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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Book Review: Ghost Box by Chris Moon and Paulette Moon

Everyone knows I love a good ghost story! I was thrilled to be chosen to read an advanced copy of Ghost Box. I really enjoyed how the authors used their intuition and personal feelings. I honestly don't believe that everything in life can be explained. I was fascinated by the variety of locations where Moon did his investigations, some new to me, some historically known. The book was never boring and was one of the better ghost type books I have read. I am looking forward to more from this mother-son duo!

*Thank you to Chris and Paulette Moon, the publisher, and NetGalley, for allowing me to read an advanced arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Book Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

You better hang on for this rollercoaster ride! There are a lot of characters with a lot going on in this book. Be sure to pay attention so you can enjoy the ending. I have enjoyed Miranda's books and am looking forward to more by her. This story moved quickly and flowed nicely. It was a quick read for me.

*Thank you to Megan Miranda, NetGalley, and the publisher for an advanced e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review: One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn

This book is set during the 1918 influenza epidemic. The story revolves around Annie and Elsie. Annie is the new girl at school. Elsie badly wants to be her best friend, but Annie doesn't like Elsie. What will happen when Elsie dies and returns as a vengeful ghost?

I usually love this author, but this book left me disappointed. The writing did not seem realistic from a historical perspective. These mean girls seemed a little modern for this time period. I didn't find the story creepy or scary. I think this book was just not my cup of tea. I am still a fan of Hahn but this is not one I would read again or give as a gift.

*Thank you to Mary Downing Hahn, NetGalley, and the publisher for granting my wish to read this book. In exchange I have given an honest review.

Book Review: The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

Rose runs away from her FLDS community. Adan runs away from his foster home. What will happen when these two run into each other? Can these two strangers help save each other?

I thought that the FLDS parts were very well written. I didn't even feel that Adan was needed to advance the storyline. There was a disjointed feeling throughout the story for me. The ending felt rushed and wasn't believable.

I do respect the fact that the author is doing her best to shine a light on the misunderstood FLDS community and the abuse that goes on there. Flora Jessop is an absolutely amazing woman!

*Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an e-arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Polygamist's Daughter by Anna LeBaron

This is the story of Anna LeBaron. She is the daughter of a polygamist and murderer and one of fifty children fathered by him. Anna's life was hard. She was constantly hungry, and desperate, and always on the move. You can learn many lessons from reading about Anna's life.

This is the best book I have read about living in a cult situation. Anna's situation was very different from other books I have read about polygamists. Anna's father used abuse, control, and even murder, to accomplish his agenda. Anna is able to show a great amount of sympathy and understanding throughout the book. She is obviously a very brave and a very wise woman. Anna's story is filled with hope and grace. This is a well written inspirational journey.

*Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for allowing me to read and e-arc of this memoir in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

This novel is set during World War II within a traveling circus. Noa is a sixteen year old who is kicked out for becoming pregnant by a Nazi.  In order to survive she joins the German circus. She must work hard to learn the flying trapeze act.

I really wanted to love this one! The ending disappointed me. I have read a lot of books about the Holocaust but no one scene has affected me as much as the scene where Noa opens the train car and finds all the babies. Noa is a survivor, a great friend, and a protector. Astrid was hard for me to like. She rubbed me the wrong way. I liked that the circus family was a true family, excluding Emmet. The ending let me down. I do not understand whyAstrid decided to keep the secret for so long. If the ending was a little different, this could have made my favorites list.

*Thank you to Pam Jenoff, Mira Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Final Girls by Riley Sager

Ten years ago Quincy was involved in a massacre. She went on vacation with five friends, but was the only one who returned. She was a "Final Girl". The "Final Girls" all suffered similar fates, being the only survivors of a massacre. Lisa was the only one left of nine sorority sisters. Sam was working her shift at an Inn and was the only one left alive. What if these final girls were to meet? What if one of them ends up dead, what will the other two do? How can Quincy help the others when she can't even remember what happened to her?

Wow!! This one is filled with twists and turns. You feel like you are riding the roller coaster while stuck watching a scary horror flick. Since Quincy doesn't remember what happened during the massacre, you learn the story at the same time she does. Learning the story this way helps to rack up the scares and surprises. I really enjoyed this story and can highly recommend it to horror and suspense fans. I cannot wait to read more by this author. I have a feeling this will be a huge summer hit!

*Thank you to Riley Sager, Dutton Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Book Review: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The best book I have read this year. The amazing story of these girls who worked hard for their paychecks and were placed at such high risks in their workplace. These ladies fought to improve the rights of workers, while many of them were slowly and painfully dying. These heroes fought and brought about change leading to OSHA laws. The fact that they loved their jobs will break your heart. These ladies will become your friends and family. You will root for them to win, and cry when things don't work out. Thank you to Kate Moore for bringing these ladies stories out into the light!

