Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat

Book: Spirit of Lost Angels

Author: Liza Perrat

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Victoire Charpentier, a young, innocent peasant girl, learns the differences in the class system in 1700's France when tragedy strikes and her father is killed by a nobleman's coach. Years later, her midwife/abortionist mother is killed for witchcraft.  Before her death, her mother gives Victoire a beautiful angel talisman necklace. Destitute, this forces Victoire into a life of servitude and unspeakable abuses from her noble employer. Leaving her with a hatred for nobility, Victoire joins the French Revolution to exact her revenge. How will a meetings and subsequent friendships with  the great Monseur Thomas Jefferson and author Mary Wallstone, add to her feelings? Can things always be so black and white or is forgiveness possible even in times of revolution?

My rating: My goodness, 5 STARS!

My opinion: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when a book sucks me in and is so engrossing that I get ticked when I have to put it down. That was Ms. Perrat's debut novel SPIRIT OF ANGELS. First, I was enthralled with the innocence of Victoire and felt her pain when tragedy struck her and her family. Ms. Perrat continues this excellence in the descriptiveness of the French countryside and the "entertainment" preferences for the French nobility. As a reader, it made me feel as though I was being written into the pages of the book. I simply love when that happens.

I always say to people that those who refuse to read indie published books lose out on dynamic novels and this book is definitely an example of why I feel that way. I would not be surprised if this is a book I find in the collection of a large publishing house in the future.

Source:   Author for Review    

Would I recommend? : Most definitely. Not only that, I can't wait to read more from this dynamic author if this is an example of a debut.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone


A Killer in the Wind by Andrew Klavan

Book: A Killer in the Wind

Author: Andrew Klavan

Release date (if applicable): January 8, 2013

Synopsis: Dan Champion, former vice cop for the NYPD, is still scarred after uncovering a sex slave ring run by a woman known as Fat Woman. Resorting to a life of drugs producing hallucinations, Champion tries to live a quieter life as a small town detective.

The past is coming to haunt him again when the body of a young woman washes ashore in the town he works for. As Champion uncovers the past of the woman, his past is coming to haunt him. How deep does this past go and is Champion more involved in this than simply being a detective trying to uncover the death of this young woman?

My rating: 4.5 Stars

My opinion: Holy cow, Batman...this book rocked. It was a slower read to me because the author had intricately woven hallucinations/the past and the present MASTERFULLY.

I found this book somewhat reminiscent of one of my favorite Val McDermid books, A PLACE OF EXECUTION, in its' shocking twists and deep, deep character development.

I became familiar with this author through his appearances on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld and his posts on NEVER did I think his talent to write would have been this deep, this intense that would leave me mouth opened at the end!

Bravo, Mr. Klavan, Bravo!! I can't wait to read more by you!

Source:  Netgalley for publisher      

Would I recommend? : Heck yeah!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone, but really, really hope that Mr. Klavan makes this a series.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Spoonful by Chris Mendius

Book: Spoonful

Author: Chris Mendius

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Michael Lair, an addict who doesn't know the meaning of an honest day's work, is always looking for the next petty crime to commit just to survive. The cast of characters he surrounds himself with don't exactly lend themselves to leading a boy scout life either. From the artist by day, stripper by night to his heroin partner who seeks out the petty crimes for Michael to partake in.

When Michael decides he wants to be on the selling side of the drug world and finds two Northwestern students naive to go into selling cocaine with him. As he starts to be successful, he decides to play the stockmarket. Could he be turning over a new leaf or is the worse yet to come?

My rating: 2 Stars

My opinion: I could never quite warm up to this novel. Although the writing in the book was wonderful, I just really didn't enjoy the storyline nor ANY of the characters. Although, the storyline was pretty dark, I did enjoy the dark, sarcastic humor that went along with Michael's world.  I do have to admit that as a former addictions counselor, Mendius NAILED the scene. So, it is a relatively realistic read as to the "culture".

I think another issue that I had with this book is that the addictions world seems to be the "in topic" this year. I have read/reviewed roughly a dozen novels which surrounds this gritty world in this year alone. It is just my feeling that he didn't quite separate it from the multitudes of other books written on the same topic.

If you are offended by gratuitous language, sexual scenes or drug use, Spoonful IS NOT for you. As the culture itself, the book is laden with all 3 things.

