle's Love Interests
I thought it was so funny for Elle to be caught between a real life doctor and an actor who plays one on TV. I wasn't sold on Quez (the real life doctor) at first, but he grew on me. He drops a pretty heavy bomb on Elle, and you'll have to read to find out what it is and how she reacts. I have no idea what choice I would have made because both men have great qualities about them, but it's not too bad of a predicament to be in!
I wondered about Elle's biological brother - he's mentioned a time or two, and maybe I missed it, but I didn't know where he was and why he wasn't featured more prominently in the book. Especially with how badly his mom was doing in the wake of his dad's death. If he lives far away, that's understandable, but there wasn't even a mention of a phone call. I gathered Elle and her brother must not be close?
This was a light fluffy read but also with emotional moments that were perfect. And isn't that exactly how life is? There's fluffy moments mixed in with emotionally heavy moments. The chapter titles were funny and clever. I adored Adam and his devotion to his friendship with Elle, and I loved Elle. She's quirky and the kind of character I could see myself becoming good friends with. I highly recommend All My Restless Life to Live - I really didn't want to leave the characters! ...more
****I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.****
For a short period of time, I was a bit turned off from the fa****I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.****
For a short period of time, I was a bit turned off from the fantasy genre. I still liked it, but it was overshadowed for me by dystopian and contemporary novels. Hearing so many incredible things about Megg Jensen's books, I jumped at the chance to review HIDDEN and am so happy I did. This story was awesome and well told - not only did I love it so much I couldn't put it down, but it also renewed my interest in the fantasy genre.
The prologue drew me in right away and immediately made me want to know what was happening in the village of Hutton's Bridge. The unique plot captured my attention - why the fog surrounds the village, the fact that no one comes back once they enter the fog, and the dangers that obviously lie in wait in the fog. The mystery and suspense heightened my enjoyment of HIDDEN. I liked that the chapters were short, and the way they ended made me want to start the next right away.
I loved the characters! I wish we could have had more time with Granna, Tressa's grandmother, but her presence was so strong throughout the story it didn't seem like we had lost her. Granna was the leader of Hutton's Bridge, and though not everyone agreed with her decisions, she was revered as the oldest member of the village who had the most knowledge of the time before the fog enshrouded them. Though she was in the book for a short time, she most definitely left her mark!
Tressa and Bastian, the main characters of HIDDEN, have been through a lot of heartbreak, and I wanted them to be together. I had hope they could find their way to each other though the customs of their village were what was preventing them from becoming a couple. Tressa is brave and full of heart. She listens to her instincts and strives to save her people no matter the cost, even if it means she must sacrifice herself. Bastian is just as brave, and I love how the two of them fit together like they are meant to be together. Their love is beautiful.
I haven't read many books with dragons, and in this book, I can't stress enough how the dragon scenes were so awesome and well done. Though I knew there would be dragons, there's a huge twist revealed that was original and had me excited! I never saw it coming!
A few scenes in HIDDEN aren't appropriate for younger readers. Due to this content, it's definitely for mature readers, but the scenes are tastefully done. This is the first book I've read by Megg Jensen and won't be the last. I'm looking forward to diving into her other series but most of all, I'm excited for the second book of this series!...more
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the Goodreads group Never Too Old for Y.A. & N.A.
MIDLAND is a YA zombie weI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the Goodreads group Never Too Old for Y.A. & N.A.
MIDLAND is a YA zombie western with a plucky heroine, Sam, at the heart of the story. Sam's only fifteen and has three younger siblings. Their father is dead, and their mother is very sick. Sam has taken on the responsibility of keeping them all alive and safe from zombies. When their mother's condition continues to worsen, Sam decides to take matters into her own hands and travel to town, which is a day and half's ride away, to find medicine.
