Posted in Fun tidbits, review

Review: Bart Simpson’s Manual of Mischief

  • Title: BART Simpson’s Manual of Mischief
  • Creator: Matt Groening
  • Hardcover
  • # of Pages: 64
  • Publisher: Insight Edition
  • Released: March 18, 2014
  • Genre(s): Humour, Comics
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was given to my husband a few years back because he’s a big Simpson’s fan.  I am to, but for some reason I never picked up this book until now.  I really regret not reading this book sooner.  I had so much fun reading this book.

All readers will have fun reading this book but I wouldn’t give this book to a kid because it will give them ideas.

Happy reading!!

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Review: Woodcutter

  • Title: Woodcutter
  • Author: Shaun Baines
  • e-book
  • # of Pages: 290
  • Publisher: Thistle Publishing
  • Released: March 28, 2018
  • Genre(s): Debut novel, crime thriller
  • My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*I was given a copy of the book by the author, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Synopsis

Some family trees are meant to fall…

On the run from his criminal family, Daniel Dayton returns home to Newcastle Upon Tyne when his abandoned daughter is attacked.

But his family have problems of their own. Targeted by a brutal mercenary, their empire is destined to be destroyed should Daniel refuse to help.

Betrayed by his parents. Despised by his brother. In love with his sister-in-law. Home has become a dangerous place to be.

Daniel wants his daughter safe. And he wants his revenge, but in the shadowy streets of Newcastle, things are never what they seem.

My review

I am awed and impressed with this novel.  The plot line was original and well written.  The characters were complex but relatable.

I enjoyed this book so completely that I am actually having difficulty trying to write about it.

All I can say I read this book you will love it.

Happy reading!!!

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Review: Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins

  • Title: Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins
  • Author: Robert Crown
  • # of Pages: 275
  • Paperback
  • Publisher:
  • Genre(s): memoir
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*I received my copy of this book from the author.

* All opinions are my own.

Synopsis

How does a child’s life change when his mother tries to murder him? It’s one of the most profound betrayals imaginable. This is the inspiring true story of Robert Crown’s amazing journey out of the darkness of his childhood and into a world brightly illuminated by the power of positive understanding and purposeful thought. His message to the world is that if he can do it, you too can overcome any challenge in life by focusing your thoughts on what you desire.

My Review

This book was incredible.  Reading about Robert’s childhood put things about my life back into perspective for me.  Many readers will agree that a good book (fiction or nonfiction) has the ability to do this.

Robert Crown wrote this book with the hope that the reader “might be inspired and believe that if this guy can go through all this and make it, they can certainly make it through whatever they’re going through.” (Pg 258)  His book did just that in my opinion.

With all the bad things you hear every day, let this book remind you of the power of good that can be found in people.  Everyone should read this book, it is really a great testament to humans capability to heal.

Happy reading everyone!!!

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Review: Vic Boyo Doofus Dectective

  • Title: Vic Boyo, Doofus Dectective in Double Murders are Twice as Bad
  • Author: Milo James Fowler
  • Kindle edition
  • # of Pages: 234
  • Publisher: Effervescent Press
  • Released: March 15, 2018
  • Genre(s): humor, crime fiction
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

* I was given a copy of the book by the author.

*All opinions are my own.

Synopsis

Two murders. One detective. Half a brain.

1931, New York City: Detective Vic Boyo may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but that doesn’t stop him from solving cases as only he can. With a little luck and a whole lot of gumption, Boyo sets out to find the murderer of a local cop. Problem is, Boyo’s more interested in a gorgeous femme fatale accused of killing her husband. She’s destined for the electric chair, but Boyo’s got a hunch she might be innocent. And nobody gets in the way of Boyo’s hunches, not even Vic Boyo himself.

Review

I had a great time reading this book mainly because the author did an extraordinary job of weaving humor into a detective story.  I found this so refreshing because recently all the detective stories I’ve read were serious and dark.

Milo James Fowler is a natural writer, his words never came across as forced or strained. The occasional yet consistent use of 1930’s slang was fun without being distracting.  After reading this book I can see why Mr. Fowler is an author and English teacher, his love for the written word is obvious.

I would strongly encourage everyone to read this book. It has something for everyone.

Happy reading everyone!!!

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Review: Befriended

  • Title: Befriended: Be Careful Who You Trust
  • Author: Ruth O’Neil
  • # of Pages: 309
  • e-book
  • Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Released: February 5, 2018
  • Genre(s): Contemporary Thriller
  • My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

* I received my copy of the book from the author.

*All opinions are my own.

*May contain spoilers.

Synopsis

Some secrets never leave us alone… Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right? After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart. Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her.

