Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review: Allegiant By: Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Allegiant by Veronica Roth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so excited for this book, almost ripped it from my poor teens hands when she put it aside to finish another before diving into this - What? Didn't she want to know what happened to Four, what about Tris? The Divergent?? This was the soap opera I had entered into, the dystopia of factions and uprisings, of relatives that turn on each other (is that where Survivor got it's idea for the last season, faction before blood)...
I turned my back on Black Friday and opened Allegiant thinking that Ms. Roth would lead the reader further down into the path of the amazing story she has created only to find myself angry. The book filled unnecessarily with over 200 pages of what I would consider nothingness, with a conclusion that was to bring the city resolution and a book that brought answers but seemed more like a cop out and yet could have been a good idea.
The factionless have taken over and the Allegiant are gathering for an uprising, but they must go beyond the borders, beyond what they know to search for answers. A few select, including Four (who sometimes goes as Tobias) and Tris, go out and find the Bureau. The answers they find lead to more questions and the uncovering of greater lies. Yet, only one truth remains and that is that only they can save what they hold dear and it is only through love and sacrifice that they can do that - no, I will not give a spoiler..that is enough.
I needed an end to the series and I got one. It's just that simple.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: The Rosie Project By: Graeme Simsion

The Rosie ProjectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A unique and heartwarming tale with a wonderful main character, Don Tillman. Socially inept, a bit awkward, he has character traits that are similar to having Aspergers - yet, the time has come that he must search out a wife. What originally begins as a questionnaire to weed out the unacceptable prospects, such as women who smoke or are habitually late, somehow leads him to Rosie. Rosie on paper is completely unacceptable and is not even capable of being a candidate, but a woman that leads him into another project that reaches him outside of himself and into her world. Thus begins The Rosie Project and the search for her biological father. Don finds himself in all kinds of social situations, requiring him to bartend, to ditch and dine, to jump from buildings, and ignore the routine of his life. People like him can't fall in love can they? And what are the chances of the person loving him back?
A story of growth on multiple levels, filled with moments of laughter and times I felt like crying. Don Tillman is a genuine, astounding character that I am sure a reader will want to return to over and over again to enjoy. You will devour this book in one sitting.

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Reivew: Paddle Your Own Canoe By: Nick Offerman

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious LivingPaddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Nick Offerman best known for that dry sense of humor, that manly fragrance of raw hunted meat and earth, the one who stars as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation.
I so wanted to enjoy this book - with quotes from even Gandalf and a Maple Tree on the back giving rave reviews, why shouldn't I?
I once was told that if you lower your expectations, everything will make you happy - but even then, I am not sure this book would. I bought it as soon as it hit the shelves and began to dive into it's pages, only to put it down for days at a time. Avoiding it almost in the corner of my eye, knowing that I finish everything I start I will have to continue, again, picking up and putting down.
I think this title is a little wrong for what is really within the pages...again, maybe it was what my expectations were. Fundamentals for a Delicious Living, did not include what, in my opinion was any fundamentals, but rather over two hundred pages of his life in college and Chicago. This is more of an autobiography, filled with early childhood, college, Chicago only to skim through falling in love, marriage, and Hollywood finding him.
Within these pages Mr. Offerman offers his grand opinion on a variety of subjects and almost dares the reader to object, which is very off putting after a while. Maybe I like Mr. Offerman best as Ron Swanson and prefer him that way, a character with lines fed to him, small doses, once a week, and no more than that.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review: Perfect A Novel By: Rachel Joyce

PerfectPerfect by Rachel Joyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Byron Hemmings thought it was an ordinary day until that is his best friend, James Lowe tells him about two seconds will be added to the clocks - that they will be adding time without anyone knowing it. What can happen in two seconds?
Ms. Joyce takes us on a journey into 1972 and how a family and small group of people are changed over those two seconds. With chapters that alternate between past and present the reader is gentle woven into this wondrous tale. Filled with perfect imperfect characters that leave the reader with the profound this is a definite must read - and great for book clubs!!
There is a surprise and a twist, there is also so much within the pages for discussion. Time can be unforgiving and it requires you to be.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: The First Phone Call From Heaven : A Novel By: Mitch Albom

The First Phone Call from HeavenThe First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a firm believer that there is a necessity for food for the soul: be it a walk with nature, quiet time with your Maker, a moment to reflect upon the day, laughter with your loved ones, and books that somehow enter your heart and give a gift that somehow grows from within. Mitch Albom has a special gift of touching my soul, of writing stories that somehow reach within me, touch a piece, plant a seed, and I grow. This latest book is no different.
Coldwater, Michigan is a small town community that wakes one morning to find some of it's residents have received a rather long distanced unearthly call from their departed. Some keep very quiet about this phenomenon while one in particular shouts in loud in praise - loud enough for local news to carry and soon national. Meanwhile, Sully Harding has returned to town from prison, a widower and father, skeptical and worried for his son getting swept up into believing that his mother will call from beyond and begins to dig into what could be the biggest hoax that could have hit this town ever. As the calls continue people from all over flock to the small town to experience the miracle, some come to protest. Along the way Alexander Graham Bell's story is told and so is a tale of faith, hope, and forgiveness.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Starry Night By: Debbie Macomber

