Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Maybe in Paris by Rebecca Christiansen


Keira Braidwood lands in Paris with her autistic brother, Levi, and high hopes. Levi has just survived a suicide attempt and months in the psych ward—he’s ready for a dose of the wider world. Unlike their helicopter mom and the doctors who hover over Levi, Keira doesn’t think Levi’s certifiable. He’s just . . . quirky. Always has been.

Those quirks quickly begin to spoil the trip. Keira wants to traipse all over Europe; Levi barely wants to leave their grubby hotel room. She wants to dine on the world’s cuisine; he only wants fast food. Levi is one giant temper tantrum, and Keira’s ready to pull out her own hair.

She finally finds the adventure she craves in Gable, a hot Scottish bass player, but while Keira flirts in the Paris Catacombs, Levi’s mental health breaks. He disappears from their hotel room and Keira realizes, too late, that her brother is sicker than she was willing to believe. To bring him home safe, Keira must tear down the wall that Levi’s sickness and her own guilt have built between them.

My Thoughts

I honestly don't have much to say about this book.  To be completely real with you, I didn't even get all the way through it.  I read about half of it and skimmed the rest.  In case you haven't figured it out yet, I did not like this book.

Maybe in Paris was such a disappointment to me!  I had such high hopes.  The back sounds pretty good.  However, within the first little bit of the book you find issue after issue... Not good.

Kiera is probably one of my least favorite book characters ever.  She seems selfish, clueless, and boy crazy.  All of the french boys are jerks.  There were just so many problems in this book!

I thought that I may be wrong.  Maybe, just maybe, I was alone in feeling this way about this book.  So, I looked at some other reviews.  I am not alone!  Not at all!

I absolutely HATE writing a bad review on a book!  I cringe with every word I type!  But, this is unavoidable.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing by Cherie Kephart


Cherie Kephart, a young woman who longed for adventure, traveled the world from the remote villages of Central Africa to the majestic coastlines of New Zealand until a mysterious illness thrust her to the precipice of death. The persistent health challenges led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms time and again were undiagnosed by well-meaning medical doctors and healers who were sometimes competent, sometimes careless, sometimes absurd, and always baffled. The anguish, the uncertainty, and the relentless pain would have caused many people to simply give up and end their lives—and Cherie came close. Told with brutal honesty, astonishing wit, and a haunting vulnerability, A Few Minor Adjustments is an unforgettable memoir that will move you with its fiercely inspirational account of one woman’s incredible journey to find life-saving answers. In the end, she finds much more than a diagnosis.

My Thoughts

I love memoirs.  I think I've said it before, but I enjoy having a glimpse into real people's lives.  A Few Minor Adjustments lets you see into a difficult time in Cherie Kephart's life.  That is something that I really appreciate.

This book not only focuses on the struggles and hard times that Cherie went through, but it helps you to see that you can get through it.  You can have a positive attitude even when things aren't going your way.  Life may get hard.  It may seem impossible at times.  But, through all things, you can choose to see good.  It is a choice that we must all make.

Thank you, Cherie Kephart, for sending this book to me!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Back on the Map by Lisa Ann Scott


With their mother long dead and their father unknown, eleven-year-old Penny Porter and her twin brother Parker have been bouncing around foster homes for as long as they can remember. Inspired by the historical figures in her favorite book, Penny likes to imagine who she could be related to. Sacagawea? Her genes would be good ones to have. Or maybe Ghandi, or Harriet Tubman. There are endless possibilities!

But while Penny embraces the question marks in her family tree, she and Porter are both ready for a real home. Living with their aging, ornery Grauntie isn’t easy, but it’s better than other places they’ve been, and they don’t want to get moved again—or worse, split up. Penny believes the key to keeping them from being bounced to another new home is getting their town of New Hope, North Carolina back on the state map. And what better way to do that than to spruce up and sell New Hope’s Finest—an old orphanage that was supposed to reopen years ago as the best attraction ever, but never did.

She’s got the creativity and the gumption to do it. And maybe knowing who you are doesn’t matter so much as knowing what you can do. But will that be enough to finally keep her and Parker in one place for good?

My Thoughts

I loved this book!  Although it is basically a middle grade book, and I'm clearly not a middle grader...  I still really enjoyed it!

I saw in some other reviews that people didn't really like the little touches of "magic" or whatever gifts the children had, but I loved that about them!  I do have to say that there weren't many negative things in any of the reviews!  That speaks volumes for how good this book is.

I found myself wanting to know the children, especially Penny!  I hate the thought of children who feel unwanted.  The way, in the beginning of the book, Penny kept waiting to be told they had to move away again, thinking she would get home and her things would be packed up... it broke my heart!

Penny's imagination, determination, and hope made me smile and keep on tuning the pages!  I definitely recommend this book.  As a matter of fact, I already passed it to my daughter to read and there's someone lined up to read it next!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weather by Kelly Cherry


Poetry. From the beginning of her career, Cherry has written both formal verse and free verse. According to the citation preceding her receipt of the James G. Hanes Poetry Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 1989, "Her poetry is marked by a firm intellectual passion, a reverent desire to possess the genuine thought of our century, historical, philosophical, and scientific, and a species of powerful ironic wit which is allied to rare good humor." Reviewing Relativity, Patricia Goedicke noted in Three Rivers Poetry Journal that "her familiarity with the demands and pressures of traditional patterns has an expansion and deepening of her poetic resources, a carefully textured over- and underlay of image, meaning and diction." Mark Harris felt that Cherry's "ability to sustain a narrative by clustering and repeating images [lends] itself to longer forms, and 'A Bird's Eye View of Einstein, ' the longest poem in [Relativity], is an example of Cherry at her poetic best. Reviewing Cherry's collection, Death and Transfiguration, Patricia Gabilondo wrote in The Anglican Theological Review that "the abstract prose poem 'Requiem' that closes this book...translates personal loss into the historical and universal, providing an occasion for philosophical meditation on the mystery of suffering and the need for transcendence in a post-Holocaust world that seems to offer none. Moving through the terrors of nihilism and doubt, Cherry, in a poem that deftly alternates between the philosophically abstract and the image's graphic force, gives us an intellectually honest and deeply moving vision of our relation to each other's suffering and of God's relation to humanity's 'memory of pain'." 

