Monday, December 30, 2013

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline

Come Home
This book was horrible. If I could give no stars, I would. I had to laugh at another reviewer say that they wanted to throw the book. I wanted to throw it and burn it. If I saw that the main character "say" the word, "honey" or "sweetie" one more time, I really was going to throw the book.

The other dialogue was bad, too. No one talks like the way the characters did. I almost threw up at some of the phrases the author used, like when talking about the one annoying, clueless step daughter "practically fell into [the EX stepmother's] arms." this girl was an adult, not a three year old, for crying out loud. SO dramatic.

The connection that Jill had with two EX step daughters was bizarre. I understand still having a connection, but she seemed obsessed, not to mention obtuse.

I can honestly say this is quite possibly the worst book I have ever attempted to read.

And who had the bright idea of using a kid on the cover running to someone when all three of the kids were actually a lot older?


This blog looks a little different because I had originally just posted this review on www.goodreads.com. However, I received 19 "likes" on it, so I decided to share it here. Any comments or thoughts are appreciated. :) 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Night Film by Marsha Pessl







Well, I wanted to love this book...and for a little while, I did. I thought the concept was brilliant, and then I thought the way the author used tools of immersion, such as pages that looked like real news articles was very original. 

The premise is this: Ashley Cordova, 24, commits suicide. She is the daughter Stan Cordova, a creator of night films. He is an enigma and never seen in public anymore. He is quite the mystery with legions of fans. The facts surrounding Ashley's death are hazy at best. Enter investigative journalist, Scott McGrath who once tried to tap into the dark world of Cordova and found himself ruined as a result. 

McGrath reopens his investigation on the Cordova family once Ashley's body s found. With the help of two others who encountered Ashley, they set off on a whirlwind investigation, trying to find out the real reason behind Ashley's suicide. 

The reader is then plunged into a dark netherworld of Stan Cordova's films and lifestyle, leading you to believe Ashley was a victim of her father's interests and likes. Without giving too much away, I was riveted to the book, really wanting to know what happened to Ashley. 

As it went on, though, I felt it start to drag. This is worse than a whole book dragging because I was so into it at first. I wasn't even that disappointed at the reason Ashley took her life. I was more disappointed in the very ending. I thought it was too much and over the top. 

This book took a lot of time. It is very long and while I see the originality in it, I am glad it is time for my next book. 

Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated!  Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Still Foolin' 'Em-Where I'm Going, Where I've Been and Where the Hell Are My Car Keys by Billy Crystal



You don't have to be a fan or really have to know anything about Billy Crystal or his work to enjoy this book. I really thought this was a fun book. It actually made me laugh out loud at some parts. 

What a life Mr. Crystal has had. While he is a major celebrity now, he really had to work hard to make it. Mr. Crystal lets us in on some never before known facts about his life and his journey through his work.  Personally, one of my favorite movies EVER is When Harry Met Sally... and there were stories in here that really deliver about that movie alone. He also tells stories about his childhood describing relatives that made me, at least, feel that I was actually introduced to some of them. 

And, just like I always say about celebrities, please keep in mind they are REAL people with REAL families and REAL lives. They entertain us as a JOB, not who they are. 

Also touching in the book, is Mr. Crystal's apparent love for his immediate family, especially his wife, Janice. While the book was humorous in a LOT of places, it was also very moving in others. He has an upbeat look at life at 65 and looks forward to more loving and more living.


I happened to be in New York one weekend when Billy Crystal was doing a book signing at Book Revue in Huntington, New York. So, I have a signed copy of this book. I was thrilled to meet Mr. Crystal. Unfortunately, the line was too long and we weren't allowed to take pictures WITH him, but my mom did get a good shot of him as he signed books: 


 Who doesn't love a good success story and a positive outlook? I recommend this one. Pick it up! Oh, it is nominated for a GoodReads award this year!  

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis



I received a copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for an honest review. I am a little biased when it comes to Beverly Lewis' books because her book, The Shunning was the very first Amish fiction book I read. I have been hooked ever since. Even better, I was thrilled to see characters from that book in this one.

