Friday, April 29, 2016

"Aundy--Book 1 of Pendleton Petticoats Series" by Shanna Hatfield

Aundy by Shanna Hatfield is a historical western romance that kept my attention all through and was an enjoyable read, although had some very sad parts in it.  I liked Aundy right off and felt so sad for her and her new husband at the beginning of the book.  This is a story of a woman coming from the city to be a mail-order bride for a farmer in Oregon who was very excited to marry her and share his dreams with her.  She is a strong, independent woman with a kind heart.

This is a clean romance novel with action as well.  I liked the writing and hope to read more books by this author.  I really liked how she took charge and made her own decisions in running her new farm.
(Karen's review, 5 stars)   

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"A Mother's Reckoning--Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy" by Sue Klebold

In A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold, Sue is the mom of Dylan, one of the killers at Columbine High School!  She holds nothing back in describing what she felt when she found out it was her son who was one of the killers, and the reaction she received from people afterward and how she dealt with it.  She also gives us background on Dylan growing up and the lead up to the shooting.

Parts of the book were really riveting.  I have to say this was an eye opener for me!  She wrote very well too!
(Gerard's review, 5+ stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday


Karen's:

The girl had been so strong and stoic throughout the entire day's ordeal.  He knew she had to be exhausted, frightened, and beleaguered by all that had happened on a day that should have been filled with love, happiness, and celebration.
From Kindle location 805-7 Aundy by Shanna Hatfield.  


Gerard's:

All hope vanished as she comprehended what lay at the edge of the wooden planks.  In the very place she'd been kissed only moments before, were the remains of her life's great love.
From page 8 of The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins. 

Tom and I raced around the house like demented wind-up toys, flooded with adrenaline, unable to stop or to complete a task.  our wide-eyed pets crouched in the corners, alarmed.
From page 6 of A Mother's Reckoning--Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold. 


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just pick two sentences from the book you are reading. 

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 25, 2016

"The Great Hunt" by Wendy Higgins

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins is a YA fantasy story I enjoyed. There is a beast in the land and it is causing rampage and loss of life. It must be stopped! The king decide that the man who kills the beast will get to marry the princess. I thought this novel was very good. It kept my interest for sure. I especially liked the relationship between the princess and one of the men trying to kill the beast. I thought the writing was really good too. I hope there is going to be a book 2. If that is so, I will be reading it too.
(Gerard's review, 5+ stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"True (. . . Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan (A Kid's Book)

Every once in a while I like to read a book that I can just enjoy and is not on a heavy subject.  Something quick, light and entertaining.  True (. . . Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan is this kind of book.

Delly Pattison, Brud Kinney and Ferris Boyd all have problems of their own, but when they all befriend each other, it is a beautiful thing to see!  Delly has her own way of speaking that I found entertaining.  This has a good story line and goes very quickly!  This is a kid's book I enjoyed.
(Gerard's review, 4 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Originals--How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Originals—How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant is an interesting non-fiction book about developing creativity and how certain creative individuals have changed the world. Much of it is about corporations but the second half is more about ways in which to get creative ideas accepted by others and encouraging creativity. As I was reading, some things really caught me interest and I wish I had a pen and paper to take some notes. There were some parts that bored me which I skipped. I was happy to find that at the end is a nice summary of the key points that interested me most! I was also pleasantly surprised to see that I finished the book much sooner than expected because so many of the last pages are references.

Here are the points I found interesting:

• Procrastinate strategically—(like dad did) mull things over, don’t be in a rush to get something done ahead of schedule.
• Seek feedback from peers.
• Highlight 3 weaknesses of idea to give reasons not to support it, especially if presenting it to those opposing it, then invite them to name more which helps them see it’s not so bad after all.
• Don’t try to calm down when anxious, get excited instead!
• Welcome criticism.
• Link good behaviors to moral character when complimenting children (You have been very helpful. You are a kind person.)
• Explain how bad behaviors affect others to promote empathy and guilt to get people to change their behavior.
• Emphasize values over rules.
• Youngest ones in family are generally bigger risk takers, comedians and more creative than first-borns.

