Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Don't Try To Find Me, Holly Brown

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Synopsis: When a 14-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her-launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever, in this suspenseful and gripping debut for fans of Reconstructing Amelia and Gone Girl

Don't try to find me. Though the message on the kitchen white board is written in Marley's hand, her mother Rachel knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away.

As the days pass and it sinks in that the impossible has occurred, Rachel and her husband Paul are informed that the police have "limited resources." If they want their 14-year-old daughter back, they will have to find her themselves. Desperation becomes determination when Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter, and launches

But Marley isn't the only one with secrets.

With public exposure comes scrutiny, and when Rachel blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins. Now, the blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It's not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it's discovered that she's lied, even to the police, the devoted mother becomes a suspect in Marley's disappearance.

Is Marley out there somewhere, watching it all happen, or is the truth something far worse?

Thoughts: This story has so much going on, and the author makes it all work. There's a trouble marriage, adultery, drug addiction, online relationships, a runaway teen, and domestic violence. The two main plots are Marley's experiences after she runs away, and the efforts of her parents to find her. If my girls were still in their older teens, I would make sure to have them read this, as a cautionary tale of sorts.

Why Ruin Another Life, Anthony Weathers

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Synopsis: This story was told to Anthony Weathers years ago. Upon hearing it, he felt compelled to write a story based on these tragic, true events. Why Ruin Another Life is set in the 1970s in black Mississippi. It is a generational journey about how lives can be altered by an event or person. Hattie is black woman in her thirties who sets off a chain of events that unravel, creating a domino effect. It affects the lives of her daughter, granddaughter, and everyone around them. This one event caused a thunderstorm for generations to come, and the lessons learned were very costly.

Thoughts: DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.

This was a real page turner...once I started reading, I read it all the way through in about an hour and a half. It's a very dynamic story of several generations of family dysfunction. I would love to see it as a movie in the future.

My only "complaint" is that I would have liked to have had a bit more of the present day at the very end, to sort of tie it back to the beginning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

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And yes, I KNOW it's Tuesday....better later than never.

What I read last week:
1) The Boleyn Deceit, by Laura Andersen
2)  Because It Is My Blood, by Gabrielle Zevin
3) That Night, by Chevy Stevens
4) The Cheese Stealer's Handbook, by Shoshaku Jushaku (pdf copy given to me by the author in return for an honest review).
5) The Fever, by Megan Abbott
6) Hope Deferred, by Elizabeth Maddrey
7) That Night, Chevy Stevens

What I listened to last week:
1) Murder In Brentwood, Mark Fuhrman
2) Bowled Over, by Victoria Hamilton
3) Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan
4) Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

What I'm currently reading:
1) Don't Try To Find Me, by Holly Brown
2) The Boleyn Reckoning, by Laura Andersen (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
3)Why Ruin Another Life, by Anthony Weathers (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)

What I'm currently listening to:
1) A Captain's Duty,by Richard Phillips

What I plan to read this week:
1) In The Age Of Love And Chocolate, Gabrielle Zevin
2) Star Cursed, by Jessica Spotswood
3) Hotel Apocalypse, Volumes I-III, by Bennett Gavrish (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
4) Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name, by Stacey Roberts (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)

What I plan to listen to this week:
1) Freezer I'll Shoot, by Victoria Hamilton
2) The Church Of Mercy: A Vision For The Church, by Pope Francis

Sunday, July 27, 2014

That Night, Chevy Stevens

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Synopsis: As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Thoughts: This was a great mystery/suspense novel. The main character and her boyfriend were convicted of murdering her younger sister, and spent 15 years in prison. When they get out, they work to try to find the actual killer/killers. For most of the book,the perspective switches back and forth between the time period of the murder and present day, so that we get a complete picture of the situation.