"What sets her biography apart from prose ones? Well, she's a brilliant poet: she knows how to use her craft to say something in a more richly condensed way than prose can do." --Peggy Rosenthal 

"As a poetic biography, Kelly Cherry's Quartet For J. Robert Oppenheimer is a stunning tribute to one of America's most significant scientists. As Cherry traces the life of Oppenheimer, she compels us to consider not only our condition as human beings but our responsibility to each other and our world. Cherry's work is a remarkable achievement." --Sonja James

My Thoughts

Weather is a short book of poems.  All are weather or season related.  I don't typically read a lot of poetry.  It's not that I don't appreciate poetry, I do!  It's just that poetry isn't my first choice genre.

As with most books of poems, there are some that I like and some that I don't really like.  None of them really stood out to me as especially great.  Likewise, there weren't any that I hated either.

If you are someone who loves poetry, this may just be the book for you.  If poetry isn't really your thing, I'd pick up a different book if I were you.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Chasing Gravity by Tempeste Blake


Tish Duchene wonders if she’ll ever be able to live a normal life after what happened in Iraq. She’s left the army behind, but the horror is indelibly etched in her mind. And just when she’s ready to find a nice corner to curl up in and lick her wounds, her mother, a pharmaceutical executive, goes missing. Tish would be more comfortable with a solo mission, but she needs the expertise of a certain private investigator, Dylan Tierny, a man who infuriates her from the get-go.
Dylan has fought his share of demons, so what’s a few more? But falling in love is the last thing on his agenda as he battles the dark side of a drug company deep in a cover up. Pile on chaos in his personal life and it’s enough to drive him back to the vice that nearly cost him everything and everyone he cared about. 
Tish and Dylan traverse a bridge of uncertainty, redefining with every step what it is they can’t live without. 
Who they can’t live without.
Before it’s too late.

My Thoughts

I love getting review requests from an author that I have reviewed before.  Well, I love getting them from authors that I have reviewed before AND was able to give a good review!  So, when I was contacted about reviewing this book, I was really excited!

Once again, Tempeste Blake did not disappoint.  In the sequel to Chasing Symmetry, Chasing Gravity had a great mx of mystery, suspense, and romance.  I think I may have liked it better than the first book!

Chasing Gravity flows nicely and doesn't have a ton of slow spots.  It keeps a nice tempo throughout the entire book.  The way the chapters jump in time from chapter to chapter can sometimes be frustrating.  However, this book is written in a way that doesn't feel confusing.

Again, well done!  Thank you for sending this book my way!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Shattered Roses by E L Parfitt


A book for all Beauty and the Beast fans! A contemporary retelling viewed through the eyes of a teenager. Sixteen year old Megan wants to be a doctor. When Megan volunteers at a residential home she meets Lady. Lady tells a fragmented and confusing story of a duke who never aged; his fate tied to the roses that grew in his garden. As Megan hears more of Lady’s tale she is intrigued to know whether the duke existed or if he is a figment of Lady’s imagination. As Megan embarks on unravelling the mystery of the beast a hidden family secret emerges... will it shatter her life forever?

My Thoughts

I love fairytale retellings so when I received this review request I was incredibly happy.  I have read several retellings and really enjoyed most of them.  This one had my hoped pretty high!

While I wouldn't say that this one is my favorite, it did turn out to be pretty good.  It is a short book so it didn't take long to finish at all.  The fun factor doesn't hurt either so that makes it a quicker read.

There is an unexpected plot twist towards the end which makes it an even more interesting read.  There is mystery and a bit of romance that keep you intrigued and wanting to keep those pages turning.  Not a bad book at all!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Southwest on the A303 by Adam Gary


Arguably one of England's most cherished and notorious roads, the A303 is filled with history, wonder, and magic. Adam takes us on a journey of adventure, self discovery, and touching family bonds in this moving coming of age tale.

Alex is a young man in his early twenties who has fallen into a miserable state of mind, losing his motivation and love for life. When he receives the heartbreaking news that his beloved uncle has passed away, leaving Alex with all of his belongings - including his renowned VW Campervan - he sets out to Cornwall for the funeral, rediscovering his love for life along the way.

Readers feeling like they've lost the spark of life will immediately relate to Adam's tale, and find inspiration to go out and seek adventure wherever possible.

Southwest on the A303 is Adam Gary's debut novella.

My Thoughts

I absolutely hate it when I can't give a book a wonderful review!  It makes me so sad!  I fully realize that the author more than likely put their heart and soul into their book.  I imagine that it takes a lot of hard work and time to write a book.  However, I promised a true and honest review so that is what I will do.

I didn't really care for this book.  It was simply ok.  Not exactly horrible, just not really good. and trust me, I really wanted this to be a great book!  The description sounded wonderful and I was excited to read it.  Unfortunately, it fell a bit flat for me.

Too much of this book felt unrealistic.  There weren't enough things that made the book feel like it could be an actual situation.  Also, the writing felt, well, pushed.  Like the author was trying too hard or something.

I'm so sad!  I hate writing a negative review but, unfortunately, that is what I have to write.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.