Thursday, June 30, 2016

G732 Book Review of Driftwood point by Mariah Stewart

Name of Book: Driftwood Point

Author: Mariah Stewart

ISBN: 978-1-4767-9259-0

Publisher: Gallery Books

Part of a Series: The Chesapeake Diaries

Type of book: St. Dennis, art, lost love, second chances, Maryland, discovering self, cottage, family history, grudges, environmental, the "eye", modern times, residents, wrong side of the war

Year it was published: 2016


The sun sets on the Chesapeake Diaries, New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart’s cherished series based on Maryland’s picturesque eastern shore, with this romantic tale of a man who takes a second chance on love with the high school crush who broke his heart.

Up-and-coming artist Lisbeth Parker finally has a chance to show the folks back home what it means to leave Cannonball Island and make something of yourself. As a native whose stubborn father forbade her from befriending townies, Lis always felt like an outsider in St. Dennis. So while her work is on display in the local art gallery, she records her ailing centenarian great-grandmother’s stories of the island’s rich history and spearheads a fight for its survival.

Lis was Alec Jansen’s secret dream girl growing up, even after she flat-out refused to be his prom date. Now the handsome environmental engineer and the whip-smart beauty are on opposite sides of a debate over the island’s future. Hired to prove that developing the shore will have little impact on the area’s natural integrity and huge gains for its economy, Alec is determined to change his alluring, headstrong rival’s mind—and to win her heart.


The main characters include Alec Jensen who is keeping a few secrets from his longtime crush Lisbeth Parker. He is resourceful, determined, laid-back and open-minded in giving second chances. Most of the book focused on Lisbeth Parker who is lost between her old life and the new life she is beginning to make for herself in St. Dennis. Lisbeth is a talented artist who cares more for others than for herself and makes mistakes in the past at the cost of her social life. One another main character is Ruby Carter, Lisbeth's great-grandmother who is 100 years old, has the eye and is a dispenser of understanding and wisdom as well as stubborness. I have to say that she is my favorite character in the book and I hope to see more of her in future installments.


Its important to discover self


The story is written in third person narrative from Alec's and Lisbeth's points of view, although Lisbeth is the one that dominated. I was really impressed with the precision and how much heart Driftwood Point had because one would think that after ten books in the series, there would be staleness and the reader wouldn't learn about the main characters and be bored by the endless cameos. In Driftwood Point the atmosphere of summer love as well as discovery and feeling excited about what happens next add to a very vibrant series that heavily promises to keep going with amazing stories and makes the reader wish that St. Dennis and its residents are real.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and their dogs amid the rolling hills and Amish farms of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she gardens, reads, and enjoys country life.


Normally I don't look forward to summers, especially in Texas which includes heatwave, high temperature and having AC on 24/7, but thanks to The Chesapeake Diaries by Mariah Stewart, I at least am beginning to have one thing to look forward to during summer time; and that is to look forward to reading and reviewing the latest additions to Chesapeake Series which garner so much praise for me that it will involve writing a novel of adjectives in how much I have enjoyed them so far. Driftwood Point is no exception and for me is both magical and heartwarming. I have only read three so far; At River's Edge, That Chesapeake Summer and Driftwood Point, yet from those three the previous seven novels just moved a lot higher in my TBR list. I loved getting lost within the pages,seeing my favorite town as well as the Cannonball Island and getting to know the characters of Alec Jensen, Ruby Carter and Lisbeth Parker as well as catching glimpses of other famous St. Dennis residents and getting brief updates on their lives.

This was given to me by Melissa Gramstad for an honest review

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

G712 Am I going to be okay? Weathering the storms of mental illness, addiction, and grief

Title of the book: am I going to be okay? Weathering the storms of mental illness, addiction, and grief

Author: Debra Whittam

Publisher: Turning Point International

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9968817-0-8


Am I Going To Be Okay? is a thought provoking true life story of growing up in a family riddled with mental illness and addiction and the effect it had on the children during their formative years. It touches profoundly on the relationship between family fears and frustrations and how they affect a person's level of self-esteem. The author, Debra Whittam, a licensed, practicing mental health therapist casts an unashamed light on her shame-based childhood and subsequent decent into her own sea of addiction, loneliness and denial as well as the steps she took for recovery and wellness. This is a story that will be helpful to all who might need to throw off fear and frustration and gain the courage and self-confidence to produce positive changes in their lives

Author Info:
(From the book)

Debra Whittam is a licensed, practicing mental health therapist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who specializes in addiction, anxiety, and depression, grief and loss. Whittam is passionate about her work in all areas o fher specialties, especially addiction. Working in a detox unit for over three years before beginning her own private practice, Whittam realized, while counseling patients in the life and death arena of the detox unit, how much the loss of a beloved through death or a relationship impacted those struggling with addiction.