(Karen's review, 3 stars)


Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"Thirst" by Benjamin Warner

In Thirst, by Benjamin Warner, Eddie is coming home from work one day and there is a huge backup.  He decides to walk home and on his way, he notices that water is suddenly gone!  How did that happen?  How long will it be before it comes back? 

This book held my interest throughout.  I enjoyed the character of Eddie very much and it has a pretty good ending.
(Gerard's review, 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Teaser Tuesday


Karen's:

Okay, we can't look into our own futures, but we''ll still be in the future for twenty-four hours.  That will be enough.
From page 36 of Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs.  (Click link for Gerard's review)

The first advantage is that leading with weaknesses disarms the audience.  Marketing professors Marian Friestad and Peter Wright find that when we're aware that someone is trying to persuade us, we naturally raise our mental shields.
From page 69-70 of Originals--How Non-conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.  (Non-fiction)

Gerard's:

Losing Ava's friendship had left me unable to remember who I might be anymore without her.  As strong a force as her presence had created, her absence was stronger yet.
From page 5 of Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard.  (Click link for my review.)

But there was no water on the other side of the road.  A thin rust-colored scar ran through the sand where it should have flowed.
From page 5 of Thirst by Benjamin Warner. 

Be sure to see our review of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, a must read that we both liked!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just pick two sentences from the book you are reading. 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"Under the Influence" by Joyce Maynard

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard is about Helen, a woman down on her luck who needs help.  When a rich couple befriend her, soon they become the center of Helen's world and good times are had.  But, when a bad time comes, Helen must decide if she will stay with her friends or go it alone.

People Magazine had this as their book of the week a while back and I can see why!  The story is very good.  At no time was I bored or skipping pages.  The characters were very good and believable.  The writing was outstanding!
(Gerard's review, 5+ stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Friday, April 15, 2016

"The Decent Proposal" by Kemper Donovan--Contemporary Mystery/Romance

The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan is a unique love story with an element of mystery that takes place in L.A. Richard and Elizabeth both get a decent proposal by an attorney representing an anonymous client. They are complete strangers. Richard is a film producer fallen on hard times, likes to party and has a best friend Michaela (Mike). Elizabeth is a successful attorney without friends except for a homeless man named Orpheus. The proposal is that if they spend two consecutive hours talking to each other one day a week for a year, they would both be given half a million dollars each at the end of the year! Who wouldn’t accept an offer like that?

 I do not want to spoil anything, so will just mention the questions that came up as I was reading, such as: (1) Will Richard and Elizabeth fall in love? (2) Why were they chosen? (3) Who is behind the proposal? (4) How will they spend the money if they succeed? Even Richard and Elizabeth couldn’t come up with a common acquaintance that might have been trying to match them up.

The mystery in this book is what kept my attention more than the characters. There is some foul language and a lot of drinking episodes I did not care for, but the plot was interesting.  Another thing that bothered me was the girl called Mike.  I had to keep reminding myself it was the girl. Overall, I’m glad I read this novel and thought the author wrapped things up in a very unique way.   It was witty and had a lot of references to movies and books which I enjoyed.
(Karen's review, 3 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"A Dog Called Homeless" by Sarah Lean

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean is actually about a young girl named Cally. Her mom dies and her whole life changes when her dad makes a life-altering decision. But, Cally finds hope in a stray dog. I really enjoyed Cally who is a great character! The last 50 pages were really good. Too bad the rest of the book wasn’t as good. I LOVED the parts the DOG was in most and would have liked more. Because of the strength of the last 50 pages, I pushed my rating of this book up to 4 stars. This is a children’s book that I’d recommend especially to girls.
(Gerard's review, 4 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Flawed" (Book 1) by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern is about Celestine who leads a good life, follows the rules, and is an "A" student.   When she breaks a rule, there are life-changing repercussions.  In her society, perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment.

I really enjoyed this book!  Celestine is a great character and I was rooting for her all the way!  The story flows along well and the action really picks up at the end.  Looks like there is going to be a book 2 that I look forward to reading as well!
(Gerard's review, 5+ stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Teaser Tuesday


Karen's:
He had no idea who had chosen him, or why, but he felt certain he'd been chosen wisely and he was eager to reap his reward--not only for the money, but for the adventure, for the story, in a life that had been stagnant for too long. 
From page 25 of The Decent Proposal by Kemper DonovanW.

Teachers tend to discriminate against highly creative students, labeling them as troublemakers.  In response, many children quickly learn to get with the program, keeping their original ideas to themselves.
From page 10 of Originals--How Non-conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.  (Non-fiction)

Gerard's:

The boys start to scream as they watch their mother being taken away.  They run to her and try to reach her, but the Whistleblowers hold them back.
From page 12 of Flawed by Cecelia Ahern.

As Gillian approaches, his mother buries herself in his arms and starts to cry, but it's like no cry he's ever heard before.  She wails, long and low, like a wounded animal that any decent man would have the sense to kill.
From page 16 of Shelter by Jung Yun.  (My review was posted yesterday.)

"Are you kidding me?  They mentioned the five of us.  And it sounded like they'd done this before."
From page 31 of Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs.  (Click link for review)

Be sure to see our review of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, a must read that we both liked!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just pick two sentences from the book you are reading. 

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 11, 2016

"Shelter" by Jung Yun

Shelter by Jung Yun centers on a man named Kung Cho.  He and his wife have been having money problems for years and with a young son to raise, it is not easy.  But now he has to have his mom and dad move in with him because of a terrible incident.  He never got love from them, but money was never an issue.  Will this new setup work or will a bad situation get even worse? 

I really enjoyed this book a lot!  The interaction between the characters was so good and I really never knew how it was all going to turn out!  The writing was excellent!
(Gerard's review, 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

"Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys--A Must Read!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys takes place in 1941. Lina is preparing for art school and all that summer has to offer. Then the Soviet Secret Police break into her home and taker her, her mother and her younger brother away. Her father was taken captive too, but kept apart from them. Will they get back together? Will they ever survive? What do the Soviets want from them? I thought this book was outstanding! I was into it all the way. The writing was so good too that I could really picture it in my mind. A Must Read!
(Gerard's review, 5++ stars)

Karen's review, 5 stars:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is a very good historical fiction book about Lithuanians who were deported during WW II by the Russians.  This book is about a 15-yr.-old girl, Lena, who is very brave and loves to draw.  She is the cousin of Joana, one of the main characters in Salt to the Sea, that is taken by the NKVD during at night along with her mother and younger brother, Jonas.  First, they are crammed into a train with a bunch of others who were "on the list" going to who knows where.  Lena becomes friends with Andrius, a boy her age who is also on the train.  The second part of the book is about her time at the farm where the Russians try to force them to sign a paper admitting they are criminals and willing to work on the farm for 25 years.  Those who sign get treated slightly better than those who don't.  Andrius signs but Lena does not so Andrius tries his best to help her and her family.  Living in unsanitary conditions with barely anything to eat, she is forced to dig with a trowel all day or carry 50 lb. sacks of grain.  Can things get any worse?  Oh yes.  The third part of the book takes Lena, her mother and brother to Siberia but not Andrius, way up into the Arctic Circle where they must use the bricks and wood that the Russians brought along to build barracks and a bakery for the soldiers.  They have to make huts for themselves out of driftwood, moss and whatever else they can scrounge up from the trash the soldiers throw away during temperatures below zero!  All through this book, you wonder along with them if they will survive and if they will ever be reunited with their father and Andrius.       

The author does a fantastic job of introducing the reader to other characters as Lena meets them so it is pretty easy to keep them straight.  I really liked this book better than Salt to the Sea because it had better continuity with just telling the story from Lena's viewpoint.  I couldn't help but thinking how I would react if I was in that situation.  I'm pretty sure I would have given up.  These people went through awful things but the book did have some high points with the romance thread, the birthday and Christmas celebrations.  This book stayed with me after I was done and needed time to process it before jumping into my next read.  I must say, I liked this as much as I liked The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

Also liked Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys but not as much as this one.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Friday, April 8, 2016

"Future Shock" by Elizabeth Briggs--WOW!

Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs is a gripping science fiction murder mystery involving five teens, Adam, Elena, Chris, Trent and Zoe, who are transported 10 years into the future. All but Adam is in foster care. Aethon Corporation offers them a large amount of money to sign up for the mission to report back on the technology they find. Instead, things do not happen according to the plan and the teens find themselves 30 years into the future and make a scary discovery that motivates them to figure a way to change the path they are on.

This book is really good with lots of adventure, relationships and things to make you think. I was confused a bit about some things, but overall I enjoyed it very much. I especially liked Elena who tells the story from her view. It was very cool she had such a great memory and a desire to help others. I liked the message of this book that the future is based on our current choices and that it is worth living. It’s definitely a page turner and I was eager to see how it would end. (For some discussion questions for those who have read this, please see the spoiler alert after Gerard's review below.)
(Karen's review, 4 stars)

Gerard's review:
Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs is about five young teens who are down on their luck.  They all need money for different reasons so when a company offers them money that they think will solve all their problems, they jump at the chance.  But once they get into their mission, they find out the one thing they were not to do, they might have to or else!

WOW!  This is so good!  If you like action, this book is packed with it!  I really enjoyed the lead character, but also the others.  It kept me turning pages quickly because I was eager to see how it would all play out.  I kept saying "this is really good" over and over as I read it.  LOVED IT!  Give this book involving time travel a read; you will be glad you did!
(Gerard's review 4/8/16, 5++ stars)

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read this yet, stop reading here, but if you have read it, I’d like to know your thoughts on these things:


(1) Which future technology did you like best? I liked the cars that could drive themselves.

(2) Could anyone explain to me how the reports fit into Elena’s pocket?

(3) I assume Elena dropped Zoe’s drawings just before getting in to go back, but don’t understand why they felt they couldn’t report anything they saw.

(4) Anyone else confused at the end were Adam and Elena say they’ll be ready 30 years to meet their younger selves and to help Zoe and Trent? I didn’t get that because the present was done. I get that the future didn’t yet really happen, but the present did. It wasn’t like they would be going again.

(5) Do you think you would like to know your future? I’m not sure if I would want to or not.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"The Widow" by Fiona Barton

The Widow by Fiona Barton is about a young girl that goes missing.  It's also about a married couple, Glen and Jean who both have secrets about the missing girl, but then Glen dies.  Jean is free now to tell her secret, or is she? 

This book goes back in time to set up the missing girl's disappearance.  It is also told by a few detectives who want to know the truth.  This novel kept me interested, the writing was good and the ending pleased me.
(Gerard's review, 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"Salt to the Sea" by Ruta Sepetys is Very Good!

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is about a group of refugees during World War II and is based on an actual event that we don't hear much about--the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff.  The majority of the book is the refugees trying to get to the ship in order to get out of the country.  It is told from four different points of view, each person being from a different country.  The little group the book focuses on that travels together is Joana (a nurse), Emelia (young pregnant girl), Florian (a forger), a little orphan boy, an old shoemaker, and Eva, a very big woman.  

I enjoyed seeing the relationships develop among the refugees and I liked the ending too.  My favorite character was Florian.  There were some very sad things happen in this book, but I didn't really identify closely enough to the characters to actually cry.  It was interesting to read about an event I knew nothing about.  The ending seemed very abrupt though and I was a bit confused.  
(Karen's review, 4 stars)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys takes place at the end of World War II.  Four young teens who are literally fighting for their lives converse.  I cannot say enough good things about this book!  As you read this, be aware that it is based on an actual event!  I was totally invested in the lives of the four teens.  What a great book to finish the month of March with!
(Gerard's review 3/30/16, 5+ stars)

Here is a video of an interview with Ruta Sepetys that convinced me to read this book:

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. To find books on a specific topic, scroll to the bottom and click on the topic you want. Happy Reading!

Teaser Tuesday


Karen's:
We all looked up when they entered the barn, a young man carrying a pistol, followed by a short blond girl in braids and a pink hat.  They were both haggard.
From page 22 of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

Gerard's:

A woman who was also on the list was giving birth to a baby.  As soon as the umbilical cord was cut, they would both be thrown into the truck.
From page 15 of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. 

Everyone was very kind and trying to stop me from seeing his body, but I couldn't tell them I was glad he was gone.  No more of his nonsense.
From page 3 of The Widow by Fiona Barton.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just pick two sentences from the book you are reading. 

Happy Reading!
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