This book is about Jenny Burns who has had a love for a simpler lifestyle ever since she can remember. She struggles because her own family can't understand her heart's desires. However, after starting a friendship with a young Amish woman, Marnie, Jenny makes up her mind to sell all her belongings and move to the heart of Lancaster County to attempt to become Amish herself. 

Jenny is welcomed into the home of Rebecca and Samuel Lapp to start her Proving time, the time in which she will learn the Amish ways. Jenny's hope is that eventually she can be baptized into the Amish church and officially join the community of Hickory Hollow. 

The problem is that just like with anything else, nothing is as easy as it seems. As one character in the book points out, no community is perfect. Jenny struggles with fitting in and finds that learning the Old Ways are harder than she anticipated. 

Jenny's journey continues to the point of where she has to make a decision. She feels that she can't live up to all that is expected of a typical Amish woman. Will she return to her old lifestyle? Will she be able to make it through her proving period?

I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen to Jenny and the family and friends she grows attached to while in Hickory Hollow. There was just one end that was left untied at the end, in my opinion and it had to do with Jenny's ex boyfriend. 

However, overall, I enjoyed this book and if you are a Beverly Lewis fan or just an Amish fiction fan, you will enjoy it, too. Thanks again to Bethany House. 






Thursday, September 19, 2013

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank



This is my second review on a Dorothea Benton Frank book. I really enjoyed the first one, Folly Beach. And, just like Folly Beach, I listened to this one on CD on my way back and forth to work. Since I liked Folly Beach so much, I was excited to listen to this one, too. 

The premise is this: Jackie, along with 10 year old son, Charlie, comes back to Sullivan's Island after her husband is tragically killed doing his job as as firefighter in New York City. This is not a spoiler-the flap of the book will tell you this. :) Jackie stays for a big chunk of the summer with her mother, Annie in her beach front house, The Salty Dog. 

Jackie's parents Annie and Buster are estranged and have been for eleven years. So, not only is Jackie back to find some peace after losing her husband, Annie and Buster have a relationship to mend as well. 

Well, enter the next door neighbor who happens to be a handsome doctor, and you can see where this is going. 

This one I didn't like as much. I didn't like the characters as much as I did in Folly Beach and I found a lot of the dialogue, especially with the things the 10 year old son was saying. AND: 

SPOILER ALERT: (STOP HERE OR SKIP) 

What I found really annoying was this: Jackie is supposed to be devastated over the loss of her husband. Who wouldn't be? Mind you, she refers to him as the love of her life and just by spending a few weeks in the summer, she's already attracted and ends up with the doctor neighbor? Must not be too devastated, if you ask me. PLUS, at first Jackie is not impressed with him at all, and at first, I felt like I missed something, because then all of a sudden, she likes him and they are together. ????? 

PICK UP HERE AFTER SPOILER ALERT: 

So on to the next book. I am actually finishing up Dorothea Benton Frank's book, Plantation, right now,  so that will be my next review. :) Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you are enjoying whatever YOU are reading. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank



This was the first book I read by Dorothea Benton Frank. Okay, I didn't READ it, I listened to it. But, when I get audio books, I make sure they say "unabridged" so I don't miss anything. And, funny story, this wasn't the first book I was supposed to read by this author. :) 

When I was on vacation in July in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, I was going to my favorite bookstore, Browseabout Books on Rehoboth Avenue and it just so happened that Mrs. Frank was in the store as I was going in. I didn't plan on staying for the talk and book signing, because I had never read anything by her (sorry, Mrs. Frank!). 

But, I found myself saying internally,"Why not stay?" I found myself looking at the book display of Mrs. Frank's books when I felt a tap on my shoulder. A woman plucked a book named Plantation off the display and said to me, "This one is good." I smiled and said I had never read any of them so I would like to know which one I should start with. The woman said, "This one. Well, I wrote all of them!" I cracked up, not realizing I was talking with the author herself. I bought that book and still haven't read it yet due to other things on my list, but it is the one I am going to read after the one I am reading now.