Sam is likable - she has a lot on her plate with taking care of her sick mother, younger siblings, and running the farm. She deals with her stress and responsibilities better than most adults would let alone a teenager. Highly skilled in shooting down zombies and living off the land, she's been able to keep her family safe for a long time. Her bravery and strength matches that of her father, and before he died, he taught her everything she would need to know. My favorite parts of the novel were her memories from when her father was alive. I could tell they had a close relationship and that he was a good man.
The beginning was slow and difficult for me to get into. There was a lot of time spent on the description of the chores Sam and her siblings must do. The action eventually picked up with tense moments where I wasn't sure if some of the characters were going to survive or not. For a while, the time period MIDLAND takes place in wasn't clear to me because I couldn't decide if the story was set in the Wild West or modern times, and when I found out, I was surprised.
The interesting thing about these zombies is that the dark brings them out but rain keeps them away. They fall apart faster in the rain and seem to realize this. They also have an aversion to the sun. I thought this was interesting because it suggested they were at least aware enough of what conditions they were more likely to survive in.
MIDLAND is well written, and I think zombie fans will find it to be a satisfying read. At times I wished for more interaction with other characters, but a large part of the story is that Sam and her family are for the most part alone and isolated from other people not affected by the plague. Their isolation is what causes them to be in the situation they're in. There's action, a hint of romance, and if not for so much description (which is purely my own preference and won't necessarily affect other readers' opinions of this book), I would have given MIDLAND another star. ...more
I received a copy of PAWNS for an honest review from the author.
In the novella, PAWNS - a prequel to ROOK, the first book in the Timeless Games serieI received a copy of PAWNS for an honest review from the author.
In the novella, PAWNS - a prequel to ROOK, the first book in the Timeless Games series - we find out more about Leslie, who was a character I despised in ROOK. Here I find out she's got to be in the running for worst parents ever. Her mother and father are terrible, horrible people, especially as parents. I can't describe just how awful they are to their only child. PAWNS starts out with her mother calling her a "needy little snot," which was the very first line. I couldn't help myself - I had a strong desire to slap her mom!
Leslie's background fleshed out explains a lot about her, and I understand her much more than I did in ROOK. She was jealous and willing to murder in that book, and now I know why with the events that happen in this novella. I think ROOK should be read before PAWNS - my experience with Leslie might have been altered dramatically had I read PAWNS first, and I wouldn't want it to be different than what it was for me. She's meant to be hated in ROOK for good reason.
I wonder what the next book will be like, and with this surprising ending, I'm looking forward to more in the Timeless Games series!...more
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the Goodreads group Lovers of Paranormal.
SANTA'S WAYWARD ELF was a fun and imI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the Goodreads group Lovers of Paranormal.
SANTA'S WAYWARD ELF was a fun and imaginative read with lots of hot sex that made me blush. Paige Tyler's fresh take on elves, Santa, and the North Pole was entertaining. Sosie is an elf who isn't like the other elves - she's taller than all of them and isn't happy living in the North Pole any longer (where she makes sex toys by the way). And I thought only children's toys were made up there, lol! She's heading to the South Pole at her request when the transport sled she's on breaks down, and that's where her adventures begin.
Sosie is the kind of character you'll like right away. She's cute with her wide-eyed innocence and love of all things fun. While she was an outcast at the North Pole, she's seen as very gorgeous among humans. I couldn't help but worry about her trying to navigate her way among humans due to her lack of knowledge about our world, not to mention the fact that she's too trusting though the North Pole news makes elves think humans are violent and dangerous.
While Sosie is very naive, she's really experienced in bed. A lady in public, a tiger in the bedroom - every guy's dream, right? I couldn't help but roll my eyes at that a bit. While the sex scenes were super hot, her sexual expertise didn't seem to go with her personality. But there was also a lot of sweet romance. I did like Sosie and Derek together - they not only had sizzling chemistry but also could spend time together hanging out and having fun. They went well together.
I just wasn't that into Derek. I liked him in the beginning, then I didn't like him. I ended up liking him again later but not as much as I did in the beginning. If he's such a great guy like everyone he knows tells Sosie, why did he let himself get so easily talked into thinking she was this terrible person? It was obvious to me that she wasn't secretly working for a notorious mobster and not just because I knew her side of the story before he did.
