Posted in review

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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Posted in review

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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Posted in review

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!!!

Posted in review

Review: Y is for Yesterday

  • Title: Y is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone #25)
  • Author: Sue Grafton
  • # of Pages: 496
  • Kindle edition
  • Released: August 22, 2017
  • Genre(s): mystery, suspense
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

As I have progressed through the Kinsey Millhone series I have found myself consistantly giving the series four stars, but this one was not up to par with the rest.  In this book Mrs. Grafton kept jumping around in both time and POV.  The back and forth between 1979 and 1989 could of been good had the narrators stayed the same during the two years, but they didn’t.  Mrs. Grafton, kept jumping from character to character as the story progressed.  She used too many characters pov’s to effectively convey the events of the story.

The plot in this book is significantly darker that in the earlier books in the series.  This isn’t a bad thing but it certainly took me of gaurd because I wasn’t expecting it.  Although the impact would of been more powerfull had Sue Grafton been more focused on the events and less focused on who was telling what.

The first book took place in 1982 and has progressed through time until 1989.  At first I liked the use of the 1980’s because there was less technology and this impacts how Kinsey’s work was completed. But, as the years went by, the series didn’t reflect the new technology (like car phones) that would of been available to Kinsey Millhone  and doesn’t offer an explaination as to why none of them are used.

I am also very disapointed in the fact that this is going to be the final book in the series.  Sue Grafton had planned on there being one more book in the series called Z is for Zero, but she passed away from cancer before she could finish it.  I learned of her death and views of ghost writing prior to reading this book and had high hopes for how she would end this book.  I was disapointed because while Y is for Yesterday does close the case from this book there was no closure to the series as a whole.

Happy reading!!!

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Posted in Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #16: Fiction vs Nonfiction

Everyone knows that there is a difference between fiction and nonfiction, but when asked to explain it find themselves fumbling over all the different ways they have heard them explained.  So, I thought it would be helpful to put this together.

Fiction

Definition: something invented by the imagination or feigned.

Categories: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Crime Fiction, Comics, Fan Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers

Examples:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  • Mercy by Stephen King
  • The Davinci Code by Dan Brown

Nonfiction

Definition: writing that is about facts and real events.  *This is the broadest category of literature.

Categories: Biography, business, cooking, health & fitness, pets, crafts, home decorating, languages, travel, home improvement, religion/spirituality, art & music, history, self-help, true crime, science and humor.

Examples:

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
  • The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
  • The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

All the books that I listed above are adult books, but the information I have given you is also true for children’s books, short stories, poetry and other forms of writing.

If you have any questions or thoughts please leave them in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Happy Reading!!!!

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Posted in review

Review: Tides of Fortune

  • Title: Tides of Fortune
  • Author: Julia Brannan
  • Kindle edition
  • # of Pages: 409
  • Released: March 6, 2018
  • My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*No spoilers.

*All opinions are my own.

THE SIXTH AND FINAL BOOK IN THE CAPTIVATING SERIES WHICH FOLLOWS THE LIVES OF BETH AND ALEX MACGREGOR, THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Alex, now believing Beth to be alive, leaves Scotland and heads south to keep the promise he made to her at Culloden, determined to be reunited with his wife regardless of the danger to himself.

Meanwhile the Duke of Newcastle has realised that he cannot kill Beth, either publicly or privately, without attracting the enmity of powerful people, including the heir to the throne. He hits upon a way of being rid of her forever; transportation to Antigua as an indentured servant for life. By this deed he hopes that the terrible conditions on the sugar plantations will achieve the much-desired death of the woman who has defied him for so long.

Things do not go according to plan and soon Beth finds her life going in a direction neither she nor Newcastle could have foreseen, which leads her to make a decision that could have a terrible impact on Alex as he attempts to discover her whereabouts.

JOIN THE REBELLION AS BETH AND ALEX FIGHT TO SURVIVE AND BE REUNITED IN…
THE JACOBITE CHRONICLES

I loved this book.  I realize this might seem like a weird statement considering the fact that I gave it four stars, but I really did love this book.  Tides of Fortune is book 6 in The Jacobite Chronicles and is the final in the series.  I discovered the series last November and read them in time to read this book the week that it was released.

Historical fiction has been my favorite genre for a long time.  This series wove the lives of fictional characters into real events in a way that at times I had to remind myself that it was fictional.  I really liked that at the end of each book Julia Brannan (author) would tell you what events were real and how they really happened.

This final book did a wonderful job of keeping you guessing until the very end.  I would definitely recommend that people read this book, but you must read it as part of the series because it would not be as good if you don’t.

Happy reading!!!!

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Posted in review

Review: An American Marriage

  • Title: An American Marriage
  • Author: Tayari Jones
  • Kindle edition
  • # of Pages: 306
  • Released: February 6, 2018
  • Genre(s): Contemporary fiction
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*All opinions are my own.

Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

I loved this book.  When I bought this book I was unsure about how I would feel about it, but I was quickly sucked in.  There are not enough good things that I can say about this novel. Tayari Jones has the ability to reach deep inside your soul and make you feel.  Her writing is powerful yet soft.  I am overjoyed that I have found another author I love.

Ms. Jones created a penetrating look into the hearts and minds of three normal people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.  Roy, Celestial and Andre are all given their own voice, and the insight this brings is haunting.

Everyone should read this book.  Who else has read this book?  I would love to hear what everyone else thought, so please comment below.

Happy reading!!!

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Posted in review

Review: Her Last Breath

  • Title: Her Last Breath: A Chilling Psychological Thriller With a Shocking Twist
  • Author: J.A. Schneider
  • Kindle edition
  • # of pages: 253
  • Published: Oct. 21, 2016
  • Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
  • My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

* All opinions are my own.

I read most of this book in one sitting because I was so engrossed in it.  I really liked the characters.  This story is book two in the Dectective Kerri Blasco series, but Kerri Blasco was not the main character.  Mari Gill, the suspect of a murder investigation is the main character.  I really liked that Ms. Schneider wrote the story this way, it made for a more interesting read.

The reason I gave the book three stars is because the book’s title gives away what should have been a huge plot point.  I mean come on, you shouldn’t put the words “with a shocking twist” in the title.  These words allow the reader to expect the twist, which diminishes the sense of shock the author was going for.

But, other than my issue with the title I did think the book was well written.  There was no plot holes and the details were well thought out.

So please don’t let my rating stop you from reading this book.  Just go in with the knowledge that a title can tell you a lot about the subject.

Happy reading!!!

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Posted in About me, Confessions of a bookaholic

Books I Should Have Read Already, But Haven’t

Everyone has those books that they say they are going to read by they continually put them off for some reason or another.

Here is my list of books that I have been putting of.  I have marked which ones I own but still haven’t read.

  1. The Color of Water by James McBride
  2. Beloved by Toni Morrison (own)
  3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  4. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  5. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (own)
  6. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  7. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  8. Misery by Stephen King (own)
  9. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  10. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
  11. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  12. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  13. Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  14. 1984 by George Orwell
  15. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  16. One Flew over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  17. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (own)
  18. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  19. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  20. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (own)
  21. The Lord of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
  22. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  23. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  24. The Last of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  25. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (own)