Dorothea Benton Frank & me at the signing!
Anyway, I got Folly Beach from the library on audio because I needed something to listen to in the car. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and their stories. I also love any book that makes me want to look into things further. I have since Googled Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island and other things that I learned about in the book. 

The book centers on Cate and the tragedy of her husband's suicide. She must rebuild a life and moves back to Folly Beach to assist her elderly Aunt Daisy who raised her and Cate's sister, Patti, after being orphaned. Cate struggles to come to terms with her new life and problems that her husband has left her in death. 

The characters in this book are so REAL! Cate, Patti, Aunt Daisy, Ella, John, Cate's kids--I can't say enough! They are all focused on evenly and you really get a sense of each of their individual stories. PLUS, the chapters alternate between Cate's story and the story of Dorothy and DuBose Heyward who were authors and playwrights who worked with Geroge Gershwin in making the play Porgy and Bess. At first, I wondered how the two stories were going to tie together--but they do. 

I highly recommend this book. I can't wait to read the rest of Dorothea Frank's books. I am so happy I stayed at that signing that night. Thank you, Mrs. Frank! Visit her website at www.dotfrank.com 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers



I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books by Walter Multnomah. This was one of my choices for review.

Redeeming Love is actually based on a story in the Bible, specifically, the Book of Hosea. Hosea was a man who, when instructed by God, married a prostitute. Hosea followed God's Will instead of acting in response to his own feelings. 

So, on to this book. The man in the book is named Michael Hosea and the prostitute turned wife is Sarah. The story follows the same premise as the story in the Bible: Michael is told by God to marry Sarah (known as Angel, at first). Sarah doesn't trust Michael's love at first and leaves him, going right back to her old ways. 

 Doing God's bidding, Michael goes after her and tries to live a steady, Christian life as a living testament to God to teach Angel that there is a new life waiting for her. 

Through patience, hard work and love, Michael wins Angel over. They acquire new friends and build their home and life together. Angel still hasn't forged her own relationship with God, though. She leaves Michael again, but this time for what she thinks are unselfish reasons (I won't spoil it by telling you the reason she feels she is doing right by him).  

This time, however, Michael doesn't go after her. He feels that she needs to return on her own. Will she return? You have to read to find out.  

I went back and forth in this book from liking it, to thinking it was dragging, to liking it again. I understand Sarah/Angel didn't think she was worthy of love, but a lot of this book was repetitive. It could have been a lot shorter, but it really does teach a lot of lessons. Probably for me, the most important being we are all undeserving of God's love...it is only through grace and mercy that we receive it and should be eternally grateful for that. 

Read the first chapter here: First Chapter


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver




What can I say about this book? A lot, actually. My head is still reeling and I finished it last night. 

In the book, the main character, Pandora, finds out her brother, Edison, is down on his luck as a jazz musician in New York. She arranges for Edison to come visit her and her family in Iowa. She hasn't seen Edison in four years and is stunned to see that he is now almost four hundred pounds. She is heartbroken and doesn't understand what happened. 

Pandora is struggling with her feelings because while she is quite successful in her business ( a doll company), she feels that she has to hide her success because Edison is in a slump with his music. 

When Pandora and Edison were young, their father had a somewhat big success on a television sitcom. Edison strives for this same type of fame with his music, but he and Pandora also have a bond because of the odd type of childhood they had. They find themselves laughing over their father's obsession that he still has with the show and think about similarities between the show's characters and themselves.

Pandora's husband, Fletcher and her two stepchildren, Tanner and Cody are unnerved by Edison's size and are more than unwelcoming. Well, I retract that, Cody, the stepdaughter, is more compassionate towards Edison. 

To top it all off, Fletcher is somewhat of a health nut. Edison pretty much eats them out of house and home, leading to strife and high stress levels in the house. Side note: I found myself curious as to why the author chose the names in this book: Pandora, Fletcher, Edison, Tanner, Cody...also in the book, a Solstice and a Sigrid. 

