Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"A Journey from Corporate to Care," by Shannon Ingram

"A Journey from Corporate to Care," by Shannon Ingram

A heartwarming, humorous and enlightening story of a woman’s journey from the exciting, high-pressure world of corporate America to the quiet, humbling, angst-filled world of care giving for aging parents.

This was an interesting book on a subject that affects a lot of people in the world, looking after your aging parents.  What was interesting about this book was it also makes you think what you would do in the same position as the author.

The author had a very successful career and she gave it up (willingly) to look after her parents.  What happened after that was also interesting as she went through a whole gamut of emotions, almost in mourning for the loss of the her career.

This book makes you think about what would happen if you had to do what the author did.  It also makes you happy to know that your own parents are still capable of looking after themselves (in my case.)

Stars out of 5 : 4 I enjoyed Part One: The Heart Way, but found Part Two: From Corporate to Care not as interesting.  If you are in or are going to be in a position of having to care for aging parents this is a good book to read.  For everyone else, it gives you food for thought and is well worth the read.

"The Blessings of the Animals," by Katrina Kittle

"The Blessings of the Animals," by Katrina Kittle

From Katrina Kittle, critically acclaimed author of The Kindness of Strangers, comes a wry and moving story of forgiveness, flexibility, happiness, and the art of moving on.

Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law—still her best friend—is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men—including her ex-husband—are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries—and its disconnects. 

If you love and own animals you will enjoy this book.  If you don't own any animals you will still love this book and will understand why an animals love is one to be treasured.  However it is not all about animals, it's also about how to survive a marriage break up which ended ultimately in divorce.

It also includes a varied cast of both human and animal characters which you can easy relate too.  One of my favourite funny scenes was the Christmas Card photo shoot.  The way the author describes it, you imagine you are there.

The book moves along at a fast pace and doesn't leave you bored.  It does however leave you wanting more and NEEDING to turn the next page to see what happens next.  This is the first time I have read anything by this author but it won't be the last as I really enjoy the way she writes.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Well worth the read in my opinion and will appeal to a broad range of readers. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Mamalita," by Jessica O'Dwyer

"Mamalita," by Jessica O'Dwyer

This gripping memoir details an ordinary American woman’s quest to adopt a baby girl from Guatemala in the face of overwhelming adversity. At only thirty-two years old, Jessica O’Dwyer experiences early menopause, which seems to seal the deal on whether or not she’ll ever become a mother. But years later, married but childless, she comes across a photo of a two-month-old girl on a Guatemalan adoption website—and feels an instant connection. After a year of efforts to adopt the girl, her adoption agency abandons her; undaunted, Jessica quits her job and moves to Antigua so she can bring her little girl to live with her and wrap up the adoption, no matter what the cost. Eventually, after months of disappointments, she finesses her way through the complicated adoption process and is finally able to bring her new daughter home.

Mamalita is as much a story about the bond between a mother and child as it is about the lengths to which adoptive parents go in their quest to become parents. At turns harrowing, heartbreaking, and inspiring, this is a classic story of the triumph of a mother’s love over almost insurmountable odds.

What a super book this was.  It's an easy read, plus a gripping read that hooks you from the beginning. It beggars belief that the adoption and government officials could treat people so badly, as all it does is hurt the children and the adoptees parents.

This book shows you how far a parent, whether a biological parent or an adoptee parent will go to protect their child. You cannot believe how much bureaucratic red tape can tangle up everything, and at the end of the day they couldn't have cared less about the poor child in the adoption.

The way Jessica describes the fight to get her daughter to love and accept her as her mother was so heart warming and made it abundantly clear Jessica was put on this earth to be a mother of this child.

I wasn't overly surprised at how some people had to bribe their way through the process to get their child home.  This book doesn't put Guatemala in a good light which is such a shame.  If though you are considering adoption, this is a book I would recommend so you don't go into the process naive.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Well worth the read and a book that makes you think, about a mother's love for her child, adoptions and how not every Government in this world is trust worthy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"The Hero's Lot," by Patrick W. Carr

"The Hero's Lot," by Patrick W. Carr
With the King Near Death, Will the Kingdom Fall?
When Sarin Valon, the corrupt and dangerous church leader, flees the city of Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But he and his friends still have dangerous enemies working against them in secrets and whispers.