*Thank you to NetGalley, Kate Moore, and the publisher for allowing me to read an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: Standing Strong by Diane Reeve

This is the true story of a man who knowingly infects numerous women with HIV and AIDS.  The women he preys upon are vulnerable and easily mislead. Sadly, most of the women buy into every lie he tells them. This author's writing is easy to follow and very easy to read. I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend while I was reading. This book also contains resources and suggestions. You will be heartbroken, and also inspired by the strength that is shown.

*Thank you to Diane Reeve, NetGalley, and the publisher for allowing me to read an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: The Trials of Walter Ogrod by Thomas Lowenstein

I love a good true crime read. I enjoy seeing how the case is solved and how the perpetrator is captured. I have a feeling that Walter was not guilty of the crime he was convicted for. I didn't really connect with the book. I found it to be repetitive and it just didn't hold my interest. The courtroom jargon was boring. The timeline also jumped around a lot. Sadly, this is not one I can recommend.

*Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Lowenstein, and the publisher for allowing me to read an arc of this story in exchange for an honest review*

Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

I recently saw a preview screening of King Arthur. The movie was so much better then I thought it would be. I would be lying if I said I was not a Charlie Hunnam fan! I was impressed with the movie. It was action packed and surprised me by making me laugh at several points. I was in a sold out theater of patrons who all clapped and cheered when the movie was finished.
This is not your typical King Arthur, but just sit back and enjoy the story. The Mage is fun and exciting and almost steals the movie from Charlie. I enjoyed it and I would actually go see it again.

*Thank you to Warner Brothers, gofobo, and AMC for allowing me to see this movie for free. This has in no way changed my reaction to the film.*

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review: A World Erased by Noah Lederman

This is one of my favorite Holocaust books. The fact that the author's grandparents survive, but are unwilling to share much, makes the story an interesting quest to connect the past to the present. I have no doubt that Noah will continue to love and honor the memory of his grandparents and their stories that he worked so hard to get them to share.

*Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher, for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What "Making A Murderer" Gets Wrong

First, I must admit, I do have a bit of a fascination with this case. I feel so badly for Brendan.  I also feel badly for Avery. Of course, I also feel terribly bad for the family of Teresa Halbach.
I honestly feel that maybe having Avery in jail for all that time created a man who didn't exist before. We all know that jail can harden and change a person, many times not for the better. I personally do not like the attitude of Kratz and basically feel he doesn't have much new to say here. Of course, the show, Making a Murderer, can't get it all right. None of us were there when Halbach was killed so none of us will ever know the complete truth of what happened. I do feel terrible that a life was lost and I hope that her family is able to find justice and peace. I am amazed at how many of these cases are mishandled and it makes me have a huge sense of mistrust for our justice system.

* Thank you to NetGalley, Ken Kratz, and BenBella Books, for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: Nobody's Girl: A Memoir of Lost Innocence, Modern Day Slavery, and Transformation by Barbara Amaya

Barbara had a very hard life. She was sexually abused by her father and her brother. She told her mother, who didn't believe her. Life was so hard that she decided to run away from home. Soon she was 13 years old, living on the streets, had a pimp, and was addicted to drugs.
Amazingly, Barbara was able to overcome her horrible past. She is now a mother and an advocate for victims. Her story is not graphic but you will finish knowing that life on the streets is no joke.

*Thank you to Barbara Amaya, NetGalley, and Animal Media, for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Emma Carlson Berne

I have read many books about the Holocaust. This one is aimed toward children, but is highly recommended for all ages.

I learned several things from this book. I actually had no idea that the Kindertransport helped save ten thousand children. I also did not know that the children were not just transported by train, but also by planes and boats. I enjoyed hearing each child's story and what became of them. A quick, highly educational read!!

*Thank you to NetGalley, Emma Carlson Berne, and Capstone Press, for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: Justice at Dachau: The Trials of an American Prosecutor by Joshua M. Greene

*This book was originally published in 2003. This review is in reference to the Updated book to be published April 1, 2017.*

This is the story behind the trials of several Holocaust war criminals. This book is not for the faint of heart. I had to divide the reading up because it is quite deep and depressing.  The man at the center of the book is Denson. He is the Prosecutor in these trials. He is so deeply affected by these trials that he becomes very sick and weak. BUT, he won't stop until these criminals see justice. Denson manages to convict many of the criminals.
Shamefully, the American government reverses several of the sentences. This was and is a huge insult to Denson and his hard work, and to the many victims of these terrible perpetrators. To know that several who were convicted went on to commit suicide shows how cowardly they really were. Disgustingly, many of those convicted continued to deny their crimes right up until death.
If you want to feel what the Holocaust victims felt, read this book. It will break your heart, but you will never look at these crimes in the same way!

