Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vengeance Road

It's been quite some time since I read a nice gritty western and I think that teens new to the genre will get a big kick out of this one. Kate Thompson comes home one day to discover her house on fire and father hanged, she immediately sets out to find and kill the murderers. As a girl this would be nearly impossible, but dressed as a boy, she stands a fighting chance. Armed with only her favorite horse and one of her father's pistols she plans to discover why her father was killed and to exact vengeance on the murderers. Filled with grit, lore, legend, and the wild west, this is a great read for fans of westerns or those who have never been introduced to the genre.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Girl in the Spider's Web

I only had mediocre feelings about this book going into it and I must say I was pleasantly surprised! When I heard that Stieg Larsson's estate had found someone to continue on his trilogy after the author's untimely death I had mixed feelings, how could someone even come close to capturing Lisbeth and Blomkvist?! Thankfully David Lagercrantz did a bang up job sticking to the mannerisms, wording, and character development of the original series and did a good job recreating Stieg Larsson's vision. A must read for fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Swedish thrillers. A faithful continuation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Most Painful Thing in Life

A fictional anti-bullying tale filled with religious themes and good morals that would be beneficial to middle school students. It is a short concise read; easy for adults and still a quick read for teens. The book focuses on what it's like to be bullied and be the one bullying, it hits on all angles. The book spotlights Kris, a troubled teenage boy trying to find acceptance, hope, and someone to trust. When his foster parent's best friend gives him a mysterious pendant Kris has no idea how much his life is about to change. Maybe he won't be bullied or worse, ignored, by his peers. Maybe it's possible that he could make a friend. Simply written (and with a handful of typos), this book would be of most use to teenagers. Bullying can take all forms and has a deep psychological impact that can affect people for the rest of their lives. Hopefully this tale will open eyes and hearts of the next generation, especially in the age of rampant digital bullying.

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

Finding Jake

I could not put this book down. Utterly engrossing from page one. Simply fantastic. It's fast paced, suspenseful, heartbreaking, and full of raw emotion. There's been a shooting at the high school. Thirteen teenagers have been shot. Stay at home father, Simon, rushes to the school to find his two children Jake and Laney. Laney is safe, but Jake is nowhere to be found. And worse, the police think that he was one of the shooters. What comes next is a psychological page turner as Simon recounts moments from Jake's childhood  and desperately tries to piece together what has really happened and where his son is. A fantastic read!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Over the Line

It's been a hot minute since I read a romance novel, so this was a nice change. Beth Garcia is on the mend after months of physical therapy after getting shot in Afghanistan. She happens to bump into the man who saved her life, James Walker. The sexual tension is high and he knows he won't forgive himself if he doesn't ask her out, so throws caution to the wind and asks her to go mountain climbing for the weekend. Instead of a weekend of climbing though, he gets peer pressured into attending his sister's wedding  and asks if Beth will pose as his fiance so his family will leave him alone. She goes along with the plan and they both get more than they bargained for. More sexual attraction. Threats from an unknown source. A few steamy scenes are interspersed. Good for those who like romance with men in uniform.

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Last Policeman

I've been meaning to read this for ages and I'm soo glad it finally happened. What have I been waiting for?!? The premise is that the world is coming to an end. Literally. There is an asteroid headed for Earth and there is only about 6 months left before it hits and takes humanity with it. Most people have decided to quit their jobs and do everything on their bucket list now that the end is in sight, but not Detective Hank Palace. Even though the world is ending he still insists on doing his job, upholding the law and solving murders. When he finds yet another suicide, he isn't convinced there wasn't foul play involved. The other other cops can't understand why he even cares, it looks like a suicide and that's enough for them, but not for Hank. Intricately woven and full of plot twists, this book is a must read. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The New World

Beautifully written, but the rambling nature of the coming of age story kind of derails it. I admit, I did not read the first in this series, and after reading this I am unlikely to pick it or any other additions up. Jim Hawkins (beloved Treasure Island character) and Natty (a young black girl and Jim's "romantic" interest/best friend) find themselves stranded in a strange land when their ship wrecks. They are taken hostage by some savage indians and right before they escape Jim makes the wise decision to steal Chief Black Storm's beloved necklace. It was then one long journey (over two years) through Indian territory, deserts, forests, rivers to escape the wrath of the wronged Chief. The story just did not tickle my fancy. The characters fell flat as did the plot. Good for kids perhaps, but not for me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Did You Ever Have A Family

Clegg, Bill. Did You Ever Have A Family. 6 CDs. unabridged. 7 hrs. Audioworks. 2015. ISBN 9781442385283. $29.99; 6 CDs. 

A stunning debut novel written and narrated by Bill Clegg, author of the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. Not shy to tough subject matter, Clegg starts off this tour de force with a nearly indescribable tragedy. The night before June Reid's daughter's wedding, her house erupts into a fiery ball killing everyone inside; the wedding party, her boyfriend, and June's entire family. June is the only survivor. In the wake of such a horrific tragedy, everyone in the community reacts differently; from the kid who helped landscape for the wedding, to the caterer who was never paid, to the mother of June's boyfriend. Everyone has a story to tell and no one copes to the loss in the same way. It's heart-wrenching, honest, and unflinching. A beautiful look at acceptance, forgiveness, and most importantly hope. Narrated magnificently by the author. An unforgettable novel, that sticks with you long after the last line. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. P.L., Franklin, IN

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Only With Blood

I was surprised with how quickly this book grabbed my attention. Once started, I could hardly set it down I was so captivated! The story is is set in Ireland in 1943 and is told through three alternating perspectives: Jack - an old farmer who decides he must get married so someone can inherit the farm, Donal - an IRA agent who teaches math and runs a farm, and Caitlin - a gorgeous beauty who dreams of winning a scholarship so she can attend university. Once these three paths cross nothing will ever be the same. Set amidst the struggle for Irish freedom and independence during World War II, the relationships and struggles that each much face only grow in intensity. Beautifully written, wonderfully researched, and heartbreakingly honest; this novel has something to offer everyone.