I liked him, I just wasn't in LOVE with him. He is a good guy, but he turned ugly to me when he hurled insult after insult at Sosie. He took out his problems on her, and while that's a very human thing to do, it just wasn't right. She's so innocent! She doesn't know what so many things in the human world are called or used for - I don't know how he could have thought the worst of her. Okay, enough ranting, lol.
Overall, I enjoyed SANTA'S WAYWARD ELF. It's the perfect story to read anytime of the year. I particularly liked reading this book on a cold winter's day snuggled up in a warm blanket, but I'd read this any day of the year. Sosie is a fun character to get to know and hang out with, and the situations she gets into will make you laugh out loud. She just made the book with her spunk and hope that everything would turn out all right. ...more
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
A bit of background
We found out my husband's grandfather needed a steI received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
A bit of background
We found out my husband's grandfather needed a stent put in this last Halloween. When they went to put in the stent, they found so many blockages that they knew the stent was not the way to go, and they would need to perform open heart surgery. On November 1st, they performed a five-way bypass. The artery known as "the widowmaker" was 99% blocked. From what I understand, it's called the widowmaker because if it becomes abruptly and completely blocked, it will cause a massive heart attack that will likely lead to sudden death.
The day of the surgery
We were really lucky that my husband's grandfather is so active because otherwise, he might not have made it long enough for the surgery to even be an option. I went down to the hospital with my husband and my mother-in-law where we met up with my mother-in-law's brother and his wife. We got to see his grandfather before the surgery. It was a terribly long day - he's eighty-three, never had surgery or been hospitalized before. We worried about him going under the anesthesia, coming off the ventilator, and especially the recovery afterwards.
He is tougher than the doctors expected him to be, and his surgery took less time than they thought it would. He came off the ventilator sooner than they thought, and he was released from the hospital a couple days earlier than they thought. He came to stay with us for a couple of days, and then he stayed with my mother-in-law and her mother (who live across the street from us) until he was released to go home. He's been home for nearly a month now, and we check on him by phone and going out to visit often. He's doing really well for someone who went through such an extensive surgery.
The five of us who had arrived early in the morning before the surgery went into a private room when his surgeon came to talk with us afterward. He explained the operation itself as well as what would happen now. He noticed I had my laptop with me and asked if I was working. I explained I'm a book blogger and said I receive books in exchange for an honest review. He offered to give me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review, and so that's how I came to review this book. I'm honored to do so.
Salt: our #1 enemy
I must admit I was worried about reviewing this book. I was afraid it would read like a textbook, and I wouldn't understand a word of it. Luckily, I was wrong - Dr. Neravetla wrote Salt Kills as though he's having a conversation with you and explains everything in layman's terms. He includes illustrations to show you what he's talking about as well as simple analogies to help you understand the difference between the way the heart works normally and the problems it encounters from excessive salt consumption.
Dr. Neravetla along with his son spent hundreds of hours researching the effects of salt and has well documented his findings, directing you to websites that will give you more information and cement the fact that high salt consumption causes all kinds of health problems. Even some you might not have know beforehand.
Here's a basic outline of what is covered in this book, the first of a series: High blood pressure The heart and blood vessels Health issues other than heart related - ex. dementia A plan to cut salt from your diet Frequently asked questions A glossary of terms
I was surprised to find out that not only does salt cause high blood pressure, which in turn causes heart problems, but it's also linked with the following: dementia asthma obesity (I knew this one actually) osteoporosis stomach cancer
He explains how salt is linked to each health issue. No one wants any cancer, but stomach cancer is definitely one cancer you do not want. By the time it's diagnosed in most cases it's already too late to cure. You eventually end up not even able to swallow your own saliva. That's terrifying.