Source: Publisher for Review       

Would I recommend? : Not unless someone specifically likes that genre.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Guestlist by Jay Fingers

Book: Guestlist

Author: Jay Fingers

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Juliet Feliz is bored with her life decides to pack up her life and move to New York City. She finds herself repeating the same patterns of clubbing and all that it entails, some which can be considered quite dangerous, until she meets a club promoter by the name of Napoleon Fey.

Napoleon introduces Juliet to a much more exquisite level of clubs which are much more exclusive and rich. With that introduction comes a love "square" between Juliet, Napoleon, Ava (who has a crush on Napoleon) and Marcel Swann (who has it in for Ava). Can't forget the other cast of characters who add into this wild ride.

Is the clubbing life as beautiful as the people who play in it or is it just as ugly as some of the things those beautiful people do?

My rating: 4 Stars ETA (11/20/12) 4.5 Stars

My opinion: I have to admit that I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. Due to its' subject matter, I thought I would focus on the writing styles of the author for my review, but found myself very quickly drawn into the story. The author's debut novel is fast paced and full of drama (in a positive sense) that really makes the story fly by. I think there are young adults who enjoy the clubbing lifestyle that will really get sucked into the storyline.

On a side note, I must state that offensive language both swear word based and racially based really fly in this book. If you are offended by this type of language, I wouldn't recommend you read this book. It is imperative, to the storyline, that it be included in this book. Even with knowing that, there were moments that I know that even I had some difficulties.

ETA (11/20/12) It is very rare that I go back and change my review once it is written, but with Guestlist, I found myself continuously thinking about this book long after I finished it. Guestlist is one of those books that if read superficially or skimmed, I think the reader will miss the depths of this book. In my opinion,  like an onion with layers, it is imperative that the reader read beneath the surface and get down to the core of this novel. As I reflected on the path of the story, I saw the psychological aspects of a group of "beautiful" individuals who, beneath the surface, weren't so beautiful and how their environment gave permission to act in a destructive manner both as individuals and as a group. Do I think that this was the author's intentions? I can't say. I can only tell the reader of this review that as I reflected on this book, this was my takeaway.  

Source: Author for Review       

Would I recommend? : Yes, to the right audience. Maybe those in the later young adult genre due to the topic and language. I think those readers who aren't easily offended by language would find this book enjoyable as well.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

The Mystery at Marlatt Manor by Anne Loader McGee

Book: The Mystery at Marlatt Manor

Author: Anne Loader McGee

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Mallory Gilmartin is forced to move to Cedar Creek, VA. When she is biking one night and notices a light on in a deserted and allegedly haunted mansion. Then she starts to have nightmares. She decides to investigate. The more she investigates, she wonders if it is connected to the disappearance of a young girl, Violet Marlatt, from the estate 50 years earlier. Someone doesn't want Mallory to solve this mystery though!

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: What a wonderful, clean read this was targeted toward late grade schoolers and middle school readers. A goodreads reader called it a modern day Nancy Drew and I would agree. Simply refreshing compared to the Werewolf love stories currently targeted towards this audience. I loved that, although the book is creepy, it doesn't go overboard, especially with who this book is targeted towards.  To boot, the writing was excellent using simple enough words that a preteen wouldn't be too challenged.

Source:   Loaned from Amazon     

Would I recommend? : An excellent gift for the target audience above.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: It is a stand alone, but I easily could see this become a series.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dragontamer's Daughters, Part 1: Pearl by Kenton Kilgore

Book: Dragontamer's Daughters, Part 1: Pearl

Author: Kenton Kilgore

Release date (if applicable):

Synopsis: Living in an alternative Earth, Isabelle and her sister, Alijandra, face upheaval in their lives when their father, a respected dragontamer, becomes an outlaw. The girls and their mother must go on the run to save themselves. While on the run, the girls come across a very sick dragon who they begin to heal. What mystical powers does this dragon have and why has she come to an area not associated with dragons?

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: What a wonderfully CLEAN read this book was! This book would a fantastic introduction to the world of fantasy or dystopian literature for the young reader. I found the novel to be fast paced with likable characters that a pre-teen or early teen could identify with. The author did a dynamic job in really writing this as a light fantasy novel without the characters or the setting being too crazy, which could turn off new readers. 

Source:  Author for review      

Would I recommend? : Most definitely for a late grade school, middle school readers

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Part of series



The Hiding Place by David Bell

Book: The Hiding Place

Author: David Bell

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Janet Manning's brother, Justin, disappeared 25 years ago when he was 4 years old. His little body was found and destroyed the family. The man convicted of little Justin's death has claimed his innocence all along. Is he just another convicted criminal just proclaiming his innocence? Is the true killer of Justin closer to the Manning family than they ever figured and, if this is the case, will it be the final nail in the coffin of the Manning family?