My review

This contemporary thriller was exciting and kept me on my toes at every turn.  I found myself wanting more the whole time I was reading it.  If life hadn’t gotten in the way I probably would of finished it in a day.

Ruth O’Neill certainly put a lot of effort into developing both the characters and story.    The world she created was rich with details that kept drawing the reader in.  O’Neill did an incredible job of releasing details at just the right time to draw the reader in even more.  She didn’t dump them all on you at once and she didn’t leave any out either.  Ruth O’Neill is definitely a skilled writer.

With this praise I’m sure you’re wondering why I gave this book only three stars.  If you know my scale, you know this is a positive review.  The one and only issue I had with this story is the portrayal of people with mental illnesses.  Joan and Indiana are both given traits and symptoms of multiple mental illnesses.  Indiana’s back story suggests that she could have PTSD.  Joan’s illness is not given a name and could be multiple different mental illnesses based on the symptoms mentioned.

Both characters are portrayed negatively throughout the book.  Indiana is aware of the fact that her mentally is different than others but states that she enjoys being around other people’s suffering and she is manipulative. Joan is delusional, manipulative and narcissistic.   Both of them lack empathy for others and wont acknowledge their issues.

I don’t think that Mrs. O’Neill had the intension of portraying the mentally ill this way.  I think that Ruth O’Neill, like so many people, has a limited knowledge of mental illness.  She probably got some of this knowledge from sources (news, movies, books, social media, magazines and more) that choose to only talk about the social violent episodes of a few (because violence gets attention while people’s well being doesn’t) without even realizing it.

I say this because in my experiances with family & friends diagnosed with mental illnesses that they not only acknowledge their disorder(s) but make a conscience effort to maintain a healthy mentality and lifestyle.  Yes, there are individuals who aren’t this way but they are the exception, and they can often become like my family/friends with the right support.

I guess what I am trying to say is this, the book is worth reading but realise that Joan and Indiana are both mentally ill people who should be labeled as “the execption not the rule”.

So if you like Trillers or are a Ruth O’Neill fan check out Befriended and stay open minded about mental illness.

Happy reading!

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Review: One Groovy Summer

  • Title: One Groovy Summer: A Summer Adventure From 1968
  • Author: Rocky Gregory
  • Paperback
  • # of Pages: 131
  • Publisher:
  • Released: April 23, 2014
  • Genre(s): memoir
  • My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher/author.

*All opinions are my own.

Synopsis

It was the Sixties – the time of the Sexual Revolution and the Hippie Movement. Just out of high school, Will and Skip knew they could be drafted into the Vietnam War soon. So they were determined to make the most of their summer break, and they sure did. It was one groovy adventure full of action, romance, and comedy. Young Adults everywhere are enjoying it and telling their friends. So don’t miss it.

Review

I had a lot of fun reading this book. 1960’s America has fascinated me since I was a kid in the 1980’s.  This memoir illustrates the life of a boy just after high school graduation trying to enjoy a summer of fun and making experiences before college while the possibility of being drafted looms over his head.

The 1960’s in America were a time of revolution with the hippie movement and civil rights movement while also dealing with war and the draft.

The events I read about were a lot of fun.  Will, the main character, talked about his adventures in a way that was relatable way that allowed those who weren’t alive in the 1960’s. I liked the subtle use of pop lingo to help keep the reader in the mentality of the 1960’s.

I found this memoir a wonderful and well written reminder to the fact that the a persons generation has an impact on their life.  Whether you lived through 1960’s America or not you will find enjoyment in this book and should pick up a copy of this book.

Happy reading everyone!

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Review: I Really Like Mushrooms

  • Title: I Really Like Mushrooms
  • Author: Jared Bandull
  • # of Pages: 242
  • e-book copy
  • Released: 2018
  • Genre(s): fiction, young adult, paranormal
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

*I was given a copy of the book by the author.

* All opinions are my own.

Synopsis

A ghost and witch story that based on real events.

The witch who terrorizes the town of Mushroom circle has now decided to curse outsiders. Everybody believes it’s just a folklore just to scare people, but then individuals went insane and killed themselves the next day. Some worshipped the witch to spare their life. Now the folktale has become a reality.

Can the witch be stopped or will the people have to live in terror knowing that they could be next?

I was contacted by the author about this book.  Within a couple of pages I could see why.  This book was very poorly written and was not edited at all.  Many high school students could have edited most of the problems I found.  The author frequently mixed up ‘there’ and ‘their’.  He also frequently combined past with present and singular with plural.

There were few details about people, events or locations.  Apparently, the main character wears a balaclava (a face mask that only shows your eyes) all the time but the author doesn’t tell you this until you’re a third of the way through the book and the explanation for why he wears it isn’t until near the end.