In this memoir, Whittam skillfully infuses her memories, stories and professional insights to remind us that the most important relationship we willl ever ahve is with ourselves. She splits her time between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and Paris, France. This is her first book.

Personal Opinion:

From start to finish, the reader is taken through Debra's family; from beginnings of how abandonment in childhood can impact future generations, to how the author learned to not let the past define her and to grow past it. It's not a lengthy memoir, and while it does explore childhood, adulthood as well as trying to deal with the past, I feel that its a very glossed over life in terms of her marriage at least. What also was explored is what happens when people hold things inside and are not encouraged to express themselves or their feelings. For me it was an addictive blend of psychology and storytelling that anyone can understand.

This is for Pump Up Your Book

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G723 Date like a girl, marry like a woman; the polished woman's guide to love, romance and sex

Title of the book: Date like a girl, marry like a woman; the polished woman's guide to love, romance and sex

Author: Jessica R Bunevacz

Publisher: Self published

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5238-2396-3


Navigating our romantic lives can be filled with incredible highs and unfathomable lows. Everyone enters relationships with a unique idea of what makes connection work. But even with our differences, we have a common thread running through all of us: the deep desire to love and be loved.

Based on her experiences, and with the help of her closest friends and the men in her life, author Jessica R. Bunevacz created a series of guidelines for women looking to enjoy dating and romance and avoid common pitfalls and difficulties.

Whether you're dating, getting ready to walk down the aisle, or are already married and looking to take your marriage to the next level, it's profoundly important to celebrate where you are on your journey and make every day special and meaningful for yourself and those around you.

"Date like a Girl, Marry like a Woman "incorporates Bunevacz's own stories of love, dating, and marriage with practical advice for today's modern relationship and reminds readers not to settle for anything less than the best.

Author Info:
(From back of the book)

A FORMER entertainer from the Philippines, author Jessica R. Bunevacz is now a full-time polished woman enjoying the life and marriage of her dreams.

Bunevacz's own experiences have led her to develop real-world relationship advice to help women feel more confident and comfortable whetehr they're dating or have already said "I do."

Connect with the author:   Website      Website - book   Twitter 
                                                Facebook   Pinterest     YouTube

Personal Opinion:

This is a short and straight to the point book that's divided into two sections; that of dating and afterwards, marriage. The dating section of the book is about 30 rules and in addition to the rules she gives examples of how to incorporate them into one's life. I like that in some instances she does take into consideration that people of different financial status may read her book, not just the wealthy ones. One of the rules, such as "Keep something on the first few times you have sex" sounds a bit strange to me,  What I also would like to mention is that while anyone can use the book and the advice the author gives, strangely enough there isn't much advice or taking into account for those who are single mothers or are divorced, at least for me. The second section is focusing on marriage and how to keep marriage happy. The advice, I'll admit, is very old fashioned and might upset some women who are looking for something more egalitarian in a marriage. (One piece of advice is "A polished wife knows how to cook." and "A polished wife knows how to feed her husband's ego.") but while dispensing this type of advice, she does manage to give it a more modern twist. "Learning to cook doesn't have to be stressful, time consuming, or costly and can be structured to fit your learning style." (145) Although I'm not married, nor I've never been married, but in life I found out that old fashioned advice applies to relationships far more than modern advice.