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: An excellent novel with twists and concise writing which helped the story difficult to put down. I must admit that I had figured out the ending, but not all aspects to the story. I had the opportunity to read this story right after reading the author's novel Cemetery Girl. Mr. Bell hit a home run with this book.

Source: Library       

Would I recommend? : Most definitely

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone



Every House is Haunted by Ian Rogers

Book: Every House is Haunted

Author: Ian Rogers

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: A collection of 20 short stories that explores the depths between our world and that of the supernatural.

My rating: 3 Stars

My opinion: Although, Rogers clearly demonstrates that he is a master of the short story in his development and layout, the stories left me kind of cold. I expected the stories to be much more creepier than what they truly were. They were much more psychologically creepy in nature. I was expecting stories which were much more focused on haunted houses and I didn't feel that they were.

Source:  Netgalley for Publisher      

Would I recommend? : For those who like psychological thrillers

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone



The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider

Book: The Cat Whisperer

Author: Mieshelle Nagelschneider

Release date (if applicable): March 5, 2013

Synopsis: Ms. Nagelschneider discusses behavioral issues, related to instincts, which cause unwanted behaviors in our cats and corrective actions to make them lovable to us again. Written as the premise that you can't train a cat like you would a dog, she helps cat owners to develop treatment plans focused on behavior modification which promotes more positive actions from our cats.

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: Can I give this book more than 5 Stars? I really feel that this book should be required reading for anyone wanting to purchase or adopt a new kitty. Ms. Nagelschneider lays out breed history, as well as instinctual causes, which lay behind unwanted cat behaviors, as well as give owners great insight as to how cats differ from the ever popular dog. Furthermore, she, in very concise writing, lays out treatment plans for the unwanted behavioral issues which force cat owners give up their feline friends to shelters at an alarming rate per year. Your kitty can not be trained like a dog and their differences should be respected.

Source: Netgalley for publisher    

Would I recommend? : For cat owners or those looking to adopt or purchase a cat.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food by Denise Linn and Meadow Linn

Book: The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food

Author: Denise Linn & Meadow Linn

Release date (if applicable): November 26, 2012

Synopsis: I wracked my brain about how to describe this cookbook. Not coming up with anything that I think described it fully, I decided to use the description given on Goodreads.
    Provocative and insightful, this eclectic, inspiring, and beautiful book will open your eyes to the remarkable link between nourishment and spiritual awakening. Filled with ancient wisdom, practical advice, personal anecdotes, vibrant ceremonies, and original dishes lavishly illustrated with color photographs, The Mystic Cookbook brings to life a wealth of recipes and a myriad of experiences from places as far-reaching as Mexico, Italy, Vietnam, France, North Africa, and India—as well as from mystical, legendary, and mythic realms. 
You’ll also discover how to increase the vibration of the food you eat to heighten conscious awareness; use food to open your chakras; trigger past-life memories with aroma; invite fairies and angels for dinner; travel through time and space from the comfort of your dining table; create feasts to activate abundance, success, and love . . . plus much more! In Denise Linn and Meadow Linn’s extraordinary book, learn little-known secrets about the food you eat and how it can mystically transform your life!

My rating: 3 stars

My opinion: Several things struck me about this cookbook. First, this book is new age/metaphysical. If this isn't your cup of tea, you will have issues with the concepts in this cookbook. There are a large number of concepts such as food rituals and developing a relationship with your food sources. There were definitely parts of this book that I think took the concepts too far. Second, The pictures in the book were beautiful, but there were WAY too many of them. This was a 312 page cookbook and I would bet that almost a half of those pages were of pictures. What I did like about this is that each recipe was accompanied by a picture of the completed dish. Finally, In a 312 page COOKBOOK, there were only 47 recipes. That barely makes a cookbook. Now, every single recipe looked delicious, and were unique but I don't think that constitues a cookbook.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher       

Would I recommend? : To a very select audience. Others, take a look at the book at a bookstore or library before purchasing.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

San Miguel by T.C. Boyle

Book: San Miguel

Author: T.C. Boyle

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: San Miguel chronicles the lives of 2 families who come to the island (off the coast of California) from their struggles, their failures and their triumphs while living on a very unforgiving island.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: San Miguel is a prime example of why I love being a book reviewer. I have been introduced to so many wonderful new authors that had I not been a reviewer, I would more than likely never have come across. Although, TJ Boyle is a famous author, my guess is that he is probably is that he would have stayed unknown to me had it wasn't offered on Netgalley.