Okay, I digress. Edison stays in the house for about two months before he plans to head back to New York, saying he has to get ready for a tour. Well, the date comes around for Edison to leave and Pandora finds out that there is no tour and now she's torn. She feels responsible for Edison and doesn't know how she is going to let him go, knowing that there really isn't anything for Edison to go back to. 

So, Pandora is torn between her brother and whatever is going on with him and her husband who is, in my opinion and obnoxious jerk, who has enough of Edison in the house and can't wait to get back to their normal life. 

Pandora tells herself she has to help her brother, but at what cost? Her husband basically tells her more than once that Edison has to go because he can't take anymore. Pandora decides to help her brother, concocting a whole plan to move out of her family home to move into an apartment with him to help him with a massive weight loss strategy. 

The book then moves into the next part showing a different relationship between Pandora and Edison. And, as you can imagine, Fletcher is livid. Pandora takes her brother to her family doctor and after a consultation a quick calculation is done, Edison and Pandora will need a year to get his weight off. Well, you see what's coming...her marriage falls apart. 

 This part of the book moves pretty quickly, detailing Pandora and Edison's journey and Pandora's struggle with being away from her family. Eventually, Edison reaches his goal weight...from 386 to 161. Quite impressive, right? 
In the book, when Edison has finally reaches his goal weight, Pandora throws a party. Everything is fine and dandy except when  that Fletcher comes to the party and it is revealed that while Pandora and Fletcher are trying to patch things up, Edison is stunned that the situation isn't going to stay status quo. In a gruesome act of defiance, he starts smashing chocolate cake into his face in front of Pandora, who leaves the apartment to go back with Fletcher right away. She then explains that as time went on, Edison got bigger and bigger destroying all their hard work. 

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It never happened. What??? Pandora stops her narrative almost in mid stride saying that her great weight loss plan never took place. It was all made up to make her feel better--creating a alternate series of events in her mind that would have been ideal.  In "reality", Edison got on the plane when he was supposed to and went back to New York, leaving Pandora in Iowa, basically ignoring her brother's problem.  

I related this to Pandora making up her own "show" like her father had back in the day. She wanted to rewrite her brother's story into a happy ending. Although, I have no idea why in her made up version, she had Edison sabotage himself by acting out, showing jealousy over her and Fletcher's reunion. But, who cares? That part was "fake". 

I have never read Lionel Shriver, and I might be leery to do so again. First of all, NOBODY in this book was likable. I must be old fashioned, but Pandora and Fletcher let Tanner, who is seventeen, drop the f bomb like it is nothing and never say a word about how disrespectful he is. Fletcher is just completely hateful and even before the "fake" part starts, he is TERRIBLE to Edison, even calling him a "fat f***." Let me tell you something. My husband is a wonderful person, but if he called one of my siblings a fat f***, I would smash him in the face and leave him on the spot. So, in my opinion, Pandora is weak.

Edison is not likable either. He lives in some fog, overstating his achievements and talking like some old jazz musician, using words like "cat" to describe someone and "dig." 

Yet another book where NOBODY talks like these characters did. Especially Pandora. NOBODY uses words like she did, even in her thoughts. I found myself skimming pages because some of it actually read like a textbook. 

I immediately logged onto www.goodreads.com today to find out what people said about this book. To tell you the truth, I was kind of mad I wasted the days I did on it. I usually read pretty quickly, but this took me from August 14-August 24. I wanted to find out what happened so I slogged through it. Some parts were good, but again, everyone was unlikable and they were even more so by the end. Would love to hear your comments! 



Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold




I must be the last person on Earth to read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. (lol) I am behind the times, I know. And no, I have never seen the movie either.  

Suzie Salmon is fourteen years old, a student, a sister, a daughter and friend. Right from the start, though, you learn she has been murdered. This book is written from Suzie's point of view after death, in her heaven. I say "her" heaven because that is exactly how the author portrays it. Everyone's heaven is different. 

All through the book, you wonder if Suzie's killer will be caught. However, while you is waiting to see if justice will be done, you will also see how Suzie is adjusting to her place in Heaven as well as her thoughts and feelings on watching her family here on Earth. 

