Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Unelmoija: Paradox

The fifth installment of the Unelmoija series answers some questions and raises others. Amy and Kat still reeling from the death of their mother are trying to move on with their lives. Their grandparents and Duncan have moved in, hoping to raise their spirits and morale. They cope the only way they know how, by eating copious amounts of food. The most described and detailed part of this book are the massive meals (and I do mean massive) and it just made me want to eat! All eating aside, the proverbial shit hits the fan when, Vlad (the traitorous friend mentioned earlier in the series) , storms into their house and demands that the family help his father. Vlad's father, Klaus, is suffering from a severe meltdown and is convinced that Kat and Amy's dad is responsible for his dad's death. If he doesn't get the chance to kill him, he threatens to destroy the nuclear power plant and kill all of Florida. Amy promises to help find him some answers because she's not convinced that her father is a murderer (although he is a jerk). What she discovers will change the very fabric of their lives and all their futures.

While it can be confusing at times, readers will enjoy the timeshifting and troubling consequences that arise from it. Definitely ambitious, there is a twist at the end that will leave many wondering about more titles in the series. An urban fantasy that Floridians, food lovers, and adventure seekers will surely enjoy.

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Port Chicago 50

Hands down the best nonfiction book I've read all year, maybe even in a few years! I was soo enamored with this book that I finished it in under two hours. I simply could not put it down! The Port Chicago 50 talked about an event in history that I literally had no idea about, the largest mutiny trial in naval history and at the time one of the largest man made explosions history. The tagline for the novel sums it up, "Disaster, Mutiny, and the fight for Civil Rights."

During the first half of the twentieth century all the United States armed forces units were segregated, including the Navy. Black men could join but they generally could not fight, they were relegated to doing all the cooking cleaning, loading, etc., because they were considered "unfit" for combat. At the start of WWII many black men signed up only to be disappointed that German POW's got better treatment then they did. This book focuses on a few units of all black Navy sailors who had the task of loading ammunition onto Naval ships. They had no training handling bombs, incendiary devices, and ammunition and it was only a matter of time before something disastrous happened. The higher ranked white sailors had all received several weeks worth of training but they weren't the ones handling the millions of pounds of bombs, their version of monitoring safety and supervising the black sailors included placing bets on which team could load the fastest. In this unsafe environment it came as no surprise that disaster inevitably struck. One night two explosions went off; sinking two massive Navy tankers and killing nearly 400 people (most of whom were black), the blast was soo massive that over a mile away windows were blown out and nearly 700 people were injured by flying glass and debris. Instead of learning from their mistakes, the Navy sent the remaining black sailors to another port to learn ammunition.... still with no training. Joe Small and 49 other black men refused to go back to work until they were given training and safety precautions, the Navy refused and tried all men with mutiny. This is their story and it needs to be heard. Before Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, and other Civil Rights heroes, there were these men who stood up to injustice and helped change the course of history.

An absolute must read, I can't recommend this book enough!

Death Masks

Not necessarily my favorite in the series so far, but still a damn good read! The cast of characters introduced in this one are amazing, we get to meet Michael's fellow Knights, a bunch of the fallen, some nasty vampires from the red court, and Susan finally shows up again (reunited? or not, duh duh duh...)! When the shroud (the blanket that cloaked Jesus on his death) is stolen from Rome, Dresden is approached by a foreign priest to help get it back. When he signs on for the job he has no idea how much danger he has put himself in, demons from hell (way cooler description in the book than I can accurately summarize here) are intent on retrieving it first. As if that's not enough to worry about, Susan is back in town (with a man!), and Dresden has been challenged to a duel by a warlord in the red court. Soo many things going on and Dresden has to somehow keep it all straight and not get killed. Wickedly funny, sexy, and adventurous, it's another great installment in the series.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Love Inspired Books and Giveaway

I had to find out what all the hype is out because Harlequin's Love Inspired line of paperbacks are some of the most checked out books in my library. We get six new titles a month ranging from historical to modern romance to Amish, most titles include at least one of the following words in the title: firefighter, cowboy, rancher, bachelor, widow, doctor, or Amish. I never took them very seriously and wondered what could possibly keep patrons coming back for more. Reading the following two books, helped me get some insight onto the popularity of these quick reads.

A Firefighter's Promise, follows the story of a young widow and her son who just moved to town to find a fresh start. Rachel's son Carter had a hard time at school because he was bullied for being adopted, Rachel hopes that by moving to the town where he was found (abandoned at a fire station) he can start to put down some roots and make peace with his life. What Rachel didn't expect was to run into a handsome fireman, the same one who took care of Chris when he was left there as an infant. There is an undeniable attraction between the two, but Matt (the sexy firefighter) is in a rush to leave town to flee the memory of the little girl he was unable to save from a fire a few years prior. It's chaste, romantic, cute, and charming. Why don't Matt's exist in the real world!? Overall, it was a quick light hearted, feel good read, and I can see why people are soo eager to read these titles. Who wouldn't want to escape into a perfect world where everything has a happy ending?

I had to pick up Bachelor to the Rescue because it featured a librarian. I wanted to see how badly stereotyped she would be, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did our main character, Lainie, have a masters degree in library science, she also realized how hard it was for libraries to stay relevant in today's modern world (even though it was only mentioned once). I also like that she wasn't a frumpy cardigan wearing, secret nymphomaniac. She was a young widow with two children trying to find a fresh start in a new town with a new job as a head librarian. The only unbelievable aspect was that she never read (at least not in the book, Lainie flips though the Bible only once, no other reading material is mentioned... suspicious) and she didn't own a cat.

Long story short, Lainie and her two daughters move to town and are instantly robbed. Instead of being able to buy a house and get settled she has to rely on an enemy for help. The man that is responsible for her husband's death lives in the same town and for the sake of her daughters she turns to him for help. He offers to let them stay in his huge Victorian house while she waits for her new credit cards and ID to arrive and even helps out with the groceries. Despite her best intentions, Lainie finds herself falling for this man. Shocking, I know. I won't spoil too much but you better believe there is a happy ending. Yay for librarians!

Overall, it was good to see what all the hype was about. They're quick light reads and easily finished in a day or two. Now for the good part, THE GIVEAWAY! You can win a set of SIX Love Inspired books, no strings attached. All you have to do is comment below with your name and which title you want to read most. The six books in the bundle are as follows:

  • The Rancher Takes a Bride
  • The Doctor's Second Chance
  • The Single Dad Finds a Wife
  • Winning the Teacher's Heart
  • Bachelor to the Rescue
  • A Firefighter's Promise

Also, if you're interested in purchasing some Love Inspired books, click here and use the coupon below!!

"Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/ FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win, Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification."

Sunday, April 19, 2015


There's something intriguing about reading sex worker's memoirs. It's dark, fascinating, and impossible to put down. This novel is a fictionalized account of what it takes to "make a living" working in the post-Soviet Ukrainian sex trade. Julie and her two sisters are desperate to find work, jobs are few and far between. When a friend tells the sisters how much money can be made by working in the "cabaret" (whore house) they decide to try their hand at making some quick money. Julie (the youngest sister and narrator of this story) especially has a hard time avoiding hard drugs and booze because it helps take the edge off of what she is doing. She isn't ashamed of being a call girl, but sometimes she just needs to forget some of the nasty things she does for money (namely an old man named Death). Her sisters try to get her to get clean, but Julie is convinced that there isn't a problem. This story spans about a year and chronicles Julie's descent into greed and addiction. Compelling, dark, and impossible to put down, this quick read will make you feel a little better about your life, or will maybe cause you to rethink your life's decisions.

I received this book for free from the publisher in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Before Watchmen: Minutemen & Silk Spectre

Soo glad that I found this gem at Half Price Books! It's been a few years since I read Watchmen and this prequel really got me in the mood to re-read it. There are several prequels but this one focuses on the Minutemen and Silk Spectre. The firdt half of the graphic novel is told from the viewpoint of an elderly Hollis (Nite Owl) as he writes his tell all book about his time in the Minutemen. He recalls the history of each of his masked friends and some of the major crimes that they solved. It was really nice getting more of a back story on Ursula (the silhouette) and some of the other characters. The second part of the graphic novel focuses on Silk Spectre's beginnings. It starts in her adolescence and follows though her teenage years. She becomes a hippie, meets a boy, and runs away from her mom's imposing nature. It's a fantastic book and one I will definitely come back to and reread.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Very Good Lives

Ahhh, one of my most anticipated books for the year. I have to devour anything that JK Rowling writes and this slim little book was no exception. It's her only anticipated book release for 2015 and it does not disappoint. "Very Good Lives" is an illustrated commencement speech that Rowling gave to Harvard University in 2008. It's a fantastic and inspiring peice about the fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. In it she discusses the failure of her marriage and her parents hopes for her prosperity (although she was able to turn that one around) and how her failure become her foundation for success, "... rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." Then she describes how having a good imagination allows one to empathize with others. Something she learned to do well when she was working for Amnesty International. Overall it is an inspiring and uplifting little book that will be sure to put a smile on everyone's faces, especially the Potterheads :)