San Miguel is told with such vivid imagery, from the scenery of the island to the characters, I couldn't "turn" away. Once I was able to finally get the book started, I couldn't put it down. The story flowed extremely well, maintained a tension that kept me on edge and paced incredibly well. Although, two of the author's books have been made into movies, this is one I could very easily see turned into a movie.

Source: Netgalley       

Would I recommend? : Yeah, boy!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone


The Ordinary Truth: A Novel by Jana Richman

Book: The Ordinary Truth: A Novel

Author: Jana Richman

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: The Jorgensen family, ranchers in water-shortaged Nevada, is torn apart by decades of family dysfunction and secrets. Granddaughter, Cassie,can no longer stand it and is determined to bring her mother, Kate, and her grandmother, Nell, the epitome of a tough rancher woman, back together and healed. What secrets does the death of Kate's father whom Kate idolized have to do with the family dysfunction? Are some secrets left buried forever?

My rating: 3.5 Stars

My opinion: To be honest with the reader of this review, it took me forever to finish this book. I couldn't help but have the feeling that "been there done that" and that the storyline of the dysfunctional family and family secrets has been done in every setting known to mankind and here was just one more in my humble opinion. I think I was expecting some more twists. As things were popping up, I didn't have a "Whoa" moment..which is never good for me.

On that note, I did find I was able to connect with the characters and the writing of the book was impeccable. Thus...the 3.5 stars, which will be rounded to 4 stars only for the purpose of Goodreads and Amazon.

Source: Publisher for Review    

Would I recommend? : Yes, there is an audience who enjoys this type of novel.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

Book: Last to Die (Rizzoli and Isles #10)

Author: Tess Gerritsen

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles are back again. This time to solve the massacre of several people, including a young child who should not be victims of such vicious crimes. At the core of the killings are two teenagers, who have both lost not only their parents to murder, but their foster families as well. What is it about these children past and who is targeting them? What does it have to do with The Mephisto Club?

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: Let me preface this review by stating that I have read every book in this series, some several times. On that note, I must also state that Dr. Gerritsen is probably one of the most character and storyline driven author I have ever had the pleasure of reading. What I mean by this is that this is not a series that one can pick up a single book and have an excellent understanding of how incidents in the story reflect back to other novels and follow the overall R&I story. Another point I will make is that if watchers of the TNT series think that the books follow the TV series, they don't! This series, particularly the earlier novels, can be quiet graphic without the "silliness" portrayed by the TV characters.

Now, this is not my favorite of the R&I series, but not my least favorite either. This book had much more of a psychological aspect to it and went much deeper into the Rizzoli family history and dramatics than her books before. Still with Dr. Gerritsen's high quality writing, this was a pleasurable read.

Source: Netgalley for Random House       

Would I recommend? : Of course, I regularly recommend this series.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: #10 in series


Cracks in the Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby

Book: Cracks in the Sidewalk

Author: Bette Lee Crosby

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Claire and Charlie McDermott's daughter, Elizabeth Caruthers, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and requires long hospitalizations and continued care at her parents home. Once her illness is concerned, her narcisstic husband, JT, who runs a high end woman's apparrel shop and thinks that is his destiny, deserts his wife and decides after Liz with her parents after they will no longer give him money to support his fail to continue to be his piggy bank to keep the business. The McDermott's only option is to take JT to court to demand visitation of the children which in his violative personality, doesn't take it well. After Liz wins visitation, an angry JT refuses to comply and makes a drastic decision.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: This book has the hallmark high quality writing of Bette Lee Crosby. Her characters are consistently written in a vivid manner as though the reader is following them through a looking glass to the inner sanctum of their lives and her stories are incredibly fast pased. To a point, Cracks in the Sidewalk was no different. However, I felt like I couldn't really get "close" to any of these characters, as I have been able to do with the better chunk of Bette's books. It seemed just from the theme of the story, it was one crisis after another, as a result of the storyline, which really made it difficult to "attach" to any of the characters. One must remember that this book is on several gut wrenching topics wrapped into one story. Now, does that mean that this book garnered less than 4 way! This book was a solid 4 where, in my ratings, several of Bette's books garnered slightly higher ratings from me.

I am very happy that I read it. Now, Bette compares this book to the writing of Jodi Picoult, but Bette consistently produces books that could run circles around the writing of Jodi Picoult, who produces, in my humble opinion, a much more commercial style book. One can NEVER say that about a Bette Lee Crosby novel!