The reader also gets to experience how Suzie's family copes with this tragedy. Her mother, father, sister, brother and grandmother all deal with Suzie's death in very different ways. They attempt to function individually and as a family. 

Certain things occur in this book...things that challenge this family and not only Susie's death. A book, not only about loss, but about family dynamics as well, and what roles we are assigned to in the family unit. 

Did I like this book? Yes, it absolutely kept my interest and I thought the premise was original and intelligent. There was ONE part towards the end that thought was unnecessary and a little silly, but to prevent spoilers, I will just say that it was the thing that happened involving Ruth, Ray and Susie. 

If you read this and feel like leaving a comment, please do. If you have seen the movie, let me know if you think I should watch it after reading the book. Thank you for any feedback and thank you for reading.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Summer Secret by Kathleen Fuller




Mary Beth is a young Amish girl who works very hard at helping her family with chores and also at babysitting her two younger brothers, Caleb and Micah. Her twin brother, Johnny, torments her by teasing a little too much and sometimes it all gets a little overwhelming.

Mary Beth craves a little peace and quiet. So, she takes refuge in spending the little free time she has in a nearby barn that has been abandoned. She enjoys sketching and writing in her journal. But one day, she notices that some of her things that she brings to the barn is disturbed and she soon finds out that someone may be visiting the place that she called her own. 

Along with her twin, they set out to find who is using the barn, and maybe putting themselves in danger. Furthermore, they face the potential disappointment from their parents for sneaking out of the house while conducting their investigation. 

So, who is in the barn and why? Hence the "Mysteries of Middlefield" series title. This is the first in the series and while I won't tell you who is visiting the barn or why, I will tell you that the "mystery" is solved in this segment. 

So, I made a mistake. I didn't realize that this was a young adult book (lol). I love Amish stories so I was excited to read this. Don't get me wrong, it is a good story, but the longer I read, the more I realized this was geared towards a younger crowd. And while I enjoyed the story, it was predictable but uplifting. 

I finished this in a few days and have already started my next book. The next one I will be writing about is The Lovely Bones. 


Thanks for reading! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh





I had the chance to read this book courtesy of Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

I read all kinds of things, but sometimes what I need is a nice Christian fiction story. I also read Amish fiction, and you will see that with my next review. 

Faking Grace is about a girl, Maizy Grace Stewart (get it, Amazing Grace?) who has had her share of trouble.  She loses her dream job as an investigative reporter due to some unfortunate circumstances (you have to read!) and tries to restructure her life in another town. 

While waiting for her new job at the paper to become full time, she takes a part time job at Steeple Side Christian Resources to supplement her income. Thinking it won't be long until she can leave Steeple Side, she halfheartedly starts writing stories at her full time job for events like Mule Day, just biding her time.

The thing about Steeple Side though, is that they expect their employees to not only work, but live the Christian life as well. Maizy, who drops her first name just to go by Grace, while at Steeple Side (Grace looks better at a Christian company, right?) attempts to make herself look very much like a faithful Christian. 

Grace's patience pays off and her other employer at the paper finally offers her a full time position as investigative reporter. But, it comes as a price. They want her to dig deeper into Steeple Side's practices and see what kind of "dirt" she can come up with. 

Problem: Grace has started to like her co workers and expand her walk with God.  Is it right to act like she is only at Steeple Side working when she really is trying to do something more underhanded? 

Part touching, part humorous, Grace, along with her dog Woofer (too cute!) deals with the conflict of the struggle between right and wrong. 

My two cents: I almost gave this book up in the beginning. I had read about 70 pages and found it to be slow. HOWEVER, I am glad I stuck with it. It got better as it went along and I found myself finally caring about what happened to Grace.  So, if you like Christian fiction, I DO recommend this book. 

Visit the author's website at http://www.tamaraleigh.com/

Visit the publisher's website and read an excerpt!  (thank you for the copy, Multnomah!)http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/workid.php?work=99641 

Author spotlight: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=17218

Thank you for reading. Check out my other reviews, too!  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes



I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. 

This was the first book I have read by Jojo Moyes. I am definitely going to look into what other books she has written. 

This story is about Louisa who is better known as Lou. Lou struggles living at home with: her mom and dad, her sister, Treena, Treena's very young son, Thomas and her grandfather. The home is crowded but income is limited and Lou and Treena are depended on to help the family financially. 

This big family are tightly packed into their small home, but are, for the most part, loving. There was one thing that irked my nerves a little bit and that was the way Lou's father spoke to her at times. Still, the author still manages to convey that his remarks are not meant to be malicious and that he is really only teasing Lou, but sometimes his comments came off as mean spirited. 

At first, Lou is perfectly content working in a cafe and seeing her boyfriend, Patrick.  However, the cafe closes and the family is panicked at the loss of income. After awhile, through a job placement agency, Lou is employed by the Traynor family as a caregiver to their son, Will. 

Will is a victim of a tragic accident that left him a quadriplegic. He has an assistant that comes in to help him with physical therapy and other medical needs, but Will's mother wants Lou to be more of a companion to Will, who is suffering from depression. There's more to that part of the story, but I am not going to spoil it for you. 

I finished this book today. I really got hooked on it towards the end. The author did such a good job that when I had to put it down, I felt like I couldn't wait to get back to it...almost like I had people waiting that I couldn't wait to catch up with and see how they were. 

Heavy at times, humorous at others, I found this to be a great read. I would love to hear your thoughts. However, if you do, make sure your comments include any kind of spoiler alerts if your comments contain them! :)  See you next time. Thank you for reading. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stranger In Town by Cheryl Bradshaw




This was the first book I read by Cheryl Bradshaw. Two girls who are kidnapped at different times. The police are unsuccessful in finding any leads, and something happens that indicates that the two kidnappings are connected. 

One of the daughter's fathers hires Sloane Monroe, a private investigator to see if she can help find both missing girls.  

While the book is fast paced, and I DID enjoy it, I thought it was unrealistic the way 1. everything was done so quickly and 2. the way the whole thing wrapped up almost too neatly. I am all for mysteries getting solved in books, but this one was a little TOO unbelievable. That being said though, I enjoyed it in some ways because sometimes you just need a quick, entertaining read. 

I probably will try the other books by the author at a later date, but just not right now. If you read this and liked it, let me know. If you comment with spoilers, just make sure you put in a spoiler alert! 

Next blog will be about Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. Thank you for reading! 



Friday, July 12, 2013

Hoda- How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee by Hoda Kotb



I am about to make a stunning confession.  I don't watch the Today Show. Not because I don't want to, but I am at work by then, so I miss it. I know I am probably the only person who doesn't DVR it if they don't see it live. Now, pick yourself off the floor and read on! 

While on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, I saw a sign in the local bookstore, Browseabout Books, announcing that Hoda Kotb would be doing a book signing. Even though I don't watch Today, I still know who Hoda is. Who doesn't?  

 By the way, I love Browseabout Books. Check them out if you are in the Rehoboth Beach area or their website at www.browseaboutbooks.com

So, on July 5, I met up with my mom and we headed up to the bookstore. While I don't usually buy books full price (I am a library/Amazon.com kind of girl-gasp!), I love buying things at local businesses.  I bought a copy of both of Ms. Kotb's books and we got in line to have them signed. 

What a turn out! Ms. Kotb has so many fans and when we got around to where we could see her interacting with them, she was so gracious and funny. We got both books signed and had a great time. Here's a picture of me, my mom and Ms. Kotb: 


So, now about the book. I read it in two days. I know I had the time to do it by being on vacation but still, I was hooked. The book was very entertaining and humorous but also very moving in certain parts, like when Ms. Kotb shares her experience with her battle with breast cancer.

 She pulls no punches discussing it and even shares some pictures of her while she was in the hospital. And I dare you not to be moved when reading the part where Ms. Kotb discusses her experience of being in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. 

But, I also dare you not to laugh out loud during the book, too. I did!

