Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Friday, April 18, 2014

Code of the Hills by Nancy Allen--A Review






Synopsis from Good Reads:

To uncover the truth, she'll have to break the code of the hills …

In the Missouri Ozarks, some things aren't talked about … even abuse. But prosecutor Elsie Arnold is determined to change that.

When she is assigned to prosecute a high-profile incest case in which a father is accused of abusing his three young daughters, Elsie is ready to become the Ozarks' avenging angel.

But as Elsie sinks her teeth into the case, everything begins to turn sour. The star witness goes missing; the girls refuse to talk about their father, who terrorizes the courtroom from the moment he enters; and Elsie begins to suspect that their tough-as-nails mother has ulterior motives. To make matters worse, Elsie receives gruesome threats from local extremists, warning her to mind her own business.

While Elsie swears not to let a sex offender walk, she realizes the odds—and maybe the town—are against her, and her life begins to crumble. But amidst all of the conflict, the safety of three young girls hangs in the balance ...

A powerful debut, with the haunting atmosphere of Winter's Bone and the page-turning suspense of Alafair Burke's thrillers.

From My Perspective:

Words to describe the reading experience:  chilling, hair raising,  deeply troubling, and frightening.

The Characters in Allen's debut novel were as authentic as any I have read about in the past.   Elsie Arnold was a strong woman who dealt with the abuse of others and yet was subjected to abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, a local cop.   Elsie could be tough in a courtroom and yet she had a soft side as well, a desperate desire to protect the innocent children subjected to sexual abuse.  The Taney case she was assigned to put her way over her head as far as comfort goes, but Elsie was tenacious and not about to give up.   I liked that when she felt overwhelmed there was safety and peace at the home of her parents and she had a strong working relationship with Ashlock, another cop on the force.   He was a true straight arrow and truly sought justice for Elsie's victims of abuse.

Allen wrote with purpose and a well plotted story.   She was clearly familiar with the lingo of the hills people and wrote their story convincingly.   Truly a disgusting and distasteful topic,  child sexual abuse and any type of abuse is prevalent in today's society.   The point is , as Elsie so sagely put it in her closing remarks, do we protect our children or don't we?  Do we punish the offender or don't we?   What stance as a community do we take?   What message will we send?

This was a very easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel.  It is thought provoking and haunting.
I almost saw this as a call to arms or action.   Abuse has touched all of our lives starting with the daily news and ending on some of our very door steps.

I rated this a 5 Wink read.



   

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Insurgent by Veronica Roth---a Review



  1. Insurgent - Definition and More from the Free Merriam ...

    www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insurgent

    Merriam‑Webster
    noun \-jÉ™nt\. : a person who fights against an established government or authority. FullDefinition of INSURGENT. 1. : a person who revolts against civil authority ...

Synopsis from Goodreads:


One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


From My Perspective:

This second book in the series, lacked the lustre that Divergent had, but it was still interesting and quite necessary in the building of characters and story plot line.   Tris who started out as an innocent 16 year old, had left the abnegation factor, for the Dauntless faction.   In book one, she survived her initiation into the Dauntless, made choices regarding friends and foes within her faction and fought alongside the divergent to stop the annihilation of the abnegation faction  by the Erudites.   In book two, she is saddled with guilt and grief at the loss of her parents and her friend Will.    This baggage slows her
down  as the factions fall apart, a deadly secret is revealed and truth is sought and shared with all.

I love the twists and turns Roth uses to reveal the political struggle and conflict within the factions.  I enjoyed the challenges and choices that each person needed to deal with.  Her writing style is so easy to read and the reader is as involved as any of the characters on the page.   I rated this read a 4 Wink read only because it wasn't quite as intense as the first in the series was, not quite as personal.

I will be reviewing Allegiant soon.   So stay tuned!
 

  1. Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  This book was purchased.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green--A Review

I have wanted to read this book since ealry in the days of my blogging and it kept getting pushed back on the TBR shelf, like so many others.   The world keeps turning and the TBR shelf is fat then thinner, then fat again.   And so it goes, a monster out of control and hoping in my heart of hearts, don't let me die with an ever engorged to be read pile.   Will there  be enough life in me to read all the books I own?and those buried deeply in my kindle?

