Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Catherine Land answers an ad in the paper for a reliable wife, she sends along a picture with her letter describing herself as a simple and honest woman.  Ralph Truitt is looking for a companion a woman to help spend his days with.  He also wants his astranged son to come home, what he doesn't know is the secrets his son and new wife hold.

When I started reading this book I was sure if I would like it.  It was slow to begin and hard to get past some of the background description and things leading up to the plot twists.  Even then I found myself wanting to skip over parts that got to be boring and long winded.  The plot seemed to be one I had read before.   Woman married a man with a plot to kill him and take his money l.  Granted some aspects of the story are different and unique to Goolrick.I  didn't feel sympathy for any of the characters except for Mrs. Larsen, but she seemed to be the only genuine and hones person in the whole story.  Every one else had their own agendas and seemed to be using each other to meet those agendas.  Truitt came off as being a complete push-over when it came to Catherine even when he figured out what was happening, he didn't care.

It was a little more difficult to get to the end of this one than some of the other books I have read.  I was a little disappointed in it because I heard such great things and I didn't find it to be what others made it out to be.  I can see why a lot of people enjoyed the book, but I think I was expecting more suspense, more action, Truitt putting up more of fight.  The only suspenseful part (if you can say it's suspenseful){SPOILER} was towards the end when Andy tries to rape Catherine and she stabs him. I am not sure what I was expecting.

I would give this book a 3 out of 5 because while there are some things I didn't like about it there were some good points like the descriptions and dialog.  It was a well written book, just a well written book that didn't tickle my fancy.  I am sure other people would enjoy the book.  Even though I was  not a fan of this book, I am interested in reading some of Goolrick's other books to see if I would enjoy them as well because he does have an interesting writing style.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Ghost Shadow by Heather Graham

David Bennet's fiance was brutually murdered and positioned to resemble a thousand year old murder.  After the murder case was closed, David leaves town trying to leave all the rumors behind.  Katie O'Hara hopes to reopen the Bennet family museum after the death of the patriarch.  But there is a wrench in her plans, David Bennet who returns home to settle his grandfather's estates.  But he is not the only person with his sites on Katie.  Someone else is following Katie, and killing throughout the city.  While Katie takes on the cold case on her own, she has help from a spiritual friend only she may see.  All of these things mixed together make for a great story.

I have recently discovered Heather Graham's writing.  This book was the second of her's that I have read and I highly enjoyed it.  I like the idea of a ghost helping someone find a killer or try to protect the person who see him.  In this book Bartholomew, was highly concerned about Katie's safety, not just her physical safety but the safety of her heart.  He warned her against falling for David for various reasons, almost like a big brother would.  Bartholomew quickly became one of my favorite characters in the book for this reason and because he was a prankster and one who enjoys having fun.

Overall the story was interesting and I enjoyed the historical aspect included into the story, but there were some points that didn't seem to flow right or seemed to drag on rather than keep pace with the rest of the novel.  Katie and David's characters were well developed, and somewhat complex, but all the other characters fell into the background.  Some characters are introduced in the very end that would have made sense to introduce earlier on including the killer.  We didn't see much of the killer character in the book aside from when the story told from his viewpoint (when readers didn't know who it was).  If there was a little more interaction happened with the killer and Katie/David the ending may have made a little bit more sense. 

Graham does a good job setting up the story and building suspense throughout it, but some points seemed to have fallen short of expectation. It almost felt like there was more that Graham could have done with the story.  But even with dull moments the book still held my attention and pulled me into the story line.  I would recommend this novel to mystery fans who don't want something gory and over the top.  There is some romance, but I don't think there is enough for the novel to be considered a romance novel.  I would give this book a rating of 3.5 out of 5.  I have three more Heather Graham novels on my to read list (I am sure I will end up buying more) and I cannot wait to begin one of them.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Heloise All Around The House

About a week and half ago my beloved Gramma had passed away.  She was a spitfire of a woman who was deeply devoted to God.  One of the many things she and I had in common was our love for reading.  Among the items that was given to me of hers, as a large amount of books.  Some I will review in honor of her. 

The first one I started reading is Heloise.   I  remember seeing this book or at least one like it in my house growing up, but never read it because we'll as a kid it didn't interest me.  But now as a woman in my 30's I wondered if there are tips that are helpful today.  The answer is Yes.  Yes there is.