Reading this book went by too quickly for me. I usually don't read biographies or memoirs, but I can truly say that this was a book I was actually sorry when I finished it. I wanted more!  Pick it up and see for yourself. I am a new fan of Ms. Kotb's and wish her the best. Follow her on Twitter @hodakotb. 

Thanks for reading! 




Sunday, July 7, 2013

Amy, My Daughter by Mitch Winehouse


This book was a very moving, but heartbreaking story. Written by Amy's Winehouse's father, Mitch, it gives the reader a look into the Winehouse family struggles with Amy's addictions to drugs and alcohol. Don't think that Mr. Winehouse denies his daughter's addictions either. He is very aware of what is going on and expresses how helpless he feels in watching Amy's self destructive behavior. He also is very involved in attempting to help her in any way he can, sometimes sacrificing his own health in order to do so.

Even though I along with everyone else, knows how this story ends, I found myself hoping she would get better and rooting for her. However, I didn't know, and I bet a lot of people didn't either, Amy really tried to beat her demons and she DID beat one of the hardest-her addiction to hard drugs but couldn't seem to beat alcoholism. She did want to though, and went days and finally weeks without a drink. 

Mitch Winehouse really shares his personal feelings in this book and I can't imagine how hard that must have been to do. How many of us would reveal feelings and incidents that happen to our loved ones that might bring criticism instead of compassion? 

Which brings me to this: Just because someone is famous, doesn't give anyone the right to bash them and say hurtful things. Amy had problems, yes, but from my personal experience in my family, drugs and/or alcohol addiction does NOT discriminate. I hate when I hear people say, "I would never..." Please. You don't know that.  Believe me. It was and still is very hurtful towards Amy's family to hear her be made fun of or looked down upon because of her issues and Mr. Winehouse talks about this as well.  Amy was someone's daughter, sister, wife, and friend. She was famous, but she was a real person. I think people forget that. 

On a positive note, I, along with millions of others, heard the power and raw talent in Amy's voice. It is obvious that she would have gone far and that we are truly missing a great artist. 

Something positive that came out of their tragedy was the birth of The Amy Winehouse Foundation which focuses on the educating people about drug and alcohol abuse as well as providing assistance to those who find themselves already in battle with these diseases. Visit their site at www.amywinehousefoundation.org. 

If you are a fan of Amy's or even just want to read a true account of a family living through the problems of addiction, pick this book up. I read it very quickly and enjoyed it. Mr. Winehouse should be thanked for sharing Amy's story.  


Thank you to NetGalley who provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble



Hello! 

This week at the beach I have been reading two books. The first is Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble. I read one other book by Elizabeth Noble,  When You Were Mine, and I enjoyed it. So, when I went back looking for other books by this author, this plot caught my eye. 

Tom and Natalie have been friends their whole life. While Natalie is satisfied with the way things are with him,  Tom is in love with Natalie and probably always has been.  She, on the other hand, fell in love with Simon but after it turned into a one sided relationship, she was left brokenhearted.

Tom sees his chance and tells Natalie that he can prove they would be great together if  she would give him the opportunity.  He proposes an idea of 26 different activities, each one beginning with a letter of the alphabet. 

Not only is the book about Natalie and Tom, we also meet Tom's brother, Patrick and his wife, Lucy who are going through a rough patch of their own. And to make matters even more sticky during their trying time, Lucy finds herself attracted to her friend Marianne's husband, Alec. 

And we also get a glimpse into the marriage of Natalie's parents, Nicholas and Anna. Anna is struggling with depression and it is taking a toll on her family and while they have that to deal with, another event happens to turn their lives around as well. 

As they move through the alphabet, Tom and Natalie cultivate and grow their relationship. Will Tom emerge triumphant and win Natalie's love? Will Lucy and Alec act upon the attraction they feel? What will happen to a good book?

I hope that if you read the book, you enjoy it as much as I did. Let me know! Leave your comments below. Follow me on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4244227-deana to find out what is on my reading list and to see other reviews. 

