Saturday, June 24, 2017

#BookReview | The Lake by Lotte and Soren Hammer

Title: The Lake
By: Lotte and Soren Hammer
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 371
Release Date: April 20th, 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Publishing
Audience: Adult

Summary from Goodreads: Everything comes with a price

The chilling next instalment in the Konrad Simonsen series, perfect for fans of Johan Theorin and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

The skeleton of a young woman is discovered, tied to a stone, in a lake deep in the Danish countryside.

The woman’s identity is a mystery; no one matching her description has been reported missing... After months of fruitless investigation by the local police force, a media scandal brings the case to nationwide attention and is quickly handed over to Konrad Simonsen and his team from the Copenhagen Police force.

It soon becomes clear that this unknown woman is the key to a sinister world of human trafficking, prostitution and violence.

A world where everything comes with a price and no mistake goes unpunished.

Review: This book starts off with a bang. There is torture and murder. The disposal of a body in a lake. A perfect setting for a murder mystery. 

I felt a little bogged down the first portion of the book, but once I really got into the mystery part of the story, I was sucked in and couldn't get out. The dialog was full of witty quips and the main character was very insightful. I couldn't believe this was translated from another language, because the words felt very american to me. Who ever did the translation did an amazing job.

I really enjoyed this read, and I am not one for thriller/mysteries. Check out The Lake this summer.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Friday, June 23, 2017

#BookReview | Breaking by Danielle Rollins

Title: Breaking
By: Danielle Rollins
Genre: Contemporary 
Pages: 352
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Audience: Young adult

Summary from Goodreads: Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.

Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…

Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.

Review: A dark thriller that dives into the issues of suicide and teen struggles. With such a dismal subject, I was hoping that the story would flow well and at least give me something interesting to attach myself to. The story progressed slowly and didn't have enough depth in the mystery aspect to keep my attention. There was a good concept here, but it fell flat for me. 

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#BookReview | Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Title: Midnight Crossroad
By: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Pages: 305
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Audience: Adult

Summary from Goodreads: From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale - populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it...
Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.
There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).
Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...

Review: I'm a big fan of Charlaine Harris and the Sookie Stackhouse series. I thought I would be a big fan of this Midnight series... but I'm not. The writing was Harris' normal style. Well worded and and full of depth. It was the story that fell flat for me. It started off really slow and didn't keep me involved the whole time. I think people who like contemporary fiction will like this book more than paranormal fans.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#BookReiew | Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

Title:  Children of Earth and Sky
By: Guy Gavriel Kay
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 571
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
Publisher: NAL
Audience: Adult

Summary from Goodreads: The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new book, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world...

Review: There is nothing like a good fantasy novel to start your day. I enjoyed diving into Guy Gavriel Kay's world of wonder. The characters were fantastic and full of depth and the story was one that dipped and swayed with every new development. I can't wait to dive more into this world.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

#BookReview | The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Title: The Snow Child
By: Eowyn Ivey
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 386
Release Date: February 1st, 2012
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Audience: Adult

Summary from Goodreads: Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Review: This book was suggested to me by a coworker who also loves to read. I thoroughly enjoyed The Snow Child. It kept me intrigued to the very end. The story has just enough creep factor to make your skin crawl. If you like a story about mysterious children showing up in the middle of winter, then read this one.

Monday, June 19, 2017

#WeeklyMenu Week 202

What a wonderful Father's Day. We spent the early part of the afternoon playing video games with my side of the family. An homage to the days of my childhood. 

The end of the day was spent with my husbands family. BBQ, and good times. 

I'm grateful for all the fathers in my life. For my own husband who is raising my three sons to be great fathers of their own. For my father who taught me to persevere through the hard times. To my father-in-law who has taught me to always show strength, even when you don't feel strong on the inside. 

Enjoy this weeks menu and the first week of summer!  







Tuna Sandwiches

Sunday, June 18, 2017

#BookReview | Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly #DNF

Title: Hidden Figures
By: Margot Lee Shetterly
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
Pages: 349
Release Date: December 6th, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Audience: Adult

Summary from Goodreads: The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space. Now a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.

Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly these overlooked math whizzes had shots at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA's greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellects to change their own lives - and their country's future.

Review: I waited and waited and waited for a copy of this book from the library. While I was waiting, I saw the movie and I loved it. Then I started reading the book and I was so bored that I didn't finish it. 

The book was chalked full of heavy, dry history and not much of the story that I was expecting. I didn't love the characters and I had a hard time digesting the writing style. This is one of those rare cases where I felt that the book was way better than the movie.