I received this book for free from Kregel Book Tours in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Part-Time Princesses

A quick brainless read that some teen girls might find enjoyable. Popular high school seniors; Courtney, Tiffany, Amber, and Michelle can't wait to quit their part time jobs as princesses at a local amusement park and join the real world of college, traveling, and careers. When all their plans fall apart they realize there is only one place to fall back on, their summer gig at the amusement park. At least the staff and customers treat them like royalty, they're practically worshipped and they get paid for it. The only problem is that attendance is down and people are scared to go to the park for fear of getting mugged. The four best friends decide that they care about the park and will work together to clean the place up, one mugger at a time. Cheesy, but not awful. There is a little lesbian romance thrown in at the end as an afterthought.

Food Whore

One of the best foodie novels I've read in years! Tia Monroe moved to New York to go to one of the best food studies graduate programs. Her greatest passion in life is writing about food and all she has dreamed about is landing an internship with Helen Laskey, the greatest cookbook author and foodie in New York. Things take a turn though when she doesn't land her chosen internship and is approached by a New York Times food critic who want to do nothing more than exploit her. Backed into a corner and hoping that this unorthodox arrangement will get her closer to the Helen Laskey internship, she agrees to write and taste for the food critic who has recently lost his taste buds. It obviously has to remain anonymous, both their reputations are on the line, but she is dying to tell someone; her boyfriend, her roommate, her co-workers. The secrets keep adding up and she isn't sure how much longer she can keep leading a double life. Is writing about food worth it? Is she going about it the wrong way? Exquisite. The way she writes about food and relationships will make you insatiably hungry for more. A great debut novel.  

I received this book for free from Library Thing in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

Utterly engrossing, I could not put this down. Master of horror, Joe Hill, proves himself a master storyteller with this darkly captivating graphic novel. After a violent crime leaves their father dead, three siblings and their mother move into their father's childhood home, Keyhouse. Little do they realize that this home of many doors and keys also houses a dark spirit that will stop at nothing to get free. The family goes from one hellish experience to another, will they be able to survive? Beautifully illustrated, and captivatingly told. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Orphan #8

There is a hell of a lot going on in this book. In the early twentieth century, four year old Rachel and her brother are put in a Jewish orphanage after their father "accidentally" kills their mother. In the orphanage, Rachel is subjected to a series of x-ray tests that will have significant effects on her life, the most obvious being her permanent baldness. Despite all the odds, she does pretty well for herself eventually becoming a nurse. Rachel had pretty well blocked out her childhood, but when one of the patients she's treating turns out to be a doctor that tested on her, it all comes rushing back. She is forced to confront her past and come to terms with how it is affecting her future. This book does a great job illustrating problems that minorities (Jews, orphans, women, lesbians) faced in the first half of the twentieth century and does a great job of outlining the historical basis for the book in the afterward. Dark, but enlightening.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Satan's Prep

For most people high school was hell on earth, unfortunately for Trevor Loomis he attends Satan's Prep IN HELL! After an untimely death and a cataloging error he finds himself in the bowels of hell attending a school where the jocks are really demons, torture is an everyday occurrence, and there is no hope. As bad as it sounds, Trevor finds it fairly easy to adapt since in his mind it wasn't all that different from high school on earth. He passes what seems like an eternity going through the motions, attending class, and putting up with abuse until he sees the girl of his dreams. Is she a mirage or will she turn out to be nothing more than a succubus or a mirage? All Trevor knows is that school just got a hell of a lot more interesting. High school students will eat this up!

Friday, September 4, 2015


A powerfully written memoir that recounts Ashley Smith's seven hours of being held hostage. Ashley, a drug addict, has lost custody of her daughter and is desperately trying to turn her life around when she is taken hostage in her own apartment by Brian Nichols. He's already killed four people and she is terrified she'll be the fifth. Deciding she has nothing to lose she starts to tell Brian about her life and all the bad decisions she's made and how she's paid for them. Then she starts to read aloud from the Bible and The Purpose Driven Life and for some reason it strikes a chord with him. Together they try to work through his demons and figure out what his next move should be. This is the story of how she went from hostage to hero and turned her life around. It's an uplifting and refreshing read, perfect for fans of inspirational and Christian books. Also, soon to be a major motion picture from Paramount.

What's that, you want to read this book as well? Well how would you like to win a free copy? All you have to do is comment below with your name and I will randomly select a winner next Friday.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): 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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Raw, gritty, and primal, this novel of madness, violence, money, and drugs was brought beautifully to life via audiobook. Seriously, the narrator was spot on and his inflections, accents, and gravely voice added to the story. Donnybrook follows a cast of characters in the south as they make their way to southern Indiana to fight in a massive bare-knuckle fighting match to fight, sell drugs, or seek revenge. No character is without his or her flaws and violence is streaked throughout the pages. If you're going to read this, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook to get the full experience. Excellent!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fantasy Sports

A beautifully illustrated romp through magical kingdoms, treasure hunters, and the greatest challenge ever, basketball. Wiz, a young explorer/intern, tags along with Mean Mug, a muscular no-nonsense treasure hunter. Together they enter the tomb of a mummy looking for treasure to bring back to work. Once inside they must accept the mummy's challenge or remain with the skeletons in the arena. It's just their luck that the mummy is a huge basketball fan. Do they have a chance? Cute graphic novel that takes virtually no time to read. Great illustrations!