This is for iRead Book Tours


June 13 - Sarah Rehmatullah - review / giveaway
June 14 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - book spotlight / guest post
June 15 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
​June 16 - Sahar's Blog - review
June 16 - misty103 @ HubPages - review / author interview
June 17 - Tragically Dull Adventures of an Almost Librarian - review
June 17 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / author interview / giveaway
June 20 - Heidi's Wanderings - review / giveaway
June 20 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
June 21 - Readers Muse - review
June 22 - Perfect Chaos - review / giveaway
June 22 - The Autistic Gamer - review
June 23 - Northernmsw - review
June 24 - Corinne Rodrigues - review / author interview / giveaway
June 24 - Jessica Cassidy - review
June 24 - booklovercircumspect4 - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

G702 Book Review of The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

Name of Book: The Moon in the Palace

Author: Weina Dai Randel

ISBN: 978-1-4926-1356-5

Publisher: Sourcebooks landmark

Part of a Series: The Empress of Wu Duology

Type of book: China, Tang Dynasty, Empress Wu, 631-648, seasons, palace life, loyalty, family, filial piety, secrets, friendships, relationships, rivalry, jobs, fighting

Year it was published: 2016


There is no easy path for a woman aspiring to power

A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the Emperor’s attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively, hoping to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of seduction to draw his interest. But young Mei knows nothing of these womanly arts, yet she will give the Emperor a gift he can never forget.

Mei’s intelligence and curiosity, the same traits that make her an outcast among the other concubines, impress the Emperor. But just as she is in a position to seduce the most powerful man in China, divided loyalties split the palace in two, culminating in a perilous battle that Mei can only hope to survive.

In the breakthrough first volume in the Empress of Bright Moon duology, Weina Dai Randel paints a vibrant portrait of ancient China—where love, ambition, and loyalty can spell life of death—and the woman who came to rule it all.


Main characters include Mei whose father died under mysterious circumstances but wished for her to bring honor to the family. Much to mine surprise, Mei is a different and likable character than I expected. (From the stories I heard of her in my history class, I expected someone very ruthless and someone who always keeps a very sharp dagger.) She is loyal, likable, resourceful and extremely clever as well as intelligent. She is also conflicted and isn't sure of some of the decisions she makes. Pheasant is a very kind and sweet male character who has his own secrets and does what he can to help Mei. Jewel is Mei's rival but has an interesting relationship to Mei and is both ruthless and isn't afraid of taking advantage of people around her. Noble Lady is one of Emperor's highest ladies and is of great help to Mei. She is sweet, gentle and very virtuous.


Life in the palace isn't all luxury


The story is from the first person narrative from Mei's point of view. I really loved the details that were included in the story as well as the feel of the book which is very modern and seems as if it could take place somewhere. The language and tone are modern than ancient and its a good read for those dipping their toes into Chinese culture and history because I do believe its very well researched and it is a dark and fascinating read. I do feel that the characters in this book aren't as compelling and it feels as if the author is holding back a little or is uncertain when it comes to balancing the details and the characters.

Author Information:
(From inside the book)

Weina Dai Randel was born and raised in China. She has worked as a journalist, a magazine editor, and an adjunct professor. Her passion for history tels her to share classical Chinese literature, tales of Chinese dynasties, and stories fo Chinese historical figures with American readers. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and currently lives in Texas. The Moon in the Palace is her first novel.


All I can say is that I thought I knew quite a bit about China, but apparently not everything as the book set out to prove to me. I did know a little about the main character, the future Empress Wu, the only female ruler in China, but the stories I was told in my history class were of her notoriety, one being that she killed her own child, and another story I clearly remember is that she died a natural death because men were too frightened to scheme and kill her. With the book, the author seems to have built a time machine where she went back in time and then came back and wrote the story. I do think that the characters aren't as deep as I hoped,but I do promise that the sequel more than makes up for it. The first book is more detail oriented where we are introduced to ancient China and to life in the palace as a woman desired by emperor while the second book moves on to focusing on the character a lot more. Also, something interesting is that the moon, as in pretty much a lot of cultures, refers to feminine and mysterious and dark. (For some odd reason reminds me of The Court of the Lion by Eleanor Cooney which is about Empress Wu's grandson.)

This was given to me by the author for an honest review; I also would like to thank Jocelyn from Speaking of China for introducing me to the author who gave me this wonderful opportunity to read and review the novels, truly a time of serendipity 

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G691 Book Review of Eating bull by Carrie Rubin

Name of Book: Eating Bull

Author: Carrie Rubin

ISBN: 978-1-940419-10-7

Publisher: Science Thriller Media

Type of book: obesity, responsibility, modern times, murder, thriller, abandonment, bullying, suing, justice, poking fun, health issues, food, relationship to food

Year it was published: 2015


Jeremy, a lonely and obese teenager, shoots into the limelight when a headstrong public health nurse persuades him to sue the food industry. Tossed into a storm of media buzz and bullying, the teen draws the attention of a serial killer who's targeting the obese. Soon the boy, the nurse, and their loved ones take center stage in a delusional man's drama.