Some of the most emotional scenes were between Toni and her parents--my heart broke for all of them. The story moved slowly in places, but for the most part the pace was perfect.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shiver (The Wolves Of Mercy Falls, #1), Maggie Steifvater

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Synopsis: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Thoughts: Read this a couple of years ago, but never got around to finishing the series. Found all three books on the Hoopla site, so I've started over.  This is a much better series than Twilight, and I love listening to it, getting all the emotion from the narrator. 

Considering the situation with Sam at the end of this book, I can't wait to listen to the next week and see where it goes.

The Boleyn Deceit, Laura Andersen

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 Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Allison Weir! After presenting readers with an irresistible premise in The Boleyn King (what if Anne gave birth to a healthy royal boy who would grow up to rule England?) Laura Andersen returns in this deepening saga, into the dangerous world of the Tudor court, where secrets can bring down an empire, and even the strongest of monarchs may not be able to prevent history from repeating...

Henry IX, known as William, is the son of Anne Boleyn and now the leader of England, his regency period finally at an end. His newfound power, however, comes with the looming specter of war with the other major powers of Europe, with strategic alliances that must be forged on both the battlefield and in the bedroom, and with a court, severed by religion, rife with plots to take over the throne. Will trusts only three people: his older sister, Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by Anne Boleyn. But as the pressure rises alongside the threat to his life, even they William must begin to question-and to fear.

Thoughts: I have the same issue with this book as I did with the first book in the series...Minuette is STILL annoying me. I don't know what it is about her character, but I just can't seem to like her. Part of it is the way she plays both Dominic and William, whether intentionally or not. She says she loves Dominic, but yet she continues to let William believe she loves him and wants to marry him. Hopefully that will come to an end early in the next book, which I plan to start later today. I do love the way Elizabeth is written, as it seems very true to everything I've read in the past about her strong will and strong opinions.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Cheese Stealer's Handbook, by Shoshaku Jushaku

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Synopsis: I used to write the truth, then smooth it out, tone it down, and try to make it plausible. Then my ex made a convincing case against chronicling my life as a train wreck. She claimed my time would be better spent trying to write about who I want to become. "Write myself a destiny." She said it because she wanted me to become happy . . . Fuck happiness. Happiness writes white. It does not show up on the page. First I think I have to excise my past. No amount of liquor or drugs seems to get rid of the ghosts that haunt me. The ghosts have become buddies with the monkey on my back. I think the monkey might have substance abuse issues himself. Even if I did manage to chase away my demons there might nothing left over . . . If a better me is the goal, maybe I should consider exercise and eating right, or even eating solid food in general before tackling a novel. On second thought . . . where to begin?

Thoughts: DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions which follow are entirely my own.

While I liked the IDEA of this book, based on the synopsis, I have to say that the REALITY of it was very disappointing. I'm thinking it would have been better kept as the author's personal journal rather than subjecting the rest of the world to this drivel. 

The language was raw and vulgar, but I tried not to let that influence my opinion on the actual writing. However, it was so disjointed and "stream of consciousness" in some places that it just never felt professional to me.

Hope Deferred, by Elizabeth Maddrey

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Synopsis: Christian fiction for women.

Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse?

June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they're desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage.

Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams?

Thoughts:  Even though I didn't read the first book of this series, I was able to jump right in and keep up with the story. I've never dealt with infertility, but I have a feeling this book portrays it in a very real way. The emotions of all four main characters were so raw and so powerful...I laughed and cried right along with them several times. Each twin takes a different journey toward parenthood, but the two couples are always there to support one another, no matter what. I definitely want to read the final installment of this series!

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this book to read and review, but all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Fever, by Megan Abbott

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Synopsis:The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

Thoughts: I was really anxious to read this book from the time I first read the description of it. Unfortunately, reality did not live up to expectation.

What exactly was making all these young girls sick? Was it a virus? Was it a vaccine? Was it something in the lake? The author had so many possibilities laid out for us, making them all seem plausible. But NONE of them were the actual answer (any further information would be a spoiler, so that's all you get, folks!)

I couldn't make myself care about any of the characters, except maybe the main character's father...but even he didn't seem to have that many redeeming qualities as he was written.