There are so many helpful tips with humor added in ranging from getting gum out of hair and dishwashing tips to how to save potatoes from shriveling and saving your razor from rusting.  A lot of these tips, I never thought of trying.  I kept thinking why didn't I try that?    This reminded me of those "Daily life hacks" videos is see on social media all the time.  Who would have thought a popular trend today started in the 60's with books like Heloise!

I absolutely loved reading this and will be sure to try some of the ideas presented in the book.  I recommend it if you like learning new ways to do things, ideas to re purpose things, cleaning ideas and more.  I'm not going to give the book a rating for various reasons.  But will say it is a good addition to book shelves.  I love that this is one of the many ways I can remember Gramma and keep her close.

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor

As we all know Alice in Wonderland is my favorite story of all time, so anytime i can read a story or series that is based off the classic I end up reading it.  The Looking Glass Wars is such a series, Seeing Redd is the second book in the series.  Alyss has completed her Maze and defeated the Redd Queen.  She is working to get Wronderopolis back to the majestic glory it once was.  Hatter Madigan feels the need to take time for himself and Molly take his place as the Queen's bodyguard.  The king of the Borderlands: Arch has been plotting his own take over of Wonderopolis as he does not respect a woman as a leader.  Redd discovers she can navigate her maze after all and find her scepter and potentially defeat Alyss. Alyss must figure out how she can defeat her aunt once and for all to save her kingdom.

I generally love many stories that deal with Alice in Wonderland, this series is no different.  I love Looking Glass Wars series.  I was saddened that Alyss and Hatter didn't play bigger roles in the story.  Sure they were in the novel, but they were not the focus whereas Redd and Arch's plots were the main story line. The Cat and Dodge were not in the story much either, especially when the battle scene finally appears, they don't do much of battle.  I was waiting for something because there was a lot of build up.  But that seemed to be most of the book, building up for something else, something we don't see a lot of in this book, maybe the third installment.

Alyss hasn't changed much, she is still concerned with her feelings for Dodge and at times that takes her attention away from her duty as queen, but I guess you have to add in a romance to the story somewhere. What I did like and thought was interesting was the silk from the caterpillars having special qualities when woven into fabric or woven together.  It was an interesting addition to the story and I wanted to see where Frank would take it other than using the silk thread as a weapon or enhancement for weapons like Hatter's Hat.  I am not sure if I like this one as much as I liked Looking Glass Wars, and I am eager to see what happens in the third book of the series. 

I would give this book a 3 out 5 stars because it didn't seem as entertaining as the first book, though I still couldn't put it down.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Gifted By Liz Long

After the loss of her parents, Lucy Sullivan finds herself running away to join the circus.  Donovan Circus is not your everyday normal circus, the performers and workers all have special powers, Lucy included.  Lucy is a firestarter, probably the most talented.  As she is learning to control her power, someone is killing members of the troupe and sabotaging some of the performances.  A human scientist is enamored by the gifted community and has been experimenting on people he kidnaps from the community for years.  He has his sights set on Lucy and does everything he can to entice her to be his test subject and give him her power.  Lucy needs to learn who she is able to trust if anyone, who is telling the truth, and how will she be able to defeat someone who is determined to ruin the lives of those in Donovan Circus.

As soon as I began reading this book I fell in love with it.  Liz Long does an amazing job creating a world that captivates her readers.  I love stories that combine different magic powers, but sometimes those stories don't mesh well with numerous powers.  This one makes use of the powers in a great way, each person helping someone else train and great strong.  Lucy at first comes off as being a whiney little girl, but as the story progresses she becomes stronger and comes into her own fire abilities as well as skills as a leader.  She comes to realize not only who she is as a person but the strength she has as a Firestarter.  Throughout the book she relies heavily on others to help her around the circus, but it doesn't come off as a girl incapable of completing a task, it is one of teamwork and family unity.


There is a little bit for everyone in this novel,:mystery, romance, and fantasy.  Liz writes a fantastic tale that is difficult to put down.  It has an even pace and doesn't feel like it is forced. One of my favorite things was the character Gabriel, he was an Empath.  Liz takes the idea of an Empath a step farther in that they are able to control the emotions of someone else rather than feeling every emotion.  I also enjoyed that there were different levels to the gifts like with Firestarters there are those who can control fire, make fire, or even those who could just withstand it.  A lot of things in the book were unique and different from what I have seen in other books, and that makes it fantastic in my mind.