Starry Night: A Christmas NovelStarry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, I will have to admit firstly that I am a sentimental sucker come holiday time and no holiday season can come without Debbie Macomber.
A stand alone romance, Starry Night, does not disappoint fans or those looking for the spirit of the holiday romance genre. Carrie Slayton, page six reporter for Chicago Herald is done with art openings and parties, she wants to put her skills to real journalism - the only way get the ungettable, an interview with best selling author and recluse, Finn Dalton.
Finn has spent his life in the Alaskan wilderness, wrote a book, and kept his privacy (thanks to some great friends), but when a reporter lands at his door and is stranded during a snowstorm, something inside him begins to melt. Sparks fly and wounds are exposed as two different people fall in love and re-enter the "real" world, some tests are played and long overdue mending is done - but Christmas is the time of miracles and Macomber.
By no means is this a "smart" book, this is a feel good book, a (dare I call it) hallmark feeling book, one that brings everything right with the world. Why would I give it 5 stars - because, for what it is, it is well written, it is fun, it has drama and you look at your decorated tree, cozy into your chair with some cocoa and a warm blanket, this is the book to have in your hand to enjoy the evening with.

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Review: Merry Ex-Mas By: Sheila Roberts

Merry Ex-Mas (Life in Icicle Falls, #2)Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Welcome to Icicle Falls, Washington. Small town Northwest, postcard perfect - except when you look into some of the lives of the residents. Unfortunately, a few have been badly burned and hurt by cupid's arrow and ended up with some divorces and exes in the mix. The holiday season has just begun, Thanksgiving begins the book and sometimes you have to look deep for what you are thankful for, better or worse.
Cass Wilkes is planning her daughter's wedding and now has to have the almighty absent ex and father to her children along with the wicked mother and sister and child trophy bride come stay.
Charlene Albach kicked her ex to the curb and paid him (literally) to stay away. With the best restaurant in town, what more could she want - that is until he walks in, saying sorry and making her wonder if people can change.
Ella O'Brien lives in the house with her ex until they can sell it, but with him walking around in boxers she doesn't know how long she can take it. Filled with suspicions of groupies and the whispers of her mother in her ear never quite helped his case, but maybe a little Christmas magic can warm even the coldest hearts.
Filled with great characters, both major and minor - a town I would love to live in. Characters that showed both their best and worst in believable situations and written extremely well - I think this would make a great book to crawl into this season - Enjoy!

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: The Spiritual World of The Hobbit By: James Stuart Bell

The Spiritual World of the HobbitThe Spiritual World of the Hobbit by James Stuart Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful companion book to take along with a reread of The Hobbit. Written truly by a Tolkien lover to bring enlightenment and extra spiritual message to the reader. Go in depth within chapters, characters, the development of good versus evil, and the the Divine. References to The Silmarillion and comparisons to Catholicism are made and easily understood, with quotes and verses included.
From leadership to Divine Assistance, this is the book that you want to share and would be a great use in your book club to discuss. Mr. Bell has not left a stone unturned in Tolkien's work, and he reminds us that just as Bilbo - we are unfinished and there is more to us than we even know. I hope you will pick this one up and enjoy the journey.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Thicker Than Blood: A Collection of Short Stories By: K N Lee

Thicker Than BloodThicker Than Blood by K.N. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**** This Is A First Reads **** Thank You Goodreads****

Three creepy short stories sure to stay with you. They are PG and yet disturbing in a good way.
Thicker Than Blood, a story of twins and the horror of cancer
Where is Katie?, OMG - This one really is on the scary meter, for a short story has quite a bit of twist and turns to make the reader experience twisted darkness... why is a little girl boarded up in her room and her parents not want to see her
The Galloway Lake, has just enough spook in it to make you leave a night light on

Well written and a great glimpse into the writer and her imagination.

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Review: Imagine Believe Become : Unlock Your Potential and create the Life You Desire By: Sullins Stuart, M.A.

Imagine Believe Become: Unlock Your Potential and Create the Life You DesireImagine Believe Become: Unlock Your Potential and Create the Life You Desire by Sullins Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

********** This is First Reads**** Thank You Goodreads *****

Although this book might be under 100 pages, what it contains is infinite.