I would not recommend this book, not with so many other, more well-written YA novels out there.

Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

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Synopsis: How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven? With a humble respect for God’s Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They’ve asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don’t want to believe in hell. But, as they write, “We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue.” This is not a book about who is saying what. It’s a book about what God says. It’s not a book about impersonal theological issues. It’s a book about people God loves. It’s not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It’s a book about the character of God. Erasing Hell will immerse you in the truth of Scripture as, together with the authors, you find not only the truth but the courage to live it out.

Thoughts: Very thought provoking,and helped me to deal with some questions/doubts I've been struggling with recently. Recommend it for any Christian who is troubled by the idea of Hell as most of us have been taught to understand it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bowled Over (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery #2), by Victoria Hamilton

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Synopsis: Vintage kitchenware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton has been estranged from her high school best friend Kathy Cooper since they were teenagers, but she never knew what turned Kathy against her. After fireworks at a Fourth of July picnic, Jaymie discovers the body of her former friend in the park. On the ground nearby is Jaymie's own Depression-era glass bowl, broken in two.

With her fingerprints all over the bowl and a troubled history with the victim, Jaymie suddenly finds herself at the top of the list of suspects. Did the killer intend to frame her for the murder? If so, she is ready to mix it up, because solving crimes is vintage Jaymie Leighton .

Thoughts:  I really love this series. This particular book had so many twists and turns, which made it even more enjoyable. Figuring out "whodunit" was definitely not easy--every time I thought I had it figured out, something happened that made me suspect someone else instead. Jaymie's relationships with the other people in town are blossoming, and I'll be anxious to see what happens with her, Daniel and Zack.  Can't wait to listen to the next one!

Because It Is My Blood (Birthright #2), by Gabrielle Zevin

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Synopsis: Freed from jail, Anya hopes that things will get back to normal. But life on the outside is even more dangerous than life behind bars. Some of her gangland family want revenge for the crime for which she has done time: the shooting of her uncle. Forced to flee the country, Anya hides out in a cacao plantation in Mexico. There she learns the secrets of the chocolate trade, a trade that is illegal and deadly in her native New York. There too she discovers that seemingly random acts of violence carried out across the world have a single target: her family. As innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire Anya must act fast and decisively to stop it, no matter what the danger to herself.

Thoughts: I still can't wrap my mind around a time where chocolate is illegal in the United States--I'd definitely have to move out of the country!  Anya is still having trouble with the law, with her family, and with her love life. At least in this book we see her starting to take charge rather than just letting things happen to her. Can't wait to read book three to see how it all ends.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Murder In Brentwood, by Mark Fuhrman

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Synopsis: This book yields two surprises that have nothing to do with what made its author so notorious, but which have plenty to do with how public bureaucracies fail. First, it includes Furhman's contemporaneous crime scene notes (with observations as meticulous as any TV sleuth's), which make mention of a "visible fingerprint" Furhman saw on the Bundy back gate (and discussed with his partner at the time). Second, it reveals that Lange and Vannatter, the detectives from "downtown" who took over the case from Furhman, didn't check out the print that night or subsequently, and indeed never read Fuhrman's notes at all. That's why you didn't hear about the fingerprint during the criminal trial. (When authorities returned to sample blood from the back gate two weeks later, the print was gone.) In short, the main lesson of this book is an organizational one worth remembering: it doesn't matter if the grunts do a good job, if the big-shots don't follow up.

Thoughts: During the trial, I always felt that Fuhrman got a raw deal in the way he was treated. He was interested in doing proper police work, and it seemed to me that the detectives who took charge of the case were more interested in protecting O.J.'s reputation. The entire "racist" accusation never sat right with me, and after listening to this book, I now understand why. It was a created issue, and the prosecution chose to buy into it rather than protecting their witness. 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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What I read last week:
1) Pies and Prejudice, by Ellery Adams
2) The Boleyn Deceit, by Laura Andersen
3) Elizabeth The First Wife, by Lian Dolan

What I listened to last week:
1) A Vision In Velvet, by Juliet Blackwell
2) How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder, by Mark Gilbert

What I'm currently reading:
1) The Boleyn Deceit, by Laura Andersen
2) Because It Is My Blood, by Gabrielle Zevin

What I'm currently listening to:
1) Murder In Brentwood, Mark Fuhrman

What I plan to read this week:
1) That Night, by Chevy Stevens
2) Star Cursed, by Jessica Spotswood
3) The Cheese Stealer's Handbook, by Shoshaku Jushaku (pdf copy given to me by the author in return for an honest review).

What I plan to listen to this week:
1) Bowled Over, by Victoria Hamilton
2) Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan
3) Freezer I'll Shoot, Victoria Hamilton
4)  A Captain's Duty, by Richard Philips

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Outcast (A Modern Retelling Of The Scarlet Letter), by Jolina Petersheim

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Synopsis: Rachel Stoltzfus never imagined she’d be the talk of her Old Order Mennonite community until whispers stir the moment her belly swells with new life. Unmarried and refusing to repent by naming the partner in her sin, Rachel feels the wrath of the religious sect as she is shunned by those she loves most and eventually forced to leave — driven out by her twin sister’s husband, the bishop. But secrets run deep in this cloistered community, and the bishop is hiding some of his own, threatening his conscience and his very soul. When the life of Rachel’s baby is at stake, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light, forever changing the lives of those who call Copper Creek home.

Thoughts: I found this audiobook after listening to The Midwife, and after having enjoyed The Midwife so much, I was excited to have another book by the same author. I was not disappointed, either. Knowing that it was a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter, some plot points were predictable, but others were not,which was good. There were some plot points which also reminded me of the Biblical story of Jacob,the most obvious of which being that the twins around whom the story centers are Rachel and Leah. I am anxious for a new book by this author!

Pies And Prejudice (A Charmed Pie Shop Mystery), Ellery Adams

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Synopsis: When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flakey crust. But her pies aren't just delicious. They're having magical effects on the people who eat them--and the public is hungry for more.

Discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe. But with her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor making trouble, and her old crush Hugh Dylan making nice, she has more than pie on her plate. and when Loralyn's fiancé is found dead--killed with Ella Mae's rolling pin--it'll take all her sweet magic to clear her name.

Thoughts: A fun story with lots of family relationships,intrigue....and a little bit of magic. I can hardly wait to read the rest of this series.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Midwife, by Jolina Petersheim

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Synopsis: The Past — Graduate student Beth Winslow was sure she was ready to navigate the challenges of becoming a surrogate. But when early tests indicate possible abnormalities with the baby, Beth is unprepared for the parents’ decision to end the pregnancy — and for the fierce love she feels for this unborn child. Desperate, she flees the city and seeks refuge at Hopen Haus, a home for unwed mothers deep in a Tennessee Mennonite community.

The Present — As head midwife of Hopen Haus, Rhoda Mummau delivers babies with a confident though stoic ease. Except in rare moments, not even those who work alongside her would guess that each newborn cry, each starry-eyed glance from mother to child, nearly renders a fault through Rhoda’s heart, reminding her of a past she has carefully concealed.

Past and present collide when a young woman named Amelia arrives in the sweeping countryside bearing secrets of her own. As Amelia’s due date draws near, Rhoda must face her regrets and those she left behind in order for the healing power of love and forgiveness to set them all free.

Thoughts: A fabulous story! So many twists and turns in the relationships between the very near the end that I hadn't seen coming brought tears to my eyes. All of the emotions in this story touched my heart. Can't wait for more from this author.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder, by Mike Gilbert

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Synopsis: The shocking tale told in How I Helped O. J. Get Away With Murder is unlike anything you've read before; it isn't Mike Gilbert's "version" of what happened—it's the unvarnished truth: the truth about O. J., the murders, and the infamous trial. Not as Gilbert imagined or would like it to be, but how it actually was. Gilbert doesn't spare anyone, not even himself—he helped deceive the jury and feels deeply responsible for the "Not Guilty" verdict.