Source: Author for Review       

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Unforgettable Fall Recipes with Coffee: A Seasonal Collection of Gourmet Recipes for Coffee Cakes, Sweets and Warming Drinks by Billy Taylor

Book: Unforgettable Fall Recipes with Coffee: A Seasonal Collection of Gourmet Recipes for Coffee Cakes, Sweets and Warming Drinks

Author: Billy Taylor

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: A dynamic collection of a nice variety of recipes made with coffee from cakes to coffee drinks. Recipes includes wonders such as Drunken Espresso Cheesecake; Coffee Cake of the Gods; The Humble Apple Pie with a Caffeine Kicker; The Absolute Classic Italian Tiramisu; Orange Coffee Bourbon Liqueur!

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: I loved this cookbook. I downloaded it for free off Amazon, but knowing what is inside, I would have purchased this book in a heartbeat. This book was laid out well with the recipes easy to follow and with higher quality recipes. Some of which I believe are restaurant quality.

Source: Amazon     

Would I recommend? : Heck yes! Especially if you are a coffee fanatic such as myself!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Special Note: Still have questions about this book? Check out my test of  The Tipsy Monk on The Pub and Grub Forum!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Book: Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales

Author: Yoko Ogawa

Release date (if applicable): January, 2013

Synopsis: Eleven psychological creepy short stories which are interwoven within each of the story lines.

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: I have always loved Japanese horror films and have found them to go beyond the realm of the human psyche in playing with one's mind. I have been finding in my expansion into Japanese mystery and horror literature. It is always very different and has a unique pulse to it.

On that note, Revenge was no different. The stories were so twisted in their premise that they held a life of their own. There also seemed to be an eerieness to it that simmered underneath the surface. I also loved how each story had an aspect to it that fed into the next story.

On a final note, I am normally incredibly tough on short story authors. I can count on one hand the number of reviews I have written in which the piece has received higher than three stars from me. In my opinion, short stories are much more difficult to write due to a demand for conciseness yet developing of characters which most authors fail at. I am always in for a special treat when I find an author who can do it and Ms. Ogawa is one of those authors.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher       

Would I recommend? : Yes!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Brambleman by Jonathan Grant

Book: Brambleman

Author: Jonathan Grant

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Charlie Winter, a down and out writer in Atlanta, is brought in to finish a manuscript of the dead author by his quirky widow. Thing is the children are just as quirky as her and don't want Charlie involved. The manuscript Charlie is asked to finish is of a HORRIFIC racially motivated crime involving a land grab from the early 1900's. The land is now for sale and will garner the recipient a cool 20 million dollars. Charlie wants justice for the earlier crime and others want to make sure Charlie is unable to carry through with that justice. Just what will some people do to make sure their greed isn't played with?

My rating: 1 Star

My opinion: Although, I generally liked this storyline...really liked this storyline, I found that the book was too long. Now, not that I don't regularly read 500+ page books, but normally the story flows. I found that parts of this book was almost written as "fluff" to expand the book and didn't bring any meaning to the storyline.

This book deals with some pretty horrific events frequently in a graphic manner. But there was something that was electrifying to this book. 

Had there not of been the feeling that the book was just written with "extended" scenes, it easily would have been a 4 to 4.5 star read for me.

ETA (11/08/2012) ETA (11/08/2012) I had originally given this book a higher rating UNTIL I received the most unprofessional,snarky, condescending email from the author regarding my review. BTW..Mr. Grant, a rating which includes a .5 increment can either be rounded higher OR lower...Your book DID NOT garner, in my humble opinion, the higher rating! I was very nice in my review to state that GR friends of mine had bumped it up.
As to your comments re: number of pages...even Goodreads AND my nook place this book close to 500 pages. If it isn't that is even worse for you and the book drags more for lesser pages!

Source:  Netgalley for Publisher      

Would I recommend? : Nope, not anymore!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Barcelona Heiress: A Novel by Sergio Vila-Sanjuan

Book: A Barcelona Heiress: A Novel

Author: Sergio Vila-Sanjuan

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: In 1920's Spain, which is on the cusp of Civil War, the living differences between the rich and the poor are glaring and those with their own agendas are manipulating the system. Simmering beneath the surface is someone murdering individuals whom have been found innocent of their crimes by the courts.

Narrated from the perspective of Pablo Vilar, an attorney and journalist, who is always being manipulated from the interest groups wanting their own stories told, and loves an heiress, who seems to be able to mix with all these groups flawlessly. Is the heiress all she seems to be or is there something much deeper under the surface.