Sullins Stuart begins with informing the reader that our DNA is 99% identical to each other - this is profound to think that you are 99% identical to Buddha, Edison, DaVinci and others that inspire you.
Mr. Stuart also gives the Imagine, Believe, Become formula. He gives details and examples that help you with your everyday quest. This is not simply a book to go through once, but one to keep by your beside and go through every evening and morning to keep reiterating into your subconscious or into your daily habits.
You are the creator of your world, what will you imagine? Can you believe - without doubt? Will you take action? The power of attraction and determination, and the laws of the universe. Let the author guide you.

And on another note - a portion of this books proceeds go to Make-A-Wish Foundation, making dreams of others come true, how wonderfully profound is that!

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Review: A Christmas Story: Behind The Scenes of a Holiday Classic By: Caseen Gaines

A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday ClassicA Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic by Caseen Gaines
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have ever been caught unawares and triple dog dared, or tongue-tied at the awe of the big man (you know - Santa)...
The pure genius of A Christmas Story and the wonderful telling of Jean Shepard has lasted over the years. This is the fan's book. The book written by a fan for the fan.
Mr. Gaines celebrates Shepherd's history and storytelling abilities, embraces Bob Clark's vision and desire for this film, and takes us behind the scene with interviews with casts, workers, and fans alike.
From Brian Jones who bought the Christmas Story House on ebay to Peter Billingsley backing A Christmas Story Musical - no stone is left unturned. Read about how wonderful fans are as they reach out to each other, like Jones (see above) and Tyler and Jodie Swartz as they search for artifacts of the movie before they are destroyed or lost forever.
Hollywood hasn't always been kind to the child stars and even as they speak candidly with the author you can hear the bitter pill being swallowed by some, but all seemingly have positive things to embrace about their experience making this film.
This is the perfect gift, better than a can of simoniz!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Death is but a Dream By: Erin Hayes

Death is but a DreamDeath is but a Dream by Erin Hayes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

******* This is a First Reads **** Thank You Goodreads***

Callista Saunders made a rash decision jumping in front of a bus rescuing a little girl from certain death, but that is what has got her in the predicament she finds herself in now working in the Underworld. Stuck between worlds working for Hades using her police detective skills to be a bodyguard to Plutus and find out just who is trying to kill Hades' son as her body lays in a comatose state.
With every other suspect being a god this isn't going to be easy and the fact that Plutus is the god of wealth and therefore is blind definitely ups the ante. Shadow Assassins and demons come attacking and although Callie might think she has a handle on this, there is one thing that she might not have counted on and that was being closer to the one she was to be protecting.
When the true enemy is revealed (and I will not tell you), there is an amazing race, battles within realms and excitement.

I could not put this book down. Do you like action, adventure, paranormal, mythology, anything to escape within the pages of for an afternoon - this is a can't miss. The characters are intricate, plot thought out and developed. This is so well written, I know I will be seeing this author in the years to come.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS By: Rebecca Eaton

Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBSMaking Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS by Rebecca Eaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

************** This is a First Reads ***** Thank You GoodReads ****

A memoir of Rebecca Eaton, the woman behind the last 25 years of Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! has written her story. A brief introduction of her early life and the roads that led her on the path to WGBH and PBS.
I was really impressed by this memoir simply by the way it was written - uncensored, as if I had sat down to tea with a friend who was telling me stories. Although those stories involved some very personal pains of being a career woman and miscarriages and some laugh out loud moments involving Vincent Price's other half Coral Browne. Ms. Eaton did not skim over the moments that she made some decisions that she wish she could taken back, or those that she second guessed, or the ones ones that she went full force with her gut.
With all the knowledge, the people, the experience, the awards behind the woman that makes up Rebecca Eaton, there is a driven, humble, second guessing, funny, personable, smart, amazing person that comes out of the book and befriends the reader.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Flash and Dazzle By: Lou Aronica

Flash and DazzleFlash and Dazzle by Lou Aronica
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*********This is a First Reads ******* Thank You Goodreads ********

This book is going to stay with you long after you have out it down and you are going to wonder how is it that you never heard of it or the author before this?!
This is the story of Rich Flaster and Eric Dazman, their association as work partners and deep friendship. The book is told from Flash's perspective and gives a fresh look into male bonds of friendship. Meeting Daz in college and clicking, they partner up to do campaigns around campus, find themselves inseparable, and in their twenties in New York's advertising world.
When a crisis happens and you have to take a look around, who is it that you see and what is it that you see? This is that story. The story of the depth of friendship and love that two friends have that spans years of their lives. The author does not give the reader a saccharine version, but rather one the reads true and as real as if it had jumped off the page.
I really enjoyed the characters, I found myself laughing and crying (sometimes at the same time), the writing style is fresh and honest, and the way I felt as I was reading and after I put down the book. There is a message here, will you listen to it?

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