Well, it finally happened.   I searched my kindle for the free copy I had been sent by someone and it is really deeply buried...as in Gone!   So I bought a copy of John Green's, The Fault In Our Stars.   Here is the Goodreads SYNOPSIS:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

From My Perspective:

All readers get the benefit of the rewrite mentioned above.   Let's start with the characters, truly believable, fully developed, quirky, funny, angry, sad, and so very intelligently reflective of their being.

Green writes a beautiful love story for Hazel Grace and tells it from her point of view.   She strikes me as wise beyond her years and trying to live her life fully and honestly.   She's not particularly fond of her cancer support group, but it  is there she meets Augustus Waters and experiences romantic love for the first time.

I enjoyed and respected Hazel's honesty, I enjoyed her plight to find out what happened to her book characters created by Peter Van Houten.   I suffered his indignity and self-failure at the loss of his young daughter.  And there was Augustus's cruel recurrence of the disease...so unfair, hurtful of so many affected by his remission and recurrence.  And as the book reminds us, the world isn't in the business of granting wishes for any of us.   It's all about how we react and accept our given path.

Such an easy book to love, and to read.  It delves into lust and love, the failure of those we deem important when they can not deal with the issues at hand, and it promises that life will go on for the ones we leave behind.  It was sad, funny, and intelligent.   I rated it a 5 Wink read  and highly recommend it to all.   It will remain one of my personal favorites and I look forward to my own reread down the road!



Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.   I did purchase my personal Copy of The Fault in Our Stars.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson--A Review and Giveaway

Last week I had my almost three year old granddaughter with me for an entire week.  If you are reading this, I have survived.  Two of my grandsons will be with us this week, but they are teenager and a tween and can basically entertain themselves.   They are pretty well self sufficient, except that one of them has discovered how jumpy I am and so now he loves to scare me!  It just delights his heart if he can scare the wits out of me!   Reminds me so much of my grandpa and how he loved to scare me as well!   His speech was impaired due to a stroke, but his laughter wasn't affected.

Today's review is of Peter Robinson's, Children of the Revolution.   Take a look at the synopsis:

A disgraced college lecturer is found murdered with £5,000 in his pocket on a disused railway line near his home. Since being dismissed from his job for sexual misconduct four years previously, he has been living a poverty-stricken and hermit-like existence in this isolated spot.

The suspects range from several individuals at the college where he used to teach to a woman who knew the victim back in the early '70s at Essex University, then a hotbed of political activism. When Banks receives a warning to step away from the case, he realises there is much more to the mystery than meets the eye - for there are plenty more skeletons to come out of the closet . .

From My Perspective:

Skeletons in the closet indeed!   This was an excellent police procedural with lots of twists and turns.
Children of the Revolution refers to that of the sixties and early seventies and there is much reference to bands and their music and the eclectic tastes of Inspector Alan Banks.    Yes, those were the good ole days.   No witnesses, few clues at all and an introverted dead professor, sends Inspector Banks and his team on a wild goose chase in the present and forty years ago as well.

Robinson had a well plotted mystery and supported his solution with well developed characters who exuded intricate personality defects.   Internal strife and rivalry also paved the way of the investigation.  This was one of the more interesting police procedurals  I've read recently and I rate it a 4 Wink read.

Giveaway:
Lucky reader giveaway...just head out to the rafflecopter giveaway at the link below.   Here's hoping you win!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

I Don't wanna Be An Orange Anymore by Hank Kellner

Hi Peeps!   Today we're talking about I Don't Wanna Be An Orange Anymore! by Hank Kellner.    This is a great spring read for a rainy afternoon.   It is short and funny and a classically reminiscent of The Christmas Story (movie as told from a kids viewpoint), or Wonder Years, (t.v. sitcom told from a boy's point of view).    I could hear the narrator from the movie talking as I read this tale about  the life of a nine year old and how he survived his elementary through middle school years despite a sister who insisted on blaming him for everything and a bully who threatened to end his life as he knew it.   I had to chuckle at the antics this boy endured and how he eventually grew up, served his country , married and had children of his own.

We've all been there at one time or another....a kid and how our futures are molded by the experiences we share and endure when we are young and new to this world.    This was a very endearing and sweetly told story.   I rated it a 4 Wink short story read due to its timeless nature.   I felt like I received a giant hug while reading.