My rating: 2.5 Stars

My opinion: Although the premise of the story was interesting to me and the description of the setting was superb, I couldn't connect to any of the characters and found them to be written very one dimensionally.  As a result, this book simply fell flat to me. I wish the author would have put as much effort into character development as he did into developing and describing his setting. I think had he done that, this would have been a 4 star read for me.

Source:  Netgalley for Open Road Media

Would I recommend? : No

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone


Monday, November 5, 2012

A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House by Mark Spencer

Book: A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House

Author: Mark Spencer

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: When the Spencers moved into the Allen House, they knew the house was haunted. Everyone told them that. What they didn't know was the heartbreaking love story that led to drastic actions.

My rating: 3.5 Stars

My opinion: I love the show A Haunting on Destination America, so imagine my surprise when last Friday (November 2, 2012) I am watching the story regarding THE ALLEN HOUSE and it shows the the owner's book on the subject. I did a double take and said "HEY...I HAVE THAT BOOK!" I had downloaded it several months ago and due to my constant backlog in books, was simply forgotten.  Well, needless to say, I started reading the 200 page book immediately.

 I love ghost stories. Love grabbing them from any source I can. This book was different though. This isn't your typical ghost story laden with creepy occurrence and malevolent spirits bent on destruction of the living. That doesn't mean that there wasn't a mystery present. Why would one of the home's original owners decide to take her own life? Did Ladell Allen lead the author, Mark Spencer, to a collection of hidden letters to solve her mystery and give her some peace?

On that note, being a love story, I expected there to be much more "emotional involvement" than there was. I found it to be a "just the facts" ma'am approach. Normally, I hate love stories, but with this one being specifically a love story, it was just very odd for it being so detached emotionally.

Source: Purchased for Kindle       

Would I recommend? : Yes, it was a really different ghost story and a nice diversion from the typical ones out there!

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone


Friday, November 2, 2012

Alive in the Storm by Sylvia Gravrock

Book: Alive in the Storm

Author: Sylvia Gravrock

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Allison Barrington, when she is ten, is brutally raped and left for dead. She is saved by her grandmother, Callie, who in her 20's after brutal abuse by her husband, got lost in the Rockies with her 2 year old son, and was saved by an angel by the name of Leo.

In order to help her granddaughter survive and thrive, Callie teaches her how to fly and feel the freedom of being in the air. When Allison, scarred from her earlier years, makes a drastic decision and takes off in a plane, while flying the engine sputters and cuts off, can Leo save her as well? Was the engine failure a mechanical error or something much more drastic by Allison to deal with her pain?

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion:  I have to say that I loved this little novel. I loved the lessons and characters of this book. Although the beginning of this story was absolutely brutal and the description of the bullying was sad, the underlying story (or what is written beneath the surface) was stunning.

On a side note, although this book was excellent, I think the price point on this book was a TAD high. I would hate to see something like that keep it out of the hands of readers because it was a WONDERFUL and REFRESHING read!

Source: Publisher for Review        

Would I recommend? : Yes, for those who like religious fiction or aren't easily offended by the use of scripture or references to God in their books. I also think that young adults would enjoy this novel and that it has an important message of survival to it.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone


Disappeared by Anthony Quinn

Book: Disappeared

Author: Anthony Quinn

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: The division of Northern Ireland and Ireland continue when Catholic detective, Celcius Daly is called in to investigate the disappearance of a special agent investigating  the disappearance of a man which could possibly be linked to a string of murders attributed to the IRA. In order to solve the disappearance and murders, Daly must reopen a painful Irish history. Who has things to hide about the IRA and will Daly survive once he brings it to the surface?

My rating: 4.5 Stars

My opinion: This book was recommended to me by another Netgalley reviewer and I am thrilled it was. Being of Irish descent, I have always been fascinated by books set in Ireland, but also of the IRA. This book fed into both of those interests of mine. To boot, it was just great writing. The story opened slowly like an oyster holding onto a pearl. The characters were as vivid as looking at a photograph with multiple layers and dimensions that a reader feels that they know them as well as a friend. Finally, the author was able to do a whopper of a twist that left me with a "WOW..didn't see that coming!" moment, which I love when books can do that!

I do agree with my buddy who recommended it. DO NOT SKIM THIS BOOK...YOU WILL MISS OUT ON IMPORTANT MOMENTS!

Source:   Netgalley for Publisher    

Would I recommend? : Yeah, Boy...I sure would

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone