Tuesday, June 11, 2019

G1099 Book Review of The southern side of paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Name of Book: The Southern Side of Paradise

Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1662-0

Publisher: Gallery

Part of a Series: Peachtree Bluffs Trilogy

Type of book: Georgia, Peachtree Bluffs, sisterhood, motherhood, secrets, family, friends, unexpected changes, love, dreams vs desire, marriage, happiness

Year it was published: 2019

Summary:

From internationally bestselling author and “rising star of Southern fiction” (Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author) Kristy Woodson Harvey comes the third novel in her Peachtree Bluff series, in which a secret threatens the tight-knit bond between a trio of sisters and their mother.

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

With Kristy Woodson Harvey’s signature charm, wit, and heart, The Southern Side of Paradise is another masterful Peachtree Bluff novel that proves she is a “Southern writer with staying power” (Booklist).

Characters:

Main characters include Ansley and Emerson while the sisters of Caroline and Sloane and their families take on secondary roles in the tale. From the previous two books, one expects Emerson to be happy because she had reunited with her high school sweetheart and has landed a role of a lifetime. But soon the reader learns that her fiance isn't happy with her in Hollywood and due to his background of coming from a family where he came third, if at all, he wishes that Emerson would sacrifice her dreams, which leaves Emerson in a position of trying to balance between her dreams and her happiness. Ansley has also finally found happiness, but after being a single mother to three girls for so long, she seems to be afraid of trying to grasp it or to believe it, and often she puts her daughters first over her first crush, Jack. Sloane and Caroline are also trying to work out their own issues, but there isn't a lot of focus on them, which makes sense because the reader has previously gotten to know them in the last two books.

Theme:

Life is one big surprise

Plot:

Just like the prequels, SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE and THE SECRET TO SOUTHERN CHARM, the tale is told in first person narrative from Emerson's and Ansley's points of view. And yes, the secrets and revelations that were revealed in the previous two books get wrapped up in this one, so reading the previous two is a must. (And if not, why not read them anyways to get introduced to a lot of awesome primary and secondary characters?) It's heartwarming and a real summer treat among the hot days. The story didn't drag on, and there is focus on realism of developing characters as well as showing how we are more than caricatures. Also, just when you think you figured life out, lots more curve balls will get thrown towards you.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of DEAR CAROLINA and LIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE and the founder of Design Chic, a popular interior design blog. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Traditional Home, Parade, USA Today, and Domino. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. Visit Kristy at kristywoodsonharvey.com or on Instagram @kristywharvey.

Opinion:

Kristy Woodson Harvey's previous book, THE SECRET TO SOUTHERN CHARM has already set high expectations when it came to the series finale of THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE, thus I expected the book to be good, but I didn't expect it to blow both of them out of the water so to speak. The characters of Emerson and Ansley really outshine, and I loved the drama and heart that followed numerous exposed secrets as well as facing up to some secrets that were introduced in the previous two books. Out of the three, THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE is definitely a top favorite out of the year. There is plenty of conflict, of tension, but above all there is emphasis on familial ties between the women and the men in their lives as well as the fact that we are complex and flawed human beings. I am only sorry to be reviewing it so late, and I am sorry that this is the last book in Peachtree Bluff Series because I'm not quite ready to leave the Murphy alone yet.

I was given this for a review

5 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 10, 2019

G684 Book Review of The Girls by Emma Cline

Name of Book: The Girls

Author: Emma Cline

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9860-3

Publisher: Random House Book

Type of book: California, 1960s, teenage angst, looking for love in the wrong places, cult, crime, murder, life, control

Year it was published: 2016

Summary:

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Characters:

Main characters include Evie Boyd, a teenage girl who is suffering from issues that other women around her age suffer from and a woman who is looking for love and acceptance in the wrong places. Evie for me is a bit prickly and tended to be unlikable. There is also Suzanne who guides Evie and introduces her to Charles Manson like cult figure as well as someone who seems to have all the answers to life. The men are given very little spotlight and one finds the adulation that women had towards him or them a bit confusing, maybe because Evie acted as more of a bystander rather than someone in the thick of things?

Theme:

Loneliness and isolation can be taken advantage of

Plot:

The story is written in first person narrative from Evie's point of view. Its more focused on the women rather than the men, and it contained quite a lot of truths that I hadn't really considered or thought about. While I was confused about why the young women were enthralled with the Charles Manson-like personality, (unfortunately not much is explored about the cult life) I wasn't confused as to why Evie followed Suzanne and would have continued to follow her. It certainly made me look at the Manson murders in a new way, to be honest.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Emma Cline is from California. Her fiction has appeared in Tin House and The Paris Review. She won the 2014 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction.

Opinion:

When I won THE GIRLS in 2016, I had no idea what a wonderful and thrilling novel I'd won. I'm only sorry that it took me so long to read the book. Most often when there is focus on a charismatic leader, or the reason that girls get into bad things, its always a male. But what if in this case, its because of a young woman one sees in the park? That is the premise that THE GIRLS operates under. Part psychological thriller part exploration of a Charles Manson type of leader and the girls that made him famous, THE GIRLS also deals with insecurities, with an insatiable longing that Evie Boyd and Suzanne go through when on a cusp of adolescence. THE GIRLS is definitely spell binding and have caught me in a spell that was almost impossible to let go.

I won this at goodreads firstreads

5 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.)

G1115 Book Review for What we do for love by Anne Pfeffer

Name of Book: What We Do For Love

Author: Anne Pfeffer

ISBN: 978-1-7338220-0-8

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: California, teenage pregnancy, reliance, art, money, day by day, modern day

Year it was published: 2019

Summary:

"If Lorelai Gilmore of Gilmore Girls was dropped into a thriller, it might resemble this appealing novel." --Kirkus Reviews

Winner of Chick Lit category -- 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards


Thirty-eight-year-old Nicole has given up on finding love. The single mother prefers to focus on a few things that she cherishes--her sixteen-year-old son Justin, her friends, and her art.

When she convinces a major museum to show a piece of her work, and she thinks her career has finally turned a corner, her son brings home a girl, Daniela, to spend the night. Daniela's parents have thrown her out of the house: she is pregnant with Justin's child.

Shattered, Nicole feels she has no choice but to take the girl in. She finds herself falling in love with Daniela, but increasingly troubled by the behavior of the girl’s icy, tormented mom and hard-drinking, hard-fisted dad.

Nicole struggles as fear and deceit enter her formerly peaceful life. Forced to deal with people she doesn't trust or like, fearful for the future of both her son and the grandchild they're expecting, Nicole wonders if she can do what she tells Justin to do: always have faith in yourself and do the right thing.

What We Do for Love: A Novel is a standalone story written by award-winning author Anne Pfeffer.

Characters:

Main character in the tale is Nicole Adams, a previously divorced single mother of a sixteen-year-old son, Justin. Nicole is a talented potter who wants to branch out into art instead of doing commercial work, and she is surrounded by strong support from family and friends. She is resourceful, has a big heart and often tries to keep peace. Secondary characters would be her son Justin, an intelligent sixteen year old young man who desires to attend an ivy league school as well as his girlfriend Daniela who comes from less than ideal circumstances and who is pregnant with Justin's baby. There is also Nicole's older sister whose husband is trying to find himself, and ultimately Daniela's mother who is fleeing an abusive relationship and who has important secrets she is hiding.

Theme:

Expect the unexpected

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Nicole's point of view, and it takes place over a month or so as Nicole gets unexpected visitors in her house, as well as realization that out of those visitors she is the only with a steady job and steady income. A lot of the plot is focused on trying to live day by day with unexpected visitors as well as worrying about the future and trying to lighten the situation. There are no dramatic secrets to unearth but instead its focused on a slice of life.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)




Buy the Book:
Amazon
Add to Goodreads
​​


Meet the Author: ​

Award-winning novelist Anne Pfeffer grew up in Phoenix, Arizona reading prodigiously and riding horses. After working in Chicago and New York, she escaped back to the land of sunshine in Los Angeles.

​She has worked in banking and as a pro bono attorney, representing abandoned children in adoption and guardianship proceedings. Anne has a daughter living in New York and is the author of four books in the YA/New Adult genres.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter
Opinion:

To be honest, I think I was expecting a lot more from the story than I got. First of all, yay that it features a single mother with a son (My son is a toddler) and I also liked that despite the stereotypes and so forth, she is portrayed as a bread-winner and is more concerned with her child rather than finding a relationship. I also loved the strong familial support she got from her friends and family and that there was much more to her than just being on the surface. Having said that, the ending ruined the tale for me to be honest, and I have a more difficult time believing in it. There is romance, but as mentioned, the main objective is for Nicole to figure out what she is going to do about her son and his pregnant girlfriend as well as a number of unexpected guests.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 20 - Rocksprings Crafts - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 20 - The Pen & Muse Book Reviews - book spotlight
May 21 - Locks, Hooks and Books - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 22 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
May 23 - A Fountain of Books - review / author interview
May 24 - Working Mommy Journal - review
​May 27 - #redhead.with.book - book spotlight / giveaway
May 28 - Library of Clean Reads - review / author interview / giveaway
May 29 - Southern Today Gone Tomorrow - review
May 30 - FUONLYKNEW - review / giveaway
May 31 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
June 3 - eBook Addicts - review / giveaway
June 4 - Paulette's Papers - book spotlight / giveaway
June 4 - The Hufflepuff Nerdette - review / author interview / giveaway
June 5 - StoreyBook Reviews - review / giveaway
June 7 - Books for Books - review
June 10 - A Wondrous Bookshelf - review
June 11 - Amy’s Booket List - review / guest post
June 12 - Peaceful Pastime - review
June 13 - Fur Everywhere - review / giveaway
June 14 - Adventurous Jessy - review / giveaway
TBD - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review / giveaway

Go here for a giveaway 

3 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.)

G48 Book Review of The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite

Name of Book: The Carrion BIrds

Author:Urban Waite

ISBN: 978-0-06-221688-5

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: 1990s, New Mexico, pointless, violent, bloodbath, mystery, cartel, drugs, family, chase, action

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

Set in a small town in the Southwest, a soulful work of literary noir rife with violence, vengeance, and contrition from a fresh voice in fiction-the author of the highly acclaimed The Terror of Living

Life hasn't worked out the way Ray Lamar planned. A widower and father who has made some tragic mistakes, he's got one good thing going for him: he's calm, cool, and efficient under pressure, usually with a gun in his hand. A useful skill to have when you're paid to hurt people who stand in your boss's way.

But Ray isn't sure he wants to be that man anymore. He wants to go home to Coronado, New Mexico, to see the twelve-year-old son he hopes will recognize him. He wants to make a new life far from the violence of the last ten years. One last job will take him there. All he has to do is steal a rival's stash. Simple, easy, clean.

Ray knows there's no such thing as easy, and sure enough, the first day ends in a catastrophic mess. Now, the runners who have always moved quietly through this idyllic desert town on the Mexican border want answers. And revenge. Short on time, with no one to trust but himself, Ray must come up with a clever plan or Coronado's newly appointed lady sheriff will have a vicious bloodbath on her hands.

Relentlessly paced and beautifully orchestrated, with refreshingly real, vulnerable, and very human characters and a vivid sense of place, The Carrion Birds is an unsettling and indelible work of literary noir in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, and Dennis Lehane.

Characters:

Wait a minute, there were characters? Oh yeah, there were, but I can't recall much about them to be honest besides the fact that a lot of end up contributing to the horror of bloodbath in this particular town.

Theme:

Wait, there was supposed to be a lesson I should have learned?

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative, and if I recall correctly, the author wasn't able to keep track of who's talking. The tale is very descriptive, but at the same be prepared for senseless violence that adds very little to the character development. I also was so tired of reading this book, that I even skimmed the ending.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Urban Waite is the author of the critically acclaimed novel THE TERROR OF LIVING. His short fiction ahs appeared in THe Best of the West Anthology, the Southern Review, and other literary journals. He grew up in Seattle, attended the University of Washiongton, and studied writing at Western Washington University and Emerson College. He lives in Seattle with his wife.

Opinion:

Ugh. I think the author is more in love with making this tale a blood-bath than something good and worthwhile. When I first won this book, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I did expect grit, but I also expected to learn lessons or to be challenged or to actually like the book. This book is nothing like the other western tale I read that had me questioning a ton about survival and seeing people, both bad and good- as human beings. I ended up being disappointing in reading this book, especially when the only thing I recall is the obsession with murders and creating this unbelievable gory bloodbath. Are there any lessons from this book? None that I can pass on, ultimately.

I won this from goodreads firstreads 

0 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.)

Friday, June 7, 2019

G1087 Book Review of Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain

Name of Book: Vintage 1954

Author: Antoine Laurain

ISBN: 9781910477670

Publisher: Gallic

Type of book: 2017, 1954, relatives, France, 1954 France versus 2017 France, nostalgia, finances, humor, time travel, aliens, wines, mixology, romance

Year it was published: 2019

Summary:

'The very quintessence of French romance...' The Times

When Hubert Larnaudie invites some fellow residents of his Parisian apartment building to drink an exceptional bottle of 1954 Beaujolais, he has no idea of its special properties.

The following morning, Hubert finds himself waking up in 1950s Paris, as do antique restorer Magalie, mixologist Julien, and Airbnb tenant Bob from Milwaukee, who's on his first trip to Europe. After their initial shock, the city of Edith Piaf and An American in Paris begins to work its charm on them. The four delight in getting to know the French capital during this iconic period, whilst also playing with the possibilities that time travel allows.

But, ultimately, they need to work out how to get back to 2017, and time is of the essence...

Characters:

Primary characters would Hubert, an owner of an apartment building where he meets Bob, Magalie and Julien. Hubert has a colorful history when it comes to the apartment building and it often seemed as if he was weary of life or else had no idea what to do about the financial money. There is also Bob, who had a lifelong dream of traveling to Paris and to fulfill that dream for himself and for his wife who is in a coma. Julien is a talented mixologist who has a secret crush on Magalie, who restores broken things. There are other characters, but they only get a glance, such as Hubert's mysterious great uncle who traveled to South America and disappeared as well as famous French celebrities.

Theme:

Past has things to teach

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view, although I think the primary characters would have been Hubert and Julien. But other characters such as Magalie and Bob also make their points of view known. The science fiction in the tale is brief, and most of the focus is on Paris of 1954 and what the characters saw and experienced, especially when compared to modern day. I think the story is more plot driven than anything else, and most of the focus was on Paris rather than the character growth.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Antoine Laurain lives in Paris. His award-winning novels have been translated into 14 languages and have sold more than 150,000 copies in English. THE PRESIDENT'S HAT was a Waterstones Book Club and Indies Introduce selection, and THE RED NOTEBOOK was on the Indie Next List.

Jane Aitken is a publisher and translator from the French.

Emily Boyce is an editor and in-house translator at Gallic Books

Opinion:

What I liked about VINTAGE 1954 is the slight humor that laces the pages, my favorite scenes being that of Bob the American meeting his wife, or else when the point of view shifts from Hubert upon the discovery of an old bus to the passengers having their own thoughts about him, which I found funny. I haven't seen the movie An American in Paris, but have heard of Edith Piaf. I also should mention that the tale is replete with famous people of 1950s, and aside from Edith Piaf, I am not familiar with any of them, and often wished that I had an glossary to look up who's who. I also think that VINTAGE 1954 is more of a call for people not to forget their roots or their history, to look beyond the modern days and see what past can teach us.

This was given to me for a 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.)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Coming Attractions for June 2019

To be honest, I feel as if I am still coping with a few things that went wrong in my life. I also am beginning to think that it might be time to become a bit more involved in my dream projects: travel through 50 states and time travel, which might happen. Wish me luck.

Book Tours/Spotlights: 

What we do for love by Anne Pfeffer (June 6th, 2019)

The Revolutionist by Robert Tucker (June 10th, 2019)

Winter Frost by Lauren Carr (June 11th, 2019)

Burton Blake by Robert Tucker (June 20th, 2019)

Eternally Artemsia by Melissa Muldoon (June 25th, 2019)

Possible Reviews:

Alice and Gerald; A Homicidal Love Story by Ron Franscell

The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite

The Girls by Emma Cline

Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein

The Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Promised Land by Martin Fletcher

The Exile by Gregory Erich Phillips

Planned Reads:

The Shame Factor; Heal Your Deepest Fears and Set Yourself Free by Stephan B. Poulter, PhD

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (50 States Project)

The Barrowfields by Philip Lewis

The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee; Using Jewish teachings to raise self-reliant children by Wendy Mogel, PhD

It's My Trail, Too; a Comanche Indian's Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Ronald R. Cooper

For Fresh Fiction: 

Her Secret Son by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Dark Constellations by Pola Oloixarac

The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

Milady by Laura L. Sullivan

June 2019

The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani
SR: June 5th, 2019
FR:
A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
FR: N/A
The Summer of Ellen- Agnete Friis
SR: May 21st, 2019
FR:
All the Winding World-Kate Innes
SR: May 29th, 2019
FR:
Eternally Artemisia-Melissa Muldoon
SR: May 30th, 2019
FR:
What we do for love-Anne Pfeffer
SR: May 21st, 2019
FR: June 5th, 2019
The Revolutionist- Robert Tucker
SR: May 21st, 2019
FR:

Nonfiction:
Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
FR: N/A

Monday, May 27, 2019

G1103 Book Review of Exposed by Jean-Philippe Blondel

Name of Book: Exposed

Author: Jean-Philippe Blondel, trans. Alison Anderson

ISBN: 978-1-939931-67-2

Publisher: New Vessel Press

Type of book: Painting, relationships, aging, artist, fame, family, moving on, France, friendship, model/artist relationships

Year it was published: 2019 (original in 2018)

Summary:

A French teacher on the verge of retirement is invited to a glittering opening that showcases the artwork of his former student, who has since become a celebrated painter. This unexpected encounter leads to the older man posing for his portrait. Possibly in the nude. Such personal exposure at close range entails a strange and troubling pact between artist and sitter that prompts both to reevaluate their lives. Blondel, author of the hugely popular novel The 6:41 to Paris, evokes an intimacy of dangerous intensity in a tale marked by profound nostalgia and a reckoning with the past that allows its two characters to move ahead in to the future.

Characters:

Main characters include Louis and Alexandre, although it often feels as if Alexandre is more of a secondary character than the main one. Louis Claret is an aging professor who is divorced from his wife and seems to be afraid to move on forward. I often got the impression that he finds himself lacking and that he is cynical and wants to be removed from human affairs. Alexandre Laudin is a famous painter/artist who is struggling with his own demons and who wants to give face to them, I believe. Sort of to excise them.

Theme:

Relationships do not remain static

Plot:

The tale is told in first person narrative from Louis' point of view. Louis is an aging teacher who seems to be torn between past and future, standing on a precipice of a mountain but having no knowledge which way lies safety. I also should mention that this story is not erotica, and I didn't expect erotica, but for some odd reason I did expect a full nude painting and for the author to delve deeply into that aspect of the relationship that Louis and Alexandre find themselves in. What I felt that I was trying to grasp but couldn't is the ever-changing nature of relationships that such intimacy fosters, and few times in my head I actually did think and wonder if this is similar to courting/dating. I also think that I would have liked to be more with Alexandre, the painter rather than Louis the model, because I found myself more drawn to Alexandre than to Louis. I also found the italicized chapters confusing and wasn't really sure who was telling the tale: although later on I figured out whom it could be.

Author Information:
(From France Book Tours)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Jean-Philippe Blondel
was born in 1964 in Troyes, France
where he lives as an author and English teacher.
His novel The 6:41 to Paris has been acclaimed
in both the United States and Europe.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Alison Anderson is a novelist and translator of literature from French. Among the authors she has translated are JMG Le Clézio, Christian Bobin, Muriel Barbery and Amélie Nothomb. She has lived in Northern California and currently lives in a village in Switzerland.


Follow New Vessel Press on Twitter | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.


Buy the book | or on Indiebound or Amazon


Opinion:
In 2016, I have had a chance to read and be blown over by this author's novel: THE 6:41 TO PARIS, to which I find myself remembering the tale, becoming involved in minutia of the characters and of how much more wasn't said than said. Having said that, I expected for EXPOSED to be very similar to 6:41 TO PARIS. Alas, though, EXPOSED is not THE 6:41 TO PARIS. I enjoy reading literary novels and learning whatever I can about human conditions and how its seen through different eyes. But at the same time, I expect myself to become familiar with the message that the author is sending across. Unfortunately in EXPOSED, it didn't happen. I found myself unable to identify in the situation that Louis and Alexandre have found themselves in. I feel that I am probably in the wrong age group to fully appreciate and understand the tale.

This is for France Book Tours


VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE

Wednesday, May 15
Bilingual Review + Giveaway at Mangeuse de livres

Friday, May 17
Review + Giveaway at Readerbuzz

Monday, May 20
Review + Giveaway at Hall Ways Blog

Tuesday, May 21
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, May 22
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, May 23
Review + Giveaway at Musings of a Writer & Unabashed Francophile

Friday, May 24
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at Book Dilettante

Tuesday, May 28
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace

3 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.)

G1126 E-Reading Book Review of It's Murder, My Son By Lauren Carr

Name of Book:  It's Murder, My Son

Author: Lauren Carr

ISBN: B003TU1ZIO

Publisher: Acorn Services

Part of a Series: Mac Faraday Mysteries

Type of book: Spencer Maryland, heritage, wealth, money, murder, mystery, twists, clues, pets, disappearances, false identities

Year it was published: 2010

Summary:

What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday’s life would end up being a new beginning.

After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret. This covert would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America’s Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous mystery novels.

Soon after she moves to her new lakefront home in Spencer, Maryland, multi-millionaire Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself “Pay Back” begins stalking her.

When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found. Three months later the file on her murder is still open with only vague speculations from the local police department when Mac Faraday, sole heir to his unknown birth mother’s home and fortune, moves into the estate next door. Little does he know as he drives up to Spencer Manor that he is driving into a closed gate community that is hiding more suspicious deaths than his DC workload as a homicide detective. With the help of his late mother’s journal, this retired cop puts all his detective skills to work to pick up where the local investigators have left off to follow the clues to Katrina’s killer.

Characters:

Main characters include Mac Faraday, a retired police officer who has recently learned that he has inherited an estate from a mother he never knew, as well as Archie Monday who was Robin's assistant and editor. David is Mac's half-brother who is apparently a ladies' man and who believes that justice should be met no matter what. There is, of course, Gnarly, but it seems as if he has a very rocky relationship with Mac in this particular novel. There are interesting secondary characters as well as the crooked cops, and so many twists that it becomes difficult to predict how the story will tie up together.

Theme:

Be careful not to step on wrong toes

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Mac's point of view. The plot and the events are definitely quick-paced and there are glimmers of a diamond within the pages because I felt really excited about reading the origin story of Mac Faraday, and was thrilled in learning more about his humble beginnings. I also liked the twists the author has presented when it came to mystery although, a lot of times I found myself unable to keep up with the logic that the characters went through.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy It's Murder My Son:
Amazon ~ Audible
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

​Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram
Opinion:

To be fair, my rating of this book isn't fair, because I have read her future novels, and I have seen how much her writing,  plot and characterization have matured over time. This particular book, IT'S MURDER, MY SON is perhaps her third novel, published in 2010,  seven years prior to me becoming addicted to her tales, and while it introduces our beloved characters in Mac, Archie Monday as well as the German shepherd Gnarly and Mac's half-brother David, the story lacked the focus on familial relationships and the characters aren't as complex as in the future novels. I also should mention that this is my second Mac Faraday book because the ones I read have dealt with Jessica,  Mac's daughter and her cases, as well as a book about Chris Matheson, and there is also TWOFER MURDER which combines all of the family members in solving two cases.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK and AUDIOBOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 1 - Library of Clean Reads - tour kick-off / giveaway
May 1 - My Reading Journeys - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 2 - Working Mommy Journal - review Winter Frost / giveaway
May 2 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 3 - Laura's Interests - review of ICE / giveaway
May 6 - Hall Ways Blog - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 7 - Words And Peace - book spotlight / giveaway
May 7 - Life as Leels - review of ICE
May 8 - Kristin’s Novel Café - review of Winter Frost
May 9 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of ICE / giveaway
May 10 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 14 - JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 15 - JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
May 15 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 16 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 16 - Life as Leels - review of Winter Frost
May 17 - Seaside Book Nook - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 20 - Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author - book spotlight / giveaway
May 20 - Laura's Interests - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 21 - Bound 4 Escape - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
May 21 - Blooming with Books - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 23 - StoreyBook Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
May 23 - T's Stuff - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 24 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
May 24 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
May 24 - A Fountain of Books - review of ICE / giveaway
May 27 - A Fountain of Books - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
May 28 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
May 28 - Buried Under Books - review of Winter Frost
May 29 - Life as Leels - review of It's Murder My Son
May 30 - Seaside Book Nook - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
May 30 - Readers' Muse - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
May 31 - Laura's Interests - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
June 3 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 3 - Amy’s Booket List - review of ICE
June 4 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 5 - Buried Under Books - review of Crimes Past
June 5 - Blooming with Books - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 6 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 6 - A Fountain of Books - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
June 6 - Readers' Muse - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 7 - Library of Clean Reads - It's Murder My Son / giveaway
June 10 - FUONLYKNEW - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
June 10 - Amy’s Booket List - review of Winter Frost
June 11 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
June 11 - Life as Leels - review of Crimes Past
June 12 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
June 12 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 13 - FUONLYKNEW - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
June 13 - Readers' Muse - review of ICE / giveaway
June 14 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - review of Winter Frost
June 17 - Seaside Book Nook - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 17 - Amy’s Booket List - review of It's Murder My Son
June 18 - Laura's Interests - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 19 - A Fountain of Books - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 20 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
June 20 - Readers' Muse - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
June 21 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
June 24 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - review of Crimes Past
June 24 - Amy’s Booket List - review of Crimes Past
June 25 - Books for Books - book spotlight
June 26 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Crimes Past / giveaway
June 27 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
June 27 - fundinmental - review of It's Murder My Son / giveaway
June 28 - Adventurous Jessy - review of Winter Frost / giveaway
3 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.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

G1112 Book Review of Free Pizza by G.C. McRae

Name of Book: Free Pizza

Author: G.C. McRae

ISBN: 978-0-9939183-8-4

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: Canada, coming of age, 90s, young adult, hi-jinks, friendship, adoption, birth family, adopted parents, history, stamps

Year it was published: 2019

Summary:

Brian McSpadden is always hungry. Does he have a disease? Worms? Does it have something to do with his being adopted? He spends his days at his crazy friend Danny's house, hoping for snacks, but nothing seems to fill the void.

Then Brian receives a mysterious birthday card that says, Free Pizza. He soon discovers the card has nothing to do with food and everything to do with the big questions in his life: where did I come from, why did my mother give me up and is there anyone out there who will like me the way I am?

Characters:

Main characters include Brian, the oldest and adopted son of an old couple who later on had two sons. There is also Danny and his wacky family of siblings and parents. In fact, it seemed as if every character in the book is best described as wacky and memorable. Most of the focus was on the events rather than the characters' growth, and a lot of times I found the story a bit confusing. Basically Brian was Danny's sidekick and one gets the sense that he lives vicariously through his friend's adventure. Danny is a magnet for trouble and misunderstandings, but at the same time he is afraid of his older sister Cindy and dislikes his younger brother Randy.

Theme:

I read the book from cover to cover and have no idea what I should have learned from it; perhaps that things are not what they seem?

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Brian's point of view. The summary, in my opinion, doesn't match up the tale of the book; that is the events happen, but from the back summary I personally thought more of the plot would be dedicated to the events,but instead the whole tale is of nothing but the mischief that he and his friend have caused. I'll also be honest in saying that the friend is far more interesting than the protagonist. I also sense that this is a hybrid of the past but with modern day technology.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads


Meet the Author:

​G.C. McRae is the bestselling author of two young adult novels, three illustrated children's books and a collection of original fairy tales. His writing is fall-down funny, even when the theme is darker than a coal-miner’s cough. McRae reads to anybody at any time, in person or online, for free, which probably explains why he meets so many people and sells so many books.

In his latest work, Free Pizza, McRae spins the highly emotional themes from his decidedly unfunny childhood into a brilliantly comic yarn. After being given up for adoption by his teenage mom back when single girls were forced to hide unplanned pregnancies, his adoptive parents didn’t exactly keep him under the stairs but, well, let's just say, there were spiders.

A lot has changed since then. McRae’s own children have now grown and he runs a small farm with his wife, who is herself an award-winning writer.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ LibraryThing

Opinion:

In a good way, this book was really reminiscent of the 90s books I grew up with, namely MANIAC MAGEE by Jerry Spinelli. So if you are missing the 90s YA literature of exaggerated characters as well as  focus on friendships, then FREE PIZZA should be a good nostalgic read. However, I expected the story to be quite different than the way it turned out. For instance, I thought that there would be a lot more emphasis on Brian's background and his emotions about finding his birth mom. Instead, the book focuses a whole lot on Brian's and his friend's hi-jinks. There seems to be very little about what the book summary led me to believe what will happen. Despite that, its a good read filled with memorable and humorous scenes, characters that stand out, and snappy writing.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 1 - Working Mommy Journal - review
May 1 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
May 2 - 100 Pages A Day - review / giveaway
May 2 - #redhead.with.book - book spotlight / giveaway
May 2 - Corinne Rodrigues - book spotlight / giveaway
May 3 - Paulette's Papers - book spotlight / giveaway
May 3 - Life as Leels - review
May 6 - Ginger Mom & Company - review
May 6 - Literary Flits - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 7 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review / giveaway
May 7 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 8 - Words And Peace - book spotlight / interview / giveaway
May 9 - Character Madness and Musings - book spotlight / interview / giveaway
May 9 - StoreyBook Reviews - review
May 10 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
May 10 - Found in Words - review / author interview
May 13 - Truly Trendy - review
May 14 - Books for Books - review
May 14 - Readers' Muse - review / guest post / giveaway
May 14 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
May 15 - FUONLYKNEW - review / giveaway
May 15 - A Fountain of Books - review / interview / giveaway
May 16 - Sahar's Blog - review
May 16 - bookmyopia - review
May 17 - Books Direct - review / guest post / giveaway
May 17 - KC Beanie Boos Collection - review / giveaway
TBD - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
3 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.)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

G907 Book Review of Alvar the kingmaker by Annie Whitehead

Name of Book: Alvar the Kingmaker

Author: Annie Whitehead

ISBN: 978-1-78610-688-9

Publisher: FeedARead.com Publishing

Type of book: 956-983 ME, England, Mercia, Alvar, King Edwy the Fairchild, King Edgar, other kings, church, rivalry, politics, unrequited love, survival, relationships, ruling, life in mid 10th century England/Merica, descendants

Year it was published: 2016

Summary:

The story, based on true events, begins when the king is caught in bed with his wife and her mother, and ends with the murder of another king, a crime attributed to his stepmother, the queen. Central to the story is Alvar, earl of Mercia. Having helped King Edgar to secure the throne, amid great unrest he must fight to clear the queen’s name, bring the country back from the brink of civil war, and stabilise the monarchy for Edgar’s son, Æthelred the Unready. He does this at great personal cost, and his enemies will stop at little: Abbot Dunstan, banished, recalled, and in no mood to forgive. Bishop Oswald, the ambitious foreigner who will let nothing stand in his way. They must not discover Alvar’s secret love for the wife of his deputy, whilst Alvar must keep her safe, and serve and protect the queen, who is in love with him and who harbours a dark secret of her own…

Honoured with an IndieBRAG medallion and a Discovering Diamonds Special Award, this book has also been chosen as a Chill Books honouree and Book of the Month. “Ms Whitehead knows her stuff - A must-read for anyone interested in the early Anglo-Saxon period” – Helen Hollick

Characters:

Main characters include Alvar, numerous kings that he served as well as Kata and her husband and for a brief time, the queen. Alvar is best described as very resourceful, talented and is talented at playing the political intrigues. He also focuses more on survival rather than on personal relationships, and is either in denial about his emotions towards Kata, or else is loyal to her husband, or both I am guessing. Edwy the Fairchild thinks more of pleasure rather than ruling and one gets a sense that people easily control and manipulate him. Edgar is the youngest brother and through political acumen as well as knowledge he eventually becomes a king, and it sounds like he was a really good and talented one at that. Unfortunately the latter kings post King Edgar aren't really covered, but it sounds like they would be really good stories to write. Kata is very similar to Alvar in that she is loyal and seems to struggle between her old and new roots and its easy for the reader to fall in love with her.

Theme:

Good things can come from the bad

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Alvar's, Kata's and sometimes the Queen's points of view. Most of the story is told from Alvar;s side. Just like TO BE A QUEEN, the story is detailed and focuses a lot on good and bad moments of life during the late 900s, especially how they make up a person. While TO BE A QUEEN showed maturity of the queen, AEthelflaed, ALVAR THE KINGMAKER showed growth of Alvar, especially when it comes to his personal life. To be honest, I wish I could have read this book soon after TO BE A QUEEN because I imagine that I missed out a lot of hints or jokes on the previous characters. Just like with her previous book, I felt as if I was back in time experiencing life in mid-10th century.

Author Information:

N/A

Opinion:

At long last, I am reviewing ALVAR THE KINGMAKER, another wonderful and delightful tale of mid 10th century England, about a 100 or so more years prior to 1066. Just like TO BE A QUEEN, this book is a wonderful time capsule that gives the reader an intimacy of the period not available elsewhere with a dash of powerful storytelling magic thrown in. While TO BE A QUEEN focused a lot on the Queen of Mercia, AEthelflaed, ALVAR THE KINGMAKER takes the reader behind the throne to Alvar who gained influence and became one of the trusted men of King Edgar. Something else that I really loved is the love story between Alvar and Kata. The scenes, both intimate and epic shine brightly as jewels in the sun, inviting the reader's gaze and attention.

I was given this for a review

5 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.)

Friday, May 10, 2019

G1109 The Pale Facecd Lie, A True Story

Title of the book: The Pale Facecd Lie, A True Story

Author: David Crow

Publisher: Sandra Jonas

Publishing Date: 2019

ISBN: 978-0-997487176

Summary:

Growing up on the Navajo Indian Reservation, David Crow and his siblings idolized their dad. Tall, strong, smart, and brave, the self-taught Cherokee regaled his family with stories of his World War II feats. But as time passed, David discovered the other side of Thurston Crow, the ex-con with his own code of ethics that justified cruelty, violence, lies—even murder.

A shrewd con artist with a genius IQ, Thurston intimidated David with beatings to coerce him into doing his criminal bidding. David's mom, too mentally ill to care for her children, couldn't protect him. One day, Thurston packed up the house and took the kids, leaving her nothing. Soon he remarried, and David learned that his stepmother was just as vicious and abusive as his father.

Through sheer determination, and with the help of a few angels along the way, David managed to get into college and achieve professional success. When he finally found the courage to stop helping his father with his criminal activities, he unwittingly triggered a plot of revenge that would force him into a showdown with Thurston Crow.

With lives at stake, including his own, David would have only twenty-four hours to outsmart his father—the brilliant, psychotic man who bragged that the three years he spent in the notorious San Quentin State Prison had been the easiest time of his life.

The Pale-Faced Lie is a searing, raw, palpable memoir that reminds us what an important role our parents play in our lives. Most of all, it's an inspirational story about the power of forgiveness and the ability of the human spirit to rise above adversity, no matter the cost.

Author Info:
(From iRead Book Tours)



Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads


Meet the Author: ​

​​David Crow spent his early years on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. Through grit, resilience, and a thirst for learning, he managed to escape his abusive childhood, graduate from college, and build a successful lobbyist business in Washington. Today, David is a sought-after speaker, giving talks to various businesses and trade organizations around the world.

Throughout the years, he has mentored over 200 college interns, performed pro bono service for the charitable organization Save the Children, and participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. An advocate for women, he will donate 10 percent of his book royalties to Barrett House, a homeless shelter for women in Albuquerque. David and his wife, Patty, live in the suburbs of DC.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ LinkedIn
Personal Opinion:

THE PALE FACED LIE by David Crow is definitely a very compelling story of a young man coming of age and growing up through physical, mental and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, Thurston Crow. As a mother to a little boy, my heart ached throughout the pages when I witnessed the forced abuse David had to show to his mother because of his father's orders. The author beautifully captures the turmoil and effects it had on him growing up. I also would like to compare this book a bit to the two Jack London books: namely THE CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG, which I've read awhile back. I honestly couldn't help but think that THE PALE FACED LIE is a two sided coin; one side representing the survival in the world with barely any civilization, while the other side represented the civilization, just like THE CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG seems to stories coming full circle. I think I would have liked to see more of David's life after the showdown. Also, although this is billed as a True Crime, it definitely reads more like a memoir instead of solving murders.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 6 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / giveaway
May 6 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review / guest post / giveaway
May 7 - Based on a True Story - review / giveaway
May 7 - Literary Flits - review / giveaway
May 8 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
May 9 - Sahar's Blog - review / giveaway
May 10 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review / giveaway
May 13 - Books for Books - review
May 14 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
May 15 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
May 16 - Mama Panda Bear - review / interview / giveaway
May 16 - Fur Everywhere - review / giveaway
May 17 - Readers Muse - review / guest post
5 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, May 1, 2019

Coming Attractions for May 2019

Seems I've been truly kicked out of something that I have been a long time part of. Only person at fault is me, but knowing the fact doesn't make it any easier to accept it. May seems to be a long and lonely month. I want to sound optimistic, but I feel as if I cannot.

Book Tours/Spotlights

The Pale Faced Lie by David Crow (May 10th, 2019)

Free Pizza by G.C. McRae (May 13th, 2019)

Exposed by Jean-Phillipe Blondel (May 21st, 2019)

It's Murder My Son-Lauren Carr (May 24th, 2019)

Scheduled Reviews:

Alice and Gerald; A Homicidal Love Story by Ron Franscell (May 3rd, 2019)

Alvar the Kingmaker by Anne Whitehead (May 5th, 2019)

Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein (May 7th, 2019)

Planned Reads:

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? A Parent's Guide to Raising Multiracial Children by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Washington's Spies; The Story of America's First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose

The Sharecroppers by Denisa Nickell Hanania 

Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain 

On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister 

For Fresh Fiction: 

Wasited by Randy Susan Meyers

How we disapepared by Jing-Jing Lee

The Summer of Ellen by Agnete Friis 
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