I know there is more to the series and I eagerly await the next book in the series to find out what will happen next, whether someone else will come along to replace Felix or if something else worse will happen.  I give this novel a 3.5 out of 5 stars.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Zen of Zombie by Scott Kenemore

I bought this book for my boyfriend, it seemed like the perfect thing to get him reading a little bit more.  He loved it, and is actually reading it a second time around.  Zen of Zombie is a book that teaches you how to slow down and move at your own pace, much like a zombie.  It takes many principles of Zen and meditations and applies to them how a zombie would be.  It is an interesting way to look at Zen and is highly entertaining to read.  Who knew Zombies could teach so much about slowing down and enjoying life!

The book goes over 12 steps to led to complete zombification which takes place over a period of 90 days (my boyfriend said it didn’t take).  It helps readers conquer fears, play it cool, letting go and being your own boss.  Throughout the book it imparts wisdom and sage zombie advice for getting through life.  It is a funny little book to have on the night stand or coffee table as my boyfriend does.  It doesn’t necessarily follow the lore to a T, so if you are a fanatic for lore to be exact maybe don’t read this, but really it’s a book written in good fun.

It is not something serious or meant to be such, just something to laugh about and have an easy read.  Some things are reiterated throughout the book which can get old fast, but it is still something to give you or your guests a quick laugh.  There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor so if that is something that is not your style, don’t read it.  It pokes fun at the fandom which can be appreciated.  Overall I give the book a 3 out of 5 because it did find it’s silliness something my boyfriend and I could share.
 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Apologies

I know I haven't posted anything for several days, but sadly my beloved grandma is slowly passing away.  I have been spending as much time as I can with her which takes away from writing.  Prayers for the family are welcome while we await the inevitable.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hunger Games Cookbook

Along with reading, one of my favorite things to do is cook.  When i found the Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, I got really excited.  Throughout the series of Hunger Games there are a lot of different foods that sound delicious as you read the books.  This cookbook includes those foods.  With each entry of recipes there is the passage that includes the food and which book you will find it.

It also tells you different things you can do to make it different or alter it to meet your dietary needs.

There are a few recipes that I have tried and they are as delicious as the books made them sound.  Most cookbooks include images from time to time, but this one does not include them.  Not that pictures are necessary for cookbooks, but sometimes it helps make something look delicious enough to eat.  The recipes are easy to follow and do not include anything that you wouldn't be able to find at the local grocery store. 

I love that I have a cookbook that has a literature element to it, it fits the person that I am and I think it would make a great addition to other bookshelves for those who love cooking and reading.  I give the cookbook a 4 out of 5 since there isn't a way to determine if the food looks good.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Kitty finds herself dreaming of another world, one where she met the man of her dreams and had the family she always wanted, sort of.  She begins to struggle to determine which world is the reality and which is the dream.  Could she be running from something she doesn’t want to face?  Between the two worlds, Kitty begins to learn new things about herself and discover there are things we wish to escape, but cannot and need to learn how to process and deal with the properly before she is lost within herself.

I was a little skeptical about this book because it is outside of my normal genre of reading material, but it sounded interested and sometimes it is good to step outside of your norm.  I have to say this book was a well written novel.  It was easy to tell when the scenes switched realities as Kitty expressed concern about it when she would awake or go to sleep, those are good transition points for something like this.  There were some twists and surprises such as her son having Autism, though I kind of wish more was done with this than what readers see.  There was a wide range of possibilities that could have happened but didn’t.  The book seemed to focus on one aspect of the disorder rather than other aspects.  It did a good job portraying the mindset regarding how others viewed Autism in the 1950’s which is vastly different from what we know today.

I felt like I wanted more of Katheryn (Kitty in the other world) I wanted to see her trying more rather than being aloof and hands off.  It wasn’t until almost the end when she started to interact more, but I suppose that goes with thinking she was in a dream rather than reality.  I liked that there were not obvious clues as to which was real and which was a dream.  The readers found out at the same time that Katheryn figured it out.  The book had a lot of potential, but seemed to fall short in some areas, drag in some and others completely not make sense.  But regardless of that, I still enjoyed reading it.  Funny how something are easily overlooked for what could be a good story.  I look forward to other books by this author.  I give this a rating of 3 out of 5.  I would recommend it to anyone who likes chick-lit books, but with a disclaimer that it is not the typical chick-lit theme.