To be honest, the only reason I gave this book two stars is because I believe that if the story line was given to a semi-decent (yes, semi-decent) writer they could take this jumble of words and turn it into a book.

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ARC Review: Shelter in Place

  • Title: Shelter in Place
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • # of pages: 438
  • Advanced Reader Copy
  • Publisher: St Martins Press
  • Date of release: May 29, 2018
  • Genre(s): Fiction, Romance novel, Domestic Fiction
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

* I received this book from a giveaway in a Nora Roberts fan club I’m in.

* All opinions are my own.

Synopsis

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

Review

I absolutely loved this book.  When I first learned about the opening of this book I was a little skeptical about the impact it could have.  I shouldn’t have worried.  Teen mass shooting are a major political and social topic right now and Nora Roberts does a wonderful job of navigating these issues with class.

Nora Roberts found the right balance of real and make-believe.  Allowing me, and others, to see beyond the first chapter and absorb the story after this tragic event.  The reader is expertly guided through the lives of some of the survivors in a way that although you are reminded of the event your focus is held by their attempts to continue on.  The different characters attempts to continue on take them down many different paths. The variety of paths Nora Roberts wrote are a great examples of the different mentalities people have after such an event.

I was impressed with how psychological issues were woven into the story lines of both the protagonists’ and the antagonist.  The antagonist’s psychosis was extremely well done and shows how seemingly unimportant things can influence a person’s life.

I have been a Nora Roberts fan for a long time and I think this is my favorite book.  I will definately read this book again.  I encourage every one to read this book. If you have doubts, look past them and give this book a try.

Happy reading!!!

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Review: The Night

  • Title: The Night
  • Author: Matthew Murphy
  • # of pages: 270
  • Publisher: EMSA Publishing
  • Released: February 14, 2018
  • Genre(s): Crime Thriller, Historical fiction
  • My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

* I received my copy of this book from the author.

* All opinions are my own.

When Clive Baxter returns home from World War II, he expects to settle into a quiet life far from the battlefields of Europe. Instead, he finds himself on the south side of Chicago in the neighborhood of Brownsville where everything is not as it seems.

A small neighborhood surrounding a meat processing plant, Brownsville is a wartime centerpiece for African-American migration north drawing in hundreds of people with the promise of work, housing, and a safe community.

As Clive soon learns, Brownsville is controlled by a mobster known only as the Landlord. But when Clive crosses the Landlord, he is framed for a murder, and forced to go underground to clear his name. Taking on the persona of the Night, hiding in the shadows, Clive disguises himself in a bid to take the Landlord down, he soon discovers he is not alone in this quest.

Matthew Murphy contacted me about reviewing The Night after the book’s release, and  considering my love of historical fiction I accepted the request.  It took me almost a week to read this book, which is a long time for me.  I liked the stories premise, but I found myself wanting details that were never given.

Mr. Murphy does a great job of creating and describing Clive’s mentally, but never tells you what Clive looks like physically.  In fact, very few characters have physical descriptions other than to specify if they are black, white or Asian.  Sure, it’s okay to leave out some details so the reader’s imagination can wander but when you don’t give descriptions of characters your depriving the readers of key information.  The fact that Mr. Murphy seemed to actively avoid physical descriptions made it harder for me to connect to the characters.

Mr. Murphy do a great job of deminstrating the inequalities between blacks and whites in 1940’s America throughout the book in multiple ways.  Once this I saw theme show up I wondered whether the lack of descriptive details throughout the book was due to a limited knowledge of African-American culture (and mentality), or out of fear of offending people because the author is caucasion.

As I said earlier, I enjoyed the plot.  The progression of events moved in a way that I felt was believeable. I definately thought Clive’s mental transformation as he learned what civilian life could mean was well written.

So, when I compare the good and bad I come to the conculsion that as a whole I liked the book and I would recommend The Night by Matthew Murphy to other readers.

Happy Reading!!!!

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Review: Nothing Forgotten

  • Title: Nothing Forgotten
  • Author: Jessica Levine
  • # of pages: 256
  • Publisher: She Writes Press
  • Genre(s): woman’s fiction
  • Release date: April 10, 2018
  • My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

* I received this ARC from the publisher.

* All opinions are my own.

When Anna, now living in California, is contacted by the Italian lover she knew decades before, she recalls their affair and the child she gave up for adoption. As the episode returns to haunt her―threatening the life she’s built, including her marriage―the story moves back in time to her youth in Europe.

I truly enjoyed this book. The author did an incredible job of weaving the past into the present. I found myself thinking about how past events and choices can have an impact on so much to come.

I found this book to be moving and thought provoking and I would encourage everyone to read it. Not everyone will be able to relate to the main character, but they will find the events hold the power to make you think about your own choices and questioning why certain choices are made.

Happy reading!!!