The other book that I am reading at the beach this week is Amy, My Daughter, by Mitch Winehouse. It is a  father's story about his daughter, Amy Winehouse, the talented but troubled signer. That will be my next review and blog, so check back soon! 

Thank you for reading--Hope you are enjoying whatever you are currently reading! xoxo





Monday, June 10, 2013

The Winnowing Season-Book 2 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series by Cindy Woodsmall


Waterbrook Multnomah provided me with a copy of this book on the condition I provided a review. I was very excited to pick this one. I am a huge fan of Amish fiction. I find that it is a relaxing change of pace to read an Amish or Christian fiction book. Sometimes you just need to clear the cobwebs out of your head and I think this type of book is the way to do it. 

This book is the sequel to the first book in the series,  A Season for Tending  and starts with a short synopsis of that book. This book is the sequel to A Season For Tending.  I love other Amish authors and read a lot of books in this genre. However, I promised an honest review. I could not finish this book. I finished about six and half chapters. Being an avid reader, if I am enjoying a book, I will finish it in a few days. I could not bring myself to read anymore. I think it was because I found some of the characters annoying and I found myself not really concerned about what happened to them. I also felt some of the dialogue sounded forced. That being said, that part may be my fault because this book is a second in the series and I did not read the first one. However, don't let this stop anyone from reading it--there is a short synopsis of the first book is in the beginning of the book. I feel bad that I didn't like this book, but that will not stop me from trying other books from the same author.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Palisades Park by Alan Brennert



I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was one of those books that truly took me away. I found myself totally engrossed in it while reading, caring about the characters. I haven't felt that way about characters in a book in a long time.

The book centers around a family who works and lives near Palisades Park, an amusement park that really did exist from 1898-1971 in Bergen County, New Jersey.

I usually never do this, but for some reason,  while reading, I started looking on the internet for some of the people listed in the book. For example, in the book, a high diver named Bee Kyle is featured as an act in the park. Sure enough, Bee did exist and was a well known high diver back in her day.

Another surprise to me was this: in the book there is a lifeguard who works at the Palisades pool named Bunty Hill. Well, I didn't even think to look him up, but then I stumbled upon a very informative website about the park that showed an actual picture of Bunty!

As I read on, there were so many factual things in this book and even more people who I thought were "characters" that turned out to be people that actually existed. Furthermore, there are a lot of historical events that take place during the time frame of the story. 

The characters in the family, Eddie, Adele, Toni and Jack were very realistic and the author shows the highs and the lows of family life. You feel as though you are on the journey with them as they live their life in and out of the park. Plus, the author surprises you a few times, too. No spoilers here, though! 

The only thing was by the end of the book, I was a little disturbed by Toni's attitude...but I guess I had to cut her some slack because of several things that happen to her that I won't say here in case you didn't read it yet. But I highly recommend you do. It will take you away to a place that you might remember. I personally had never been to Palisades Park, but the book made me feel like I visited. 

Isn't that what makes a great book? It transported me to a place I had never been and also made me want to learn more.  

Click here to visit the website that I looked at about the park. Palisades Park Website

Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment! 

Deana


Next up:  The Winnowing Season, by Cindy Woodsmall (Book 2 in the Amish Vines and Orchard Series). 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Introductory Post

Welcome!

I have always loved books for as long as I can remember. I have memories of  being little and my mom taking me to the library. I am 40 now and I still get very excited over a good book. I do reviews and keep track of what I read on Goodreads.com, but I wanted a more personal space to add comments and thoughts on the books I read. But, I do have to give a shout out to Goodreads.com, because before I discovered that site, I was in possession of what seemed like hundreds of scraps of paper with titles I wanted to read strewn everyhere (ha, ha). I really welcomed a list online to remember what I want to read! :)

So, welcome. I can't wait to get feedback and thoughts on this blog. To be totally honest, I have been thinking of doing a book blog for awhile now, but the book I am reading now, Palisades Park by Alan Brennert is the one that truly inspired me to start.

Stay tuned in the next few days for my review and thoughts on Palisades Park.