I gave this book a big DNF. If you are into thick historical stories, then you would possibly like Hidden Figures. If historical is not your thing, watch the movie.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

#BookReview | The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

Title: The Alchemists of Loom
By: Elise Kova
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 395
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Audience: Young Adult

Summary from Goodreads: Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Review: I'm sorry. I know there is a lot of hype about this book and the soon to be released sequel, but I couldn't get into it. The writing was amazing and the story had promise, but the characters didn't resonate with me. I didn't feel that longing for them. For them to fall in love and to overthrow the dragon king. Maybe its that I'm not into dragons right now, or that I was slightly annoyed by the people who were reading the audio book version. I don't know. It wasn't for me. Maybe it will be for you. Three stars for The Alchemists of Loom. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

#BookReview | Goodnight Lab by Chris Ferrie

Title: Goodnight Lab
By: Chris Ferrie
Genre: Picture Book
Pages:  35
Release Date: July 4th, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Audience: Children

Summary from Goodreads: 
In the great green lab
There was a laser
And a lab notebook
And a picture of Einstein with a stern look

Life as a scientist can be strenuous. Find comfort in saying good night to everything that is strewn around your laboratory with this sweet parody of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon. While poking fun at the clutter and chaos of lab life, this book gives scientists of all ages the tools needed to say good night and rest before returning to the world of research in the morning!

Review: lol, this was awesome. I loved Goodnight Moon when I was a kid, but this one is just as great. My nine year old is really into science and he liked this read. I was hoping for a little more in the art department, but that's okay. I'll live. Four stars for Goodnight Lab. 

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

#BookReview | I'm Going to Outer Space! By Timothy Young @Schifferbooks

Title: I'm Going to Outer Space!
By: Timothy Young
Genre: Picture Book
Pages: 32
Release Date: September 28th, 2017
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Audience: Children

Summary from Goodreads: It's almost time for bed, but Luis is staring out the window at the starry sky. Any minute now, he's expecting a space ship to pick him up and whisk him to outer space. While he waits, he imagines the strange creatures he'll encounter. Will he find a robot friend? Will he get to fly though space with a rocket-pack? Will he meet . . . aliens? Get lost in outer space as you pore over pages filled with dozens and dozens of robots and aliens (some new and some that might be familiar). Join Luis to find out all the incredible things he expects to see and do on his daring journey to a distant planet. 

Review: This was an awesome book! I loved it from front to back and so did my three year old. My favorite part was turning the pages and seeing all the spaceships that I knew from my child hood. Battle Star Galactica, Star Trek, Star Wars. Then you turn the page again and see so many different kinds of robots. My husband and I were looking through them trying to name as many as we could. We loved this book and so will you.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

#BookReview | Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Title: Black Dawn
By:  Mallory McCartney
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Pages: 180
Release Date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher:  Clean Reads Publishing
Audience: Young Adult

Summary from Goodreads: The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory's arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne. 

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.

Review: This book started with a bang! I was thrown right into the middle of the action where, unfortunately, I was lost right off the bat. Thinking this was the second in the series, and maybe I missed the first one, I actually searched Goodreads or the first book. This is the first book. Surprise!

The story was great. There were a lot of aspects that could have been embellished on, but I really enjoyed the read. This book has so much potential to expand on this universe and dive deeper into the back stories of the characters. I wanted more. MORE! PLEASE GIVE ME MORE, MALLORY! If this book has a sequel, I want to read it and hopefully it is longer.

Three stars for Black Dawn. 

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#BookReview | The Possible by Tara Alterbrando

Title: The Possible
By: Tara Alterbrando
Genre: Contemporary / Urban Fantasy
Pages: 304
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Audience: Young Adult

Summary from Goodreads: What one knows the truth about you? 

It's been thirteen years since Kaylee's infamous birth mother, Crystal, received a life sentence for killing Kaylee's little brother in a fit of rage. Once the center of a cult-following for her apparent telekinetic powers, nowadays nobody's heard of Crystal. Until now, when a reporter shows up at Kaylee's house and turns her life upside down, offering Kaylee the chance to be part of a high-profile podcast investigating claims that Crystal truly did have supernatural mind powers. But these questions lead to disturbing answers as Kaylee is forced to examine her own increasingly strange life, and make sense of certain dark and troubling coincidences...

Unusual and gripping, The Possible will twist the reader round and round as it hurtles towards a sensational climax. For lovers of We Were Liars, Patrick Ness and Derren Brown.

Review: I am a supper big fan of anything paranormal. I'm especially into telepaths. The Possible explored the world of telekinesis and extra mind abilities. 

The whole time I was reading this book I was wondering if it was going to turn more urban fantasy and give me some more paranormal aspects or if it was going to shy back and stay more contemporary. To me, it needed to go one way or the other and I was sadly stuck in the middle.

The writing was totally contemporary and worked well in that genre but I had hoped for more with the story. I guess it was because I'm used to a strange paranormal ending for something like this and not the weird spiteful mother in prison. 

I gave the book three stars because it kept my attention and I finished it in one day.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

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