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Reading Review


March was a long month for me.   Three more days than February had and it seemed twice as long.   Mind you, I am not complaining....I love the cool days of March and I love the sound of rainfall in spring...even if the rain is cold and the winds are strong.

What with all the spring and March madness, I was able to read eight books.   I finally read Veronica Roth's Divergent and now I know what a lot of people knew long before me...why it's such a hit!  I absolutely loved the first installment and hopefully I will read the second in the series, Insurgent during April.   This was dystopian at its best!









Peter Robinson's Children of the Revolution  was quite an interesting police procedural from the other side of the big pond:  watch for the review on April 7th....an excellent mystery placing forty years of past history in question.



Come to Me Quietly by A L Jackson was a steamy romance and quite an enjoyable read.   Be aware there is a lot of explicit language between the pages


Hank Kellner's I Don't Want to Be An Orange Anymore was a charming short story, reminicent of a Christmas Story.  It is told from the point of view of a nine year old boy, who goes through highschool and then becomes a soldier in the Korean War.  I chuckled at this story more than once during my read....so very realistic from a young boy's observations.

Another romance read was Alison Kent's Beneath the Patchwork Moon.    This was a sweet romance and it was refreshingly clean as romance novels go.





The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler was a thriller that grabbed me solidly.  Two mysteries within the read that took place in Sweden and I couldn't put it down.


Casey Dawes was a new author for me to read and I certainly enjoyed her romance California  Thyme .  This was also a clean romance and it brought two forces together in such a romantic way.                      



By Far and away, my favorite read of the month was Shauna Allen's novella, Charlie's Angel, --a part of the Cupid Chronicles.   This gal can tell a story and I love it.    Poor ole Charlie, wasn't the worst character you love to hate, but in this novella, he was the good guy and you wanted him to find love, true love!! I really do not want the Cupid Chronicles to ever end.





That being said, what's on my to be read list for April is as follows:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Code of the Hills by Nancy Allen

Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester

The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Cocoon by Emily Sue Harvey

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Beautiful Sacrifice by Lizabeth Lowell

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

That's my April reading goal and although my last three months haven't supported reading 10 or 11 books, I sure hope I make it.   It will certainly be another diverse month of reading materials!

Enjoy your April reads and keep your eyes on the page!   It's good for you.

















Wednesday, March 26, 2014

California Thyme by Casey Dawes--A Review

It is such a beautiful day today!   And we are fast approaching a very spring like weekend with temps reaching up to 70 degrees...finally, has winter come to an end?   Oh how I hope so.  But in Iowa, there is always the chance of a change quickly into something else.

Today I am reviewing California Thyme by Casey Dawes.   The book is #4 in a series of four contemporary romance novels, published as Crimson Romances.  The synopsis:

Mandy Parker doesn’t want to turn out like her mother, an aging actress desperate for the love of the crowd. Avoiding anything Hollywood-related is vital for Mandy’s sanity, however the economy forces to take a job catering to a movie crew.
Since the woman he’d loved married his best friend, James Lubbock has put women far behind his career in the movie business. The assistant caterer is attractive, but he’s more focused on figuring out who’s sabotaging his set.

Sparks fly between Mandy and James, but can they overcome their painful pasts to risk a chance on love?

From My Perspective:

At first, I couldn't grasp the story as the transitions from paragraph to paragraph and chapter to chapter didn't feel cohesive.   But then I reached the point where I was hooked and couldn't put this short romance novel down.   I enjoyed the characters who were quite well developed and the characters did seem to drive the story.  Mandy Parker carried a lot of baggage from her childhood.   James Lubbock had suffered a great loss with a former girlfriend who broke his heart.   Both wanted a career they could count on.   Neither wanted to give up their dream.

The story line was interesting; someone was up to sabotage Lubbock's career.  Mandy needed to find the truth about her father, Dana Russell.    The romance was thick with need, but I applaud Dawes for being a clean romance author.   Her characters were given the opportunity for  an intense romantic encounter, but it was left to the reader's imagination.   Clean romance?   It's almost unheard of these days, but when I find it, I enjoy it far better than reading explicit sex scenes!!

I see much potential in this author and rated the book a 4 WINK read!   Nicely done, Ms Dawes!

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.