In a bid to keep them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol's home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom, and in that journey they discover amazing new secrets about the workings of Aurae.

Back in Erinon, Errol is unjustly accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon and kill him. To enforce their sentence, the church leaders place Errol under a compulsion--he must complete his task, or die trying.

This is the second book in the The Staff & The Sword series.  I will tell you, you do need to read the first book in the series before you read this book.  I reviewed the first book here.

If you don't you will find it a bit confusing.  I found the book great it is fast paced and the story keeps you interested all the way through.  Errol is again a good lead character; and at times I felt so sorry for him with what he has to go through.  We were introduced to a couple of new characters that added to the story, especially Karele.

I found the different "lands" to have similarities to various countries around the world and the description of the places and people made it all very life like.

Stars out of 5 : 5 It was a great book and well worth the read.  It hooked me right away and I can't wait until the next one comes out called: A Draw of Kings in February 2014.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Dolled Up to Die," by Lorena McCourtney

"Dolled Up to Die," by Lorena McCourtney
Cate's not sure just what she expected . . . but she knows it certainly wasn't this.
When Cate Kinkaid receives a frantic call about a triple homicide, she drives to the scene against her better judgment--aren't triple homicides more up the police department's alley?--only to find that the victims are not quite who she expects. Now she has a new rule to add to everything she's learned in her short stint as an assistant private investigator: always find out if the victims have human DNA. Because these three do not.

But who would shoot this nice lady's dolls? What possible reason could the shooter have? And then there's the startling discovery of another victim, who definitely does have human DNA . . .

With tension that is matched only by humor, Dolled Up to Die is the exciting second book in Lorena McCourtney's Cate Kinkaid Files. You won't find a place to stop and take a breath in this fast-paced story.

Must say I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, as it had a bit of a strange start with three dolls getting shot, and to be honest it did take a few chapters until I got hooked into the story line.  Once hooked though it was good, interesting with the whodunit and yes it had it's funny moments; thinking about the wig here.........

Will admit it was a bit far fetched at times but it was an easy read and one that didn't require too much concentration.

Stars out of 5 : 4 Not a bad read a book well worth buying or borrowing from your local library.  Be sure to read the other book in this series, "Dying to Read," I reviewed that book here.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"The Air We Breathe," by Christa Parrish

Seventeen-year-old Molly Fisk does not go outside. For so long she has run away from a moment long in the past, but she's not running anymore, she's hiding. Ruled by anxiety, she can only stare out the window of the tiny tourist-town museum she and her mother call home, longing to go outside--to maybe take a walk with the cute boy who works in the pizza place across the street.

Then the chance arrival of a woman Molly knew years ago changes everything.

Back then, Claire Rodriguez was an empty shell. Only in the unique friendship she struck up with a little girl--a silent girl who'd only talk to Claire--did she see the possibility of healing. But one day the girl and her mother vanished, their house left abandoned.

What happened that drove them away? And how can Claire now offer Molly the same chance at finding life anew?

I honestly don't know what to say about this book.  It wasn't a great book, but neither was it a horrible book.  The story takes some getting into and it takes a while to figure out who is who.  Its a book that you really have to concentrate to read so you pick up what's going on.

I wasn't wanting to know what happened next and the story didn't suck me in.  It has an air of mystery about it and all is not what it seems.

Stars out of 5 : 2.5 It wasn't the book for me; however it may be for you, so take a chance on it and read it.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Small Town Girl," by Ann H. Gabhart

"Small Town Girl," by Ann H. Gabhart
How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can't draw her interest.

Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways. Could she truly be in love with him? And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?

In her gentle and textured style, Ann H. Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip your heart and stir your spirit. Fans of Gabhart's Angel Sister will love seeing Kate Merritt all grown-up, as well as other characters they have come to love.

What a lovely book this was.  Easy to read and it hooked you right away.  The way Ann describes the town and the people make it easy to imagine you being there with them.  It's a book where you have people wishing for more than what they can or will have; just like in real life.

You want Kate and Jay to fall in love and live happily ever after, but as in the real world obstacles get in the way.  It also brings into play that what happens to you in your childhood can and will affect your whole life and attitude.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I really liked this book and would recommend you either buy it or borrow it from your local library.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Love Anthony," by Lisa Genova

"Love Anthony," by Lisa Genova

I’m always hearing about how my brain doesn’t work right…But it doesn’t feel broken to me.

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony was gone.
Now she’s alone on Nantucket, desperate to find meaning in her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman brings Anthony alive again in a most unexpected way.

In a warm, deeply human story reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Daniel Isn’t Talking, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy with autism whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.

I stumbled upon this book by accident.  I was a member of a site where you got points for certain things and when you had accumulated so many points you got to pick prizes.  One day I decided to cash in my points and I chose some books, including this one.

I have never read a book written by Lisa Genova, I will definitely but ordering her other two books, "Still Alice," and "Left Neglected," from the Library.  I will say you are not initially sucked right into this book, but the more you read the more you need to know what happens next.  The way Lisa writes and thinks what is going on in the young boy's autistic mind, just blows you away.  You honestly feel she is standing in the boys brain just listening to what he is thinking.

With Olivia's faith being in question throughout this book, and the priest telling her to "listen with your heart, with your spirit.  His answers are there, within you;" doesn't make sense to her at the time, but it all ends up coming together in a very good way.

This book also makes you question fidelity in a marriage.  What would you do if your spouse cheated on you?  All these points makes for a book that is easy to read but does make you think.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  It took me a while to get used to Lisa's way of writing but there is one thing for sure it was a worth while read and I will be reading her other two books as soon as I can.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Trouble in Store," by Carol Cox
Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let an obstinate woman with newfangled ideas ruin all he's worked for. In hope of turning her interest elsewhere, he determines to get Melanie married off, and luckily, there are many single men in town quite willing to take her off his hands.

The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry any of them. He's drawn to her more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store offer unexpectedly positive results.

But someone doesn't want the mercantile to succeed, and threatening words have escalated into destruction and danger. Will Melanie and Caleb's business--and budding romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The historical details the author described was so good, you could truly imagine every detail.  Melanie and Caleb were super lead character's and little Levi was a mischievous bundle of joy.  Some of his antics were so funny, especially regarding the "S" woman.

The murder mystery part of the story was equally as good, and I didn't know who "did it," until the book told me.  I was guessing right along with Melanie and Caleb.  You truly got immersed into the story and it had me "hooked" right from the beginning.

Stars out of 5: 5 Didn't want to put it down until I had finished the book.  Well worth the read, you will not be disappointed I assure you.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"A Most Peculiar Circumstance," by Jen Turano
Miss Arabella Beckett, defender of the down-trodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women's suffrage movement when she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need. But things go sadly awry, and both ladies soon find themselves in dire need of rescue. Arabella, always loath to admit she needs help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.

Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. He is already in a less than pleasant mood, and when Hamilton's sister turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he's at his wit's end.

Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella's paths continue to cross when they return home to New York, but the most unusual feelings beginning to grow between them certainly can't be anything serious. When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.

This madcap battle of the sexes is the sequel to Turano's hilarious A Change of Fortune (2012), and it is perfect for any reader who enjoys stories bubbling with humor.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series "A Change of Fortune," and this one doesn't disappoint.  Although I wasn't hooked from the very first chapter, it didn't take too long after that the get involved in the story.  You do begin to wonder if Theodore and Arabella can agree on anything, as all they do is argue.  However after a while you realize those arguments glue them more and more together.

I will admit if I had to go through as many adventures as Arabella did I would have to sleep for a year to get caught up.  Trouble seems to follow her where ever she goes and she always ends up dragging poor Theodore behind her.  

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Didn't get hooked right away, but well worth the read and I couldn't put it down in the end as I needed to know what happened next.  Plenty of ups and downs and can't wait for the next in the series, this time "starring" Felicia as the lead character.  "A Talent for Trouble," will be released in October of 2013.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis With her parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller find...