Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (214)

TeaserTuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm/Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

29336837

Chasing Chaos (Kindle 52%)
   - Katie Rose Guest Pryal

"Daph, it didn't take deductive genius. Between your car and your shirt, even someone who wasn't your best friend could have figured it out."

Friday, May 27, 2016

Midnight Burning

25327426Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.


*May Contain Spoilers*
 
I'm officially fan-girling over the characters in Karissa Laurel's Midnight Burning. Norse mythology has laid a familial foundation for Laurel's characters and it looks like someone wants history to repeat itself. Specifically... the Ragnarök. Solina Mundy may seem like an innocent bystander, but she refuses to actually be one.
 
Solina Mundy's twin brother was murdered in an Alaskan city and the police investigation has gone cold. She goes against everything she believes herself to be in order to discover what really happened by flying to Alaska. Solina is a simple girl with a knack for witty comebacks. She enjoys baking and living vicariously through her brother, Mani. But she also has horrible nightmares and the one she had about Mani came true. Readers will enjoy Solina's go-get-'em attitude and her dedication to her twin.
 
The supporting cast of characters will also excite readers as the rowdy bunch tries to protect Solina while finding out what's exactly going on. Thorin, Val, and Skyla all worked with Mani before he died at Thorin Adventures, which specialized in outdoor guided trips. Skyla is a total badass. She's a former Marine who doesn't shy away from anything. Thorin is the boss who doesn't warm up quickly but has something going on under that tough exterior. And Val... he's the charmer who has his sights set on Solina. Mix all these different personalities up with deadly werewolves and an evil goddess of the underworld and well, there will be fireworks.
 
The death of Mani is the beginning of this story but not the beginning of the story. Norse mythology and exactly what happened at the first apocalypse has that honor. Solina and her brother are special descendants/reincarnations of Norse figures and had no idea. But someone knew and wanted to repeat history by killing them. To stop that, Thorin, Val, and Skyla (with the help of others) must keep Solina safe. The writing style of this book modernizes the Norse mythology and makes it (pretty) easy to understand. Readers will like the action and adventure mixed with secrets and danger. And after a semi-unexpected ending, I cannot wait for the next book.
 
Rating: 4/5 Cups

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What's Next, Wednesday (6)

 
  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.
 
27135825
 
I'm looking forward to...

An Acre of Fools by Aden James but waiting for delivery is excruciating. I know, I exaggerate. However, this novel promises to be intense from start to finish. A little girl born with a debilitating cancer leaves a nasty scar on her family's faith. When she starts doing drugs as a teenager, will the family break or can they find a way out of the darkness?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (213)

TeaserTuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm/Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

25327426
Midnight Burning (Kindle 26%)
   - Karissa Laurel

They knew something about Mani's murder and who was after me now. They knew something, and by God, I intended to know it, too. Keep your friends close, and your closed-mouth, secretive, and interfering friends even closer.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Doing Germany: Book Two

29102322In the sequel to the best-selling DOING GERMANY, Agnieszka Paletta picks up exactly where she left off. She is still a slave to chocolate and wine, still a Polish-Canadian-lover-of-Italy, still a grasshopper in a new country, Germany. Two years may have passed, but the moose-in-headlights persists as she continues to discover Deutschland. (After two years, what is there left to discover?) Ye, of little faith. Plenty and plenty and then some! And what’s more, with some unexpected lessons that come with having a baby and owning a house.

Ever an immigrant in a foreign land, Paletta will take you for a cultural spin as you explore Germany through her Polish-Canadian-Italian eyes. So just sit back and enjoy the humorous, witty ride. (And pour yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it.)

*May Contain Spoilers*
 
Agneiszka Paletta wastes no time with readers as she dives in to sharing her life experiences with the world. And as a frequent traveler, Paletta has a lot of experiences to share. This sequel, Doing Germany: Book Two, focuses on family life and therefore lays a quick foundation that readers will be able to relate to. Added bonus: having a baby and buying/fixing up a house make for a lot of quirky stories.
 
What I found most fascinating about this novel were the comparisons between countries and traditions. In the timeframe that Doing Germany: Book Two covers, Paletta shares stories of New Year's, Easter, Halloween (Hallowe'en?) and Christmas while pointing out obvious differences. Culture is one of those things that I find unbelievably intriguing and Paletta tells all about the German and Polish cultures as they relate to her specific experiences. (Presents under pillows instead of a tree?)
 
Paletta's writing style is one set for entertainment. At moments, you, as the reader, will feel as if she's talking directly to you. It's an engaging edge that she uses to bring readers into her life, as if you've known each other for years and she's just sent you an e-mail on the latest shenanigans. The way that the book is written aligns with this. The chapters are short essays laced with wit, humor, German, and Polish. They're simply fun to read.
 
Though not all chapters are fun. Paletta does go through a heartbreaking moment around the middle of the book and it's a big thing that people tend not to talk about: miscarriage. Paletta takes a serious step in choosing to include this in her book and it's commendable and brave. Though it seems out of character for her as an author, if anything Paletta keeps things real and that's something to love about her writing.
 
Rating: 3/5 Cups


Read the review of Book One: Doing Germany

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What's Next, Wednesday (5)

 
  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.
 
25327426
 
I'm looking forward to...
 
Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel. Solina's twin brother is killed and only one person will help her figure out what happened: Skyla. The synopsis hints at wolves and an unlocked power that Solina has. I'm definitely excited for this fantasy/supernatural novel. And it's the beginning of a series, so if it's good then there's more to look forward to.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (212)

TeaserTuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm/Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

29102322

Doing Germany: Book Two (Kindle 54%)
   - Agnieszka Paletta

'I've never even heard of a vast German mafia -- have you? It's all about the Italian mafia or the Russian mafia in Europe, right?'

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers

28762709Mathias B. Freese shares his life with readers through Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers. Tessera is the smallest piece of tile used to create a mosaic and Freese uses this definition as an outline for his memories. As he travels back to his childhood and splashes through time much like a Vonnegut pond, Freese sets it all out to dry. He wades through his memories, vulnerable and open, showing readers how life can change with one moment, one person, or even two summers.

This memoir is both about Freese spending two summers in Woodstock and not about Freese spending two summers in Woodstock. It's more focused on how those two summers changed him and though the timeline is a jumble of water droplets, touching and coalescing, readers will be able to grasp the before and after.

Before Woodstock vs. After Woodstock.

Before Woodstock Freese was an emotionally stunted man and he attributes the finding of himself and semi-acceptance of himself to the openness that Woodstock created. Or rather, allowed. As a child, Freese was raised by a depressed mother and a father who never made contact. Freese was alone and therefore lonely. He felt unloved, though he didn't know what love was. This bold pronouncement will undoubtedly pull readers into a sense of emotionally charged empathy. Therefore, Freese the writer gains the vote of the reader. The sympathy associated (or demanded) from a child who admits that he never received love from his parents is given freely. Freese bares his soul in this and readers respond.

Though the two summers at Woodstock are never fully laid out for the reader, Freese does share that the creativity and music were the main attractions for him. Important to note, the drugs were not. Woodstock let Freese be open for the first time in his life. The town, the events, they let him get lost in the creative magic and melody of life and love. Readers take in the impact that Woodstock had on Freese and see how much it helped him. However, he still struggled with love, commitment, understanding, and acceptance.

Mathias Freese is an inspiring and inspired man, often quoting philosophers and other writers, even movies. And he has his scars much like anyone else. Freese, while sharing his change for the better, doesn't leave out the bad. He admits to being a shoddy father and an adulterer. He blames himself for many things, trying, yet failing, to hide from their repercussions. This doesn't allow readers to like him anymore as a narrator, but it does make him more trustworthy. Sharing the bad is much more difficult than sharing the good and Freese faces that head-on.

The memoir is written as a collection of essays jumping through the years in a non-linear way. It truly reminded me of Vonnegut's lake in Slaughterhouse Five. The memoir even includes therapy session scripts, which I assume are legitimate, and chapters written from the perspective of his children, which may just be creative nonfiction, though I'm not sure. They seemed of the same writing style of Freese and one was written in past tense (as if Freese had died) so I'm leaning more towards the fact that it could be a projection of sorts.

Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers is so much more than a memoir. It's a study of life and love and shattered pieces of the soul that somehow make up a person. It's a self-analysis with as much honesty as can be given, each tile laid out to create the whole.

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What's Next, Wednesday (4)

 
  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.
 
29102322

I'm looking forward to...
 
Doing Germany: Book 2 by Agnieszka Paletta. Once upon a time I reviewed Doing Germany and found it hilarious and entertaining. Of course, I'm expecting the same from the (stand alone) sequel. This time Paletta discusses motherhood and other new adventures while discovering Germany.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (211)

TeaserTuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm/Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers


28762709

Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers (Kindle 71%)
   - Mathias Freese

Within a week or two, my hearing returned to normal. What a curious symptom, a deafness that departed when tended to.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Thing Is

28966786Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancĂ©, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.


*May Contain Spoilers*
 
Dogs have always seemed like part of the family to me. I've had at least one pet dog since I was a little girl and my parents bred Dalmatians. However, I tend to stay away from pet focused novels because they seem to end in tragedy and tears. The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard may certainly bring tears to a few readers, hopefully the reaction will be caused by the uplifting and heartfelt storyline.
 
Meredith and Prozac are the main characters of this novel. Meredith is a woman who lost the love of her life to a one-in-a-million situation and now she can't move on. She's incredibly depressed, has no idea who she is anymore, and hides herself from the world. Readers will sympathize with Meredith undoubtedly. It's heartbreaking to hear about those things happening, even more so when you get all the details. Readers will definitely be praying for Meredith to find peace with what has happened and move back into the world of the living. And Prozac will certainly help with that.
 