In this novel of suspense, Eating Bull explores the real-life issues of bullying, fat-shaming, and the food industry's role in obesity.

"A solid thriller that manages to infuse one boy's coming-of-age with a whole lot of murder."--Kirkus Reviews

**Content Advisory: This book contains some profanity and brief scenes of graphic violence.


Main characters include Jeremy, Darwin and Sue. Jeremy is a young teenager who happens to be extremely obese. He is dealing with issues of abandonment, lack of friends due to his weight, being bullied both at home and at school and also is dealing with health issues from the said weight. Sue is a nurse who meets Jeremy and is nicknamed the Warrior Woman because she constantly battles for justice no matter what consequences may befall on her. She works as sort of a social worker if I'm not mistaken and wants to make her voice heard. Darwin is possibly an un-diagnosed schizophrenic murderer who targets and kills obese people and who is also dealing with abandonment, hatred and shame. (I'm embarrassed to admit that Darwin reminds me of Family Guy episode where Lois's brother kills fat people, although the novel is far more serious than that cartoon episode.)


Obesity is a complex issue


The story is in third person narrative from Jeremy's, Darwin's and Sue's points of view. I really enjoyed the writing style and the way the author set up the plot, keeping me guessing as to whom Darwin is. At first I thought Darwin was someone unrelated, but then towards the end the clues started to add up that he is closer than one thinks. Along with exploration of how someone becomes obese as well as various relationships that characters have to food and a mix of murderer being obsessed with killing obese individuals, one is in for a roller coaster ride.

Author Information:
(From back of the book)

Carrie Rubin is a physician with a master's degree in public health. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two sons. Other works include The Seneca Scourge (2012)


This will definitely go into one of my favorite and memorable reads. It's very chilling and seems to come at a perfect time for society and its facing obesity. What I find interesting is the relationship that the author plays between food, weight and our obsession with it, for there are people that completely depend on food to satisfy themselves, then there are people who are obsessed with staying away from food. Unfortunately as well, the battle to find balance between overfeeding and underfeeding begins the minute a baby is out of the womb and latched on to a bottle, as I'm finding out now, for I, the grandma and baby's father worry about over feeding him yet at the same time we don't want to underfeed him. Ultimately, what is the right answer? Who should take responsibility for obesity and the impact it has on society? While towards the end the book seems a little clear-cut and tied up neatly, the way someone will look at obesity and responsibility after the read will never be the same.

This is for Claire McKinney Public Relations

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G711 Book Review of Beneath the African sun by Maria Lynch

Name of Book: Beneath the African Sun

Author: Maria Lynch

ISBN: 9781460274866

Publisher: FriesenPress

Type of book: Africa, Portugese Goa, racism, clothing, business, children/young adult novel, 1913-1970s, family, settling down, roots, married life, relationships

Year it was published: 2015


When Sabby Mendes leaves Portuguese Goa aboard the dhow Monsoon Wind bound for British East Africa in 1916, he has one dream-to find work as a tailor in the relatively new capital of Nairobi. Sabby is a young man, still a teenager, but he is determined to build a life for himself, and he knows that the opportunities in the British Protectorate are better than those facing him at home. A bright, affable young man with a genuine passion and talent for tailoring, he is not prepared for what he is about to find beyond the Arabian Sea. The Protectorate, which will become British Colony of Kenya, is a highly segregated society with the British firmly ensconced at its top; below them are the "Asians" like Sabby; and at the very bottom are the native African population who are regarded as little more than savages in need of civilization. Beneath the African Sun offers, through the eyes of its protagonist, a street-level view of the changing social and political climate of Kenya between 1916 and 1970, including the 'Mau Mau' Uprising of the native Kikuyu, the eventual independence of Kenya in 1963, and the political fallout that followed. More than a history, it is a story about family, home, social justice, and what it means to truly belong somewhere.


Besides the names the characters are not well drawn or well done for that matter. There is Sabby for whom everything works out perfectly and who doesn't offer glimpse into his own psychology as well as his wife, children, friends and family. Literally speaking, whatever Sabby decides is the right thing to do and works out with little to no conflict.