*Thank you to NetGalley, Ankerwycke, and Joshua M. Greene for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: Don't Tell A Soul by M. William Phelps

Cherry Walker was mentally challenged. She was also very helpful with her friends and neighbors. No one thought much of it when she began babysitting for her neighbor's son. Soon Cherry was called to testify against the boy's mother in court. Sadly, Cherry's murdered body was found alongside the road.
I really wanted to love this true crime story. I just couldn't get into the structure of the book. The information about Cherry's neighbor Kim was repetitive. She was a terrible, mother and person, but I couldn't even get angry because I felt I didn't know enough to make her human.
Cherry was a victim of circumstance and her story is one of tragedy. I feel the most sorry for Kim's children.

*Thank you to NetGalley, Pinnacle Books, and M. William Phelps for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Monday, January 30, 2017

Book Review: Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

The writing in this novel was easy to follow and flowed nicely. Getting lost in the words was easy. I felt sorry for the main character Hattie. Hattie was an actress. She was a different person based on who she was around. It is sad that she felt she wasn't good enough as she is. She obviously was searching for something but didn't have the time to find it. I enjoyed the story but I figured out who did it way early on.

*Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for allowing me to read this title in exchange for an honest review*

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Five Hidden Gems I Have Read

Top Ten Tuesday is the brainchild of The Broke and The Bookish. The other Top Ten Lists can be found here

I had a hard time coming up with ten books that had very few ratings, so this week I stuck to five.

5.  Two Weeks A True Haunting by Rebecca Patrick Howard
I love this author's stories. Her writings on true hauntings are insightful and entertaining. I love a good ghost story.

4.  Deadly Night: Jenni and Katie's Untold Tale by Rhiannon Frater
As the World Dies is an Awesome Series. Jenni and Katie are kick-butt characters. If you haven't read Rhiannon Frater, what are you waiting for! No one writes zombies like Frater does!!

3.  When the Dead by Michelle Kilmer
Michelle Kilmer is Awesome!! You really need to read her! This one is such a unique take on zombies.

2.  Forgiving My Daughter's Killer: A True Story of Loss, Faith, Unexpected Grace by Kate         
This could change your mind about forgiveness

1.  Rabbits in the Garden by Jessica McHugh
Quirky, Weird, Creepy, and Strange, in a good way!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Finding Libbie by Deanna Lynn Sleeten

Finding Libbie is a story of love lost and love found. Emily is helping her grandmother move and stumbles upon a box filled with pictures of her father and a woman who is not her mother. Emily's grandmother tells her the story behind the pictures in the box. Emily becomes obsessed with the woman in the photos and won't stop until she finds out everything she can about her.
This story deals with mental illness, family issues, and alcoholism. I appreciated the way these issues were handled in this story. Nothing is sugar coated in the story. There is no shock value obtained here. The story is just a true to life tale of a family.
The writing itself is beautiful and insightful. This is one of the most uplifting stories I have read in years. I highly recommend this for fans of The Notebook. I would love to read more by Ms. Sleeten.

*Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher, for allowing me to read and honestly review this story*

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Meant To Get To (and Hopefully Will Soon)

Top Ten Tuesday is the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the Top Ten Lists Here

10. The Girls by Emma Cline
I sort of feel like the only one left on the planet who hasn't read this.

9. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
I have been trying to get my hands on this one for a while.

8. Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
I have not heard much about this book. It sounds like my kind of read and has been on my wish list all year.

7.  The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
This one has very high ratings and sounds interesting.

6.  Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I have a slight obsession with Alice, so I have to get to this one!

5.  Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
I have heard good things.

4.  Shelter by Jung Yun
Who doesn't need a dose of family drama?

3.  The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa
I tried to get this on NetGalley but no such luck!

2.  LaRose by Louise Erdich
A lot of my friends have loved this one.

1.  The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
I REALLY want to get to this one. Reincarnation-that's all I need to say

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my list. Any favorite reads of 2016 I need to get to?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Movie Review: Denial

  This movie is based on a true story. Denial is based on the case against Historian Deborah Lipstadt. Lipstadt was the subject of a high profile suit brought about by Holocaust denier David Irving. Irving had written a few books based around his ideas about the Holocaust, as had Lipstadt. To say they didn't see eye to eye would be an understatement.
  It amazes me that anyone could deny the Holocaust. But, there are a lot of things in life that amaze me. I personally have met a survivor of Josef Mengele's twin experiments. I do not understand how anyone could hear their story and think it is not fact. I understand that people continue to idolize Hitler, but to also deny the existence of the gas chambers infuriates me.
  Deborah Libstadt turned her case over to a few lawyers as the lawsuit was brought in Britain. It was extremely hard for Deborah to do this as she is used to doing her own research and speaking for herself. Her lawyers manage to win her case.
  The film focuses only on the case, but watch for the scenes where Deborah and her lawyers tour Auschwitz. If those scenes don't tear you up, then you must be heartless. This is an interesting look into a not talked about part of history.