Prozac is a cute little terrier who works as a Therapy Dog and some of the book is written from his point of view, which was quite a new perspective for me. Prozac is an intelligent dog who has been around the block for the last thousand years or more. He's been reincarnated so many times it's hard to keep track, but he works hard to complete his missions, even if he doesn't know what those missions are exactly. Readers will certainly like Prozac's personality, they may even laugh a little at his antics. They'll also see how much good Meredith is getting from Prozac, though she doesn't know it herself.
 
The novel begins with the night Kyle is killed and then jumps forward a few years to Meredith's depression. When Prozac's owner hurts her foot, Meredith is inadvertently volunteered for the job of taking care of him. Though she doesn't like dogs and is much too busy, Meredith does end up taking care of Prozac, who guides her back to her life. The book as a whole is quite inspirational and an easy one to read. The only thing I didn't like was how a few of the characters treated each other, especially Judge Thea. Though, I suppose the story has to have a villain. The ending was also a little sad, but with more focus on the good than the bad. It definitely made me hug my dog a little tighter afterwards and made me want to share a picture of her with all of you.
 
 
 
Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What's Next, Wednesday (3)

 
  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.
 
28762709

I'm looking forward to...
 
Tessarae: A Memoir of Two Summers by Mathias B Freese
 
Freese is writer of beautiful prose and ironic mischief. I've reviewed one of his books before and this one just came out so of course I want to get my hands on it. Encompassing distance and time and friends and family this book promises to share a deep understanding with its readers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (210)

TeaserTuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm/Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

28966786

The Thing Is (Kindle 72%)
     - Kathleen Gerard

My life with Meredith had been no picnic, but how could she do that to me? How could she let Helen down and cast me off into the surrendered dog system--only to be snatched up someday and cared for by a perfect stranger?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mabel Crowley: Book One

25834601Mabel Crowley, the only child of a wealthy English banker, wants nothing more than to be rid of her last name and wed her first love, stable-boy Charlie Archer, whose own hopes reside in becoming a partner in his father’s livery yard. Her parents forbid the union and whisk the impulsive child away to Bath so that she might forget her troubles. Distraught and vowing that she will never love again, Mabel impulsively accepts a teaching position while on vacation in Bath, certain that this will ensure her spinsterhood and prove her undying love for Charlie.

Irene Hartley, a five-year-old student desperately in love with her new teacher, persuades her parents to offer Mabel a position as governess to their growing brood. Her father is Theodore Hartley, the obscenely wealthy and renowned railroad tycoon. Theodore sees how his daughter has grown attached to Mabel, and after his wife dies in childbirth, he makes Mabel an offer of a permanent nature to make his eldest daughter happy. Still madly in love with Charlie, Mabel returns home to find out whether he has carried the same love in his heart in the years they’ve been apart. She finds him boarding a train, in uniform, ready to serve his country in World War I. Will she act once again on impulse, or will she make her decision based on hope for her future?
 
*May Contain Spoilers*
 
E.H. Nolan begins an epic tale of love and sacrifice with Mabel Crowley: Book One. Finding one's first love is always a life changing experience, but when it's true, that love never ends. Mabel and Charlie grew close as children and fell in love shortly thereafter. The differences in their social stations stopped them from joining their lives and each of them regret that decision every day.
 
Mabel Crowley is an emotional young girl at the beginning of the book. She has fanciful whims that often lead to passionate focus. She falls in love with Charlie and fears it is unreciprocated while her parents push her to understand that he's beneath her in social status. Readers will witness Mabel's growth into an intelligent young woman in this first book. Through heartbreak, Mabel finds that teaching is a respectable and fulfilling position. Readers will enjoy her love for children and understand her decision to remain unmarried, though we all hope she'll end up with Charlie in the end. As Mabel turns from teacher to governess, readers see her blossom into a loving and deeply caring woman. This lays a strong foundation that book two will surely build upon.
 
Since Charlie fell in love with Mabel, he's had eyes for no one else. Charlie is the heir of Archer and Sons, a business that boards horses and offers riding lessons. Charlie is a down to earth gentleman, focused and level-headed. Mabel is the only woman he has ever wanted but he's convinced himself that she's married and happy and has forgotten all about him. Readers will understand this line of thinking as it offers Charlie a chance to move on, but we know the truth. It seems that Mabel and Charlie are meant to be but will Nolan write them together or are the next installments filled with more heartache?
 
The love story of Mabel and Charlie seems doomed at the end of book one, but readers will be hoping for a miracle. After tragedy strikes, Mabel is offered a position to inherit a fortune and three children. It seems perfect but it comes with heavy stipulations. Meanwhile, Charlie is off to war to defend his country. Surely if there are four more books then Charlie doesn't meet death like everyone believes he will. The cliffhanger ending certainly adds an air of mystery and nervousness to the novel. The only thing I didn't like about the story is that I felt like it was being told to me instead of making me feel like I was part of it. The writing style is clear and concise, without a lot of flair or dramatics. Readers who enjoy easy reads with simple semantics will like Mabel Crowley as it has just enough action to keep readers engaged and a love story that resonates with many.
 
Rating: 3/5 Cups