Africa is far more complex than originally thought


The story is in first person narrative from Sabby's point of view and is written in a very simple manner as well as language. While some authors are talented in creating complex stories using the simple language, (Pearl Buck for instance,) this is not the case. The book does not delve deeply into the thoughts and actions of characters as I hoped it would do, and some plots or story points went unresolved, for instance where one of Sabby's workers is having some issues, but Sabby never followed up on how those issues were resolved. I couldn't even connect to any of the characters, unfortunately and aside from the pervasive racism, there is very little conflict in Sabby's life. I also would have liked more dialogues between the characters which were literally non-existent.

Author Information:
(From PUYB)

  • Beneath the African Sun is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Meet the Author

Maria Lynch
Maria was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. After graduating from Dr. Ribeiro Goan School and with secretarial skills and her experience as a School Secretary she arrived in London, England in 1967 in the midst of “hippie world.” She studied at Pitman’s College for a Commercial Teacher’s Diploma which she successfully achieved in 1969. Due to the tenuous political situation in Kenya she had to find a new home. In the autumn of 1970 she emigrated to Canada in search of a home to put down her new roots. This she did with her husband, Tim who immigrated to Canada from South Wales, UK.
To Maria and Tim, Canada became a land of opportunity and new beginnings. In pursuit of these opportunities, they lived in Hamilton, Montreal, and Toronto. Tim pursued post graduate studies at the University of Toronto while Maria achieved a B.A. in Economics from York University followed by a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto. During this time, she and Tim nurtured their two sons. When they reached school age, Maria taught Business Studies’ courses  at high schools in the City of Toronto for fourteen years. In 1999 she achieved an M.A. (Leadership and Training) from Royal Roads University, British Columbia.
Maria is an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction books. The latter enables her to delve into her favorite topics of social justice issues, community development and philosophy. In 2009 she began blogging, visit This deepened her interest in writing novels and is author of Beneath the African Sun; for details She also enjoys nature trail walking and traveling.
For More Information

From the summary, I looked forward to reading the book because it promised a unique story and it takes place in Africa. When I started to read the novel, my excitement began plunging, especially when I realized that the writing style would not improve and that the book is all told and no show. From start to finish, the main character, Sabby, sounds almost childlike and seems to gain very little maturity as the years move on. I believe that the book might be perfect for young adult audience to teach them lessons on the complex history of Africa, or perhaps inspire them to see Africa differently, but for those that are seeking a complex tale of racism and how it plays into people's lives, I would mention in taking a pass on this book.

This is for Pump Up Your Book

Tour Schedule

Monday, May 2 – Interview at Literarily Speaking
Tuesday, May 3 – Guest Blogging at True Book Addict
Wednesday, May 4 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Monday, May 9 – Interview at The Literary Nook
Wednesday, May 18 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Monday, May 23 – Interview at I’m Shelf-ish
Tuesday, May 24 – Book Feature at The Review From Here
Wednesday, May 25 – Guest Blogging at The Noise Beneath the Apple
Thursday, May 26 – Interview at Booklover Sue
Thursday, May 26 – Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt
Friday May 27 – Book Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, May 27 – Book Review at Worth Getting in Bed For
1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 2016

A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
The Light of Grace-Kasey Claytor
SR: June 2nd, 2016
FR: June 10th 2016
The ocean at the end of the lane- Neil Gaiman
SR: June 16th, 2016
FR: June 28th 2016
Sovereignty- Anjenique Hughes
SR: June 28th, 2016
Caesar and Cato the road to empire-Brian Igoe
SR: May 31st 2016
Bela's Letters-Jeff Ingber
SR: June 5th, 2016
FR: June 22nd 2016
The errant hours-Kate Innes
SR: June 10th 2016
Son of Man-Yi Mun-Yol
SR: March 10th, 2016
FR: June 16th 2016
Eating Bull-Carrie Rubin
SR: March 8th, 2016
FR: June 2nd, 2016
Beneath the fall- Aaron Safronoff
SR: May 27th, 2016
FR: June 5th, 2016
Driftwood point-Mariah Mariah Stewart
SR: June 22nd 2016
FR: June 28th, 2016
Loreena's gift- Colleen M Story
SR: June 28th, 2016

Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
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