He spends the last chapter outlining a plan for cutting salt from your diet. There's salt in basically every food we eat, but he lists ten foods that are in his words, "The Top Ten Most Unwanted." He explains it takes most people three months to completely eliminate salt from their diet, but because salt is not addictive, it can easily be done. You won't experience withdrawal like people do when they try to stop smoking.
Here's something else I learned that I found completely shocking - the number of cardiovascular deaths is greater than the number of deaths from every type of cancer combined. That's alarming. How many of us know someone who has had cancer, currently has cancer, or has died from cancer? I bet every single one of us know someone personally who has suffered from cancer itself or the effects of cancer. Not to mention if you've had it yourself. As many people as we know affected by this disease doesn't even stack up to the number of people dying from cardiovascular disease every year.
The good news is that lowering or better yet eliminating salt from your diet can prevent all of the problems listed above. And it's completely feasible. I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book and once you've read it and have seen the pictures, you'll want to immediately cut salt from your life, too, just like this book has done for me. I want to have a long life, but I want a high quality of life, too....more
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through Reading Addiction Blog Tours.
Have you ever gone to see a movie with such a shI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through Reading Addiction Blog Tours.
Have you ever gone to see a movie with such a shocking ending that people are completely silent and all you can hear is the rustle of their clothing as they stand up to leave? That's how I felt when I finished reading A Million Little Snowflakes. I felt shocked to the core and could not believe what had just happened. I even read the last chapter twice just to make sure I didn't misunderstand something. Anything!
I love realistic fiction and find myself reading more of it lately, being drawn to characters I can identify with. I could identify with Oliver in knowing what it feels like to be depressed. Not just "I have the blues," but clinical depression. As many people who have depression, including myself in the beginning, Oliver was in denial about it. I don't think you just blurt out, "I want to kill myself" and not mean it, which is what he said that landed him in the hospital. While he feels like his dad made a rash decision, I think his dad loves him, was scared, and did what he thought was best.
Oliver's mom is religious to the point where it's stifling him from truly living. She takes him several times to her pastor, who says Oliver has demons that need to be exorcised in order to "cure" his depression. She has set so many restrictions on his life that I think without realizing it, he felt like he had no other choice than to say, "I want to kill myself." Oliver's dad goes along with whatever his mom says, and I agree with his belief that his dad doesn't want to rock the boat. After his mom's theatrics when she came to visit him in the hospital, I don't blame his dad for wanting to appease her. Her behavior was truly appalling.
Oliver's depression doesn't come from only his mom's religious fanaticism - his best friend has moved far away, and he feels alone. He doesn't have a chance to make other friends since he's afraid to have anyone over because of his mom - he didn't even have his best friend over more than a couple of times, and they had grown up together. It also doesn't help that Oliver can't go anywhere. It's hard to make friends if you know you won't be allowed to hang out.
Oliver's dad didn't seem to be too involved in his life until he took Oliver to the hospital. His dad seemed to do a 180, and maybe this is what it took to open his eyes to everything going. He's a doctor, and I get that doctors work long hours and are busy but he should have been paying more attention. He's a father, not just a doctor, and I didn't think it was right of him to allow Oliver's mother to treat him the way she did, by making him feel like he's being taken over by demons. Oliver has a little sister, too, who's already being brainwashed by their mother, so I feel bad for her. One day she's going to end up rebelling.
When Oliver meets Lacey in the ward, it was funny because as snarky as she was, you could tell sparks were flying anyhow. There was a lot more to her than she allowed anyone to see, even Oliver, and I suspected she was suffering from sexual abuse. The pacing of their relationship was perfect and realistic. It may seem they fall in love quickly, but when you're in a setting like they were, where you're seeing that person day and night, it makes sense to me. Look at reality shows where the contestants are together constantly. Relationships are always blossoming on those shows. I really liked the two of them together. They decided to face the world together.
I truly hope this isn't a stand alone novel. I can't stop thinking about that ending and desperately want to know what happens next. Like I said in the beginning, I had to read it again to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.