So why is Gilbert speaking out now? Has he gone from sinner to saint? Is he making a play for sympathy or looking to make a quick buck? No. (Proceeds from this book are going to March of Dimes and other selected charities.) Gilbert has written this book because he regrets what he did for his adored childhood idol. He can no longer find any excuse for how he has shielded O. J. Simpson, and he is determined to tell the full truth, including: 

—O. J.'s late-night confession to Gilbert

—How Gilbert was responsible for O. J.'s hand not fitting the murder glove

—Why O. J. murdered Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman (it was more than jealousy)

—Why Gilbert defended O. J. for so long—and what finally convinced him he could do so no longer

— How O. J. ignored his financial obligations to the Goldman family and milked the tabloids for money

—The real reason why an armed O. J. burst in on the memorabilia collectors in Las Vegas (Gilbert had what O. J. was looking for) 

Told with searing candor, no one comes out of this book with his reputation intact—including Gilbert's own. But he casts a glaring light on how celebrity can corrupt, how power can mislead, and how friendship and loyalty can be perverted. His book is meant to set the record straight, to lay to rest the ghosts of that dreadful night that have haunted him ever since, and to now play what little part he can to forward the process of justice

Thoughts: After listening to this book, I was even more disgusted than after listening to O.J.'s book. In this one, I found out a lot more about the volatility of O.J. and Nicole's relationship, as well as about the events that led up to the murders. I also learned why the gloves didn't fit during the trial (the author suggested that O.J. not take his arthritis medication). There were SO many disturbing revelations in this book, making me even more disgusted with the so-called "dream team" as well as O.J.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Vision In Velvet (A Wishcraft Mystery #6), Juliet Blackwell

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Synopsis: Lily Ivory hopes to score some great vintage fashions when she buys an antique trunk full of old clothes. But she may have gotten more than she bargained for.

As soon as Lily opens the trunk, she feels strange vibrations emanating from a mysterious velvet cloak. When she tries it on, Lily sees awful visions from the past. And when the antiques dealer who sold her the cape is killed, Lily suspects a supernatural force might be behind his death.

Then Lily’s familiar, Oscar the potbellied pig, disappears. Lily will do anything to get him back—including battling the spirit of a powerful witch reaching out from the past. But even with the aid of her grandmother, unmasking a killer and saving Oscar might be more than one well-intentioned sorceress can handle.

Thoughts: Yet another fabulous story in this series. I think this is my favorite so far. Lily is really coming to grips with her power, her helping spirit,and her various relationships. The entire storyline around Oscar's disappearance had me worrying throughout the book, scared he wasn't coming back. I was pleased with the way that was resolved, and tied to the main murder mystery. 

The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy #1), Laura Andersen

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Synopsis: The Boleyn King is the first novel in an enthralling new trilogy. Reimagining history in sumptuous detail, Laura Anderssen takes readers back to the deadly intrigue, turbulent affairs, and treacherous passions of Tudor England - and answers the compelling question What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted?

Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William's mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king's desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England's fortunes forever.


Tarnished And Torn (A Witchcraft Mystery #5), Juliet Blackwell

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Synopsis: When Lily arrives at an antique jewelry fair, her bargain sensors go off left and right—but she also picks up a faint vibration of magic. Could the hard-bargaining merchant Griselda be a fellow practitioner? It certainly seems that way when a sudden fire sends panic through the crowd, and Lily discovers Griselda murdered in a way that nods to an old-fashioned witch hunt.

A crime that hits close to home turns into an unwelcome flash from the past when the police bring in their lead suspect—Lily's estranged father. Though he may not deserve her help, Lily is determined to clear her father's name and solve a murder that's anything but crystal clear.

Thoughts: My least favorite book of the series to this point. It seemed a lot darker than the others, and I prefer my cozy mysteries to be a little more light and fun. However, I do hope that Ms. Blackwell will further explore the relationship between Lily and her father, Declan.

If I Did It: Confessions Of The Killer, O.J. Simpson

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Synopsis: In 1994, Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson were brutally murdered at her home in Brentwood, California. O. J. Simpson was tried for the crime in a case that captured the attention of the American people, but was ultimately found not guilty of criminal charges. The victims' families brought a civil case against Simpson, and he was found liable for willfully and wrongfully causing the deaths of Ron and Nicole by committing battery with malice and oppression.

In 2006, Harper Collins announced the publication of a book in which O. J. Simpson told how he hypothetically would have committed the murders. In response to public outrage that Simpson stood to profit from these crimes, Harper Collins canceled the book. A Florida bankruptcy court awarded the rights to the Goldmans in August 2007 to partially satisfy the unpaid civil judgment, which has risen to over $38 million with interest. 

The Goldman family views this book as his confession, and has worked hard to ensure that the public will read this book and learn the truth. This is the original manuscript approved by O. J. Simpson, with up to 14,000 words of key additional commentary. 

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.

Thoughts: Most of this book was disgustingly obvious BS,an attempt to make Nicole Brown look like a horrible person,apparently to convince people she deserved what she got. The only chapter that rings true is the one which describes the night of the grisly murder, the chapter which The Killer still insists is purely hypothetical. I came away from this book even more convinced that he is guilty, and that he deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail.

The C List: Chemotherapy,Clinics and Cupcakes: How I Survived Colon Cancer

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Synopsis: “This is not a ‘misery memoir’. Neither is it an, ‘I’ve got cancer and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me’ book. It is about the daft and sometimes funny things that happen to people living with cancer and useful tips for making the best of it.“
Rachel Bown is a marketing director and single mother of two, who was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer at the age of 45. With a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Rachel shares her experiences and the lists she made to help gain some control over what quickly became an unpredictable life. Both funny and poignant, she vividly describes her battle with cancer and the often absurd situations she finds herself in—from a brutally flippant surgeon to her latest fashion accessory, a colostomy bag, to embarking on a project to build a 40ft-banana giraffe on the roof of her house.
Colon cancer is the second-biggest cancer killer in the US, but there is still  a shockinging low level of public awareness about it. Rachel offers you all the nuggets of information she picked up from hundreds of sources along the way, including questions you should ask your surgeon, the best treats whilst on chemo, things to look out for in a blood test, and how not to react when someone tells you they have cancer.

Thoughts: A very touching and yet humorous story of the journey through colon cancer. Much of what she writes is also applicable to any other form of cancer and its treatment. As a breast cancer survivor, a lot of what she writes rang true to my experiences. I will definitely be recommending this book to others, and sharing my copy with friends/family members.

DISCLOSURE: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in return for an honest review, and all thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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What I read last week:
1) Hearse and Buggy, by Laura Bradford
2) The Boleyn King, by Laura Andersen
3) The C List: Chemotherapy, Clinics and Cupcakes; How I Survived Colon Cancer, by Rachel Bown

What I listened to last week:
1) Hexes and Hemlines, by Juliet Blackwell
2) Behind The Scenes In The Lincoln White House, by Elizabeth Keckley
3) Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene: The Followers Of Jesus, by Bart D. Ehrman
4) If I Did It, O.J. Simpson
5) Tarnished and Torn, by Juliet Blackwell

What I'm currently reading:
1) Pies and Prejudice, by Ellery Adams
2) The Boleyn Deceit, by Laura Andersen
3) Elizabeth The First Wife, by Lian Dolan

What I'm currently listening to:
1) A Vision In Velvet, by Juliet Blackwell

What I plan to read this week:
1) The Diva Frosts A Cupcake, by Krista Davis
2) That Night, by Chevy Stevens
3) Because It Is My Blood,  by Gabrielle Zeven

What I plan to listen to this week:
1) Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan
2) Bowled Over, Victoria Hamilton
3) How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder, by Mark Gilbert
4) A Brew To A Kill, by Cleo Coyle
5) Murder In Brentwood, Mark Fuhrman

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kindle Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes both values at $229. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash! The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

  July Kindle  
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

 Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here:
Giveaway Details 
 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash. Ends 7/31/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, July 11, 2014

In A Witch's Wardrobe (A Witchcraft Mystery #4), Juliet Blackwell

Synopsis: Lily Ivory is living her dream of owning a vintage clothing store—and practicing magic on the side. But when she encounters a sinister sleeping spell, Lily comes face-to-face with a nightmarish evil… 

Taking a night off from running her successful San Francisco clothing store, Lily attends a local art deco ball where vintage fashions steal the show. But when a young woman at the event falls under a mysterious sleeping sickness, Lily senses that a curse was placed on the woman’s corsage. 

Before Lily can solve the woman’s magical ailment, she’s asked to assist in investigating a string of poisonings in the Bay Area witchcraft community. She’s gained the trust of the local covens by supporting women’s charities through her clothing store. But soon, Lily suspects that one of her new acquaintances might not be so well intentioned and could be dabbling in dark magic and deadly botany…  

Thoughts:  I actually first read this book about a year ago (see April 2013 for my thoughts at the time). I think this is my favorite of the series so far, maybe because I've become so invested in the characters. I still can't decide whether I like Aidan or not, and I like the relationship developing between Lily and Sailor. However, I still think Oscar is my favorite character...even though he's part goblin. part gargoyle, he's such a whiner, rather like a petulant toddler.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Behind The Scenes In The Lincoln White House, Elizabeth Keckley

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Synopsis: Part slave narrative, part memoir, and part sentimental fiction Behind the Scenes depicts Elizabeth Keckley's years as a slave and subsequent four years in Abraham Lincoln's White House during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this black woman, we see a wide range of historical figures and events of the antebellum South, the Washington of the Civil War years, and the final stages of the war.

Thoughts: I have heard much about the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, but this was the first time I'd read/listened to a first person account. Mrs. Keckley describes her life as a slave, how she achieved her freedom,moved North, and came to be among the politicians in D.C. as the Civil War began, raged on, and ended. The friendship with Mrs. Lincoln continued after she left the White House and suffered financial troubles. This is one of the few books about Mrs. Lincoln which doesn't dwell on her mental health issues, which was refreshing

Thoughtful Thursday

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July 10: Is there a magic number for the number of books in a series for you? Will you only read series with four or less books in a completed series? Do you prefer long series (10+ books)? Does the number of books in a series matter?

If I fall in love with a series, based on the subject manner or the characters, I will read as many books as are written in the series...and look forward anxiously to the next installment. If I don't enjoy the first installment, then the rest of the series will go unread.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hexes And Hemlines (Witchcraft Mystery #3), Juliet Blackwell

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Synopsis: With her vintage clothing store taking off, Lily Ivory is finding that life in San Francisco suits her just fine. But her ability to sense vibrations from the past, so useful in locating secondhand gems, has landed her in the middle of a new mystery . . .

Lily gets called away from Aunt Cora's Closet when the police need a witch's take on a strange case. Malachi Zazi was stabbed to death in his apartment, under a ladder, surrounded by the number thirteen, a broken mirror, and a black cat—superstitions that the victim, as head of a rationalist society, was devoted to discrediting.

When the police identify a suspect from the Serpentarian Society, Lily is shocked to learn it's someone she knows. But with bad luck plaguing all its members, she begins to wonder if there's more at work than mere coincidence. And while there aren't many clues from the crime scene, Lily finds evidence of dark witchcraft and a hex on her friend's doorstep. With her friend's safety at stake, Lily is determined to use magic to find the murderer before everyone's luck runs out.

Thoughts: Every installment of this series draws me in more and more. All the talk of snakes in this one had me a little creeped out, but the rest of it was the usual great fun.