November Book Reviews

Gosh November just flew by, I read lots – did lots and finished ahead of schedule my online class. So now I’m ready to get back into blogging. In November I read quite a few books and here is a recap of them.

Unexpected Love by Kristy Kryszczak

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Unexpected Love was a short fast book to read. It was sweet and predictable and a bit unrealistic but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed this book and how the story unfolded. I’m happy with the ending even if it was a stretch. The characters were well developed and while a certain one I couldn’t stand I liked most and wish I knew Parkson family (well minus the one son Jason). Jimmy was the best and my favorite character, he reminded me of a friend I had in high school. He was  a sweet guy with a heart of gold. Inez was a good character but not a strong girl. Sometimes I just wish she would have been a stronger lead. She was a bit wishy-washy but OK. Overall I would totally recommend this book to anyone looking for some light reading over a vacation or holiday.

summary: As a young woman living in the wondrous city of New York, Inez Champlain has always aspired to be like Carrie from Sex and the City, sans the tulle skirts and poor financial decisions, of course. Inez has it all: great friends, her dream job as a notable beauty writer, a studio loft on the Upper East Side, and no messy romantic drama to get in the way. But life takes a surprising turn when Inez catches the eye of the charming and handsome Jason Parkson, who fearlessly introduces himself the moment he sees her. Romance is the last thing on Inez’s mind, but there is something about Jason she can’t resist, and before long she’s hooked—that is, until she’s introduced to his brother, Jimmy…

Hindsight by Mindy Tarquini

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I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about reincarnation, or if I did the title is escaping me and I don’t remember. Hindsight  is an interesting book and I enjoyed it. This book had lots of humor mixed in with thought-provoking conversation starting ideas. While I’m not a real believer in reincarnation who am I to say it doesn’t happen. That didn’t make the book a miss for me. I enjoyed the writing style, connected with the characters and really enjoyed this book. I would recommend or loan this one to my friends and hope that they liked it as much as I did.

summary: Eugenia  Panisporchi lives with her Mother – Teaches Chaucer, and remembers all her past lives. She is desperate to change her future… 

 

 

Found by Emily Brett

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Found was a good book just not a favorite from my November reads. While I liked the characters OK the writing style just didn’t click with me.  I liked the idea of Found  but felt it could have had a bit more suspense. I really thought it would be very suspenseful based on the cover. One “accident” OK, two and I’m like well that’s weird but more than that I’m and like come on seriously. How did she have no clue that something wasn’t right? Would I recommend this one? Maybe I think it really depends on the reader on whether or not its a hit or miss. I’m glad I had the chance to read it and would try another book by the author if she writes more.

summary: Twenty-seven-year-old ICU nurse Natalie Ulster has a desire to see the world, in case she dies young like her mother, and a need to heal, which is compensation for her own damaged heart. Armed with an independence and self-reliance that stems from her father’s emotional abandonment—and wanting to separate herself from a deranged nurse whose husband just died under suspicious circumstances on Natalie’s watch…

In the Heart of Texas by Ginger McKnight – Chavers

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In the Heart of Texas was hands down my absolute favorite from November book stack. This book was so good and I’ve already loaned it out so I could share this little gem with friends and family. In the Heart of Texas was pure chick lit enjoyment and entertainment and I was sad to see the end. I will read more by this debut author and hope she continues to write more great stories that really capture the reader. The writing was very easy to read and flowed well. The characters were fully developed and I liked them a lot. The family and situations that she got herself into were the best and I loved her crazy family. This is perfect for some light hearted fun holiday and vacation reading. Grab a copy of this one and sit back and enjoy…

summary: Pitched as a poor man s Halle Berry, forty-one-year-old soap star Jo Randolph, has successfully avoided waiting tables since she left Midland, Texas at eighteen. But then, in the span of twenty-four hours, Jo manages to lose her job, burn her bridges in Hollywood, and accidentally burn down her lover/director s beach house after which she is shipped home to Texas by her agent to stay out of sight while she sorts out her situation. The more Jo reluctantly reconnects with her Texas roots and the family and friends she left behind, the more she regains touch with herself as an artist and with what is meaningful in life beyond the limelight…

Size Matters by Cathy Novak

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Size Matters is a small little book and very quick book to read. It felt like it was more of a novella than a novel and I think that might have hurt it a bit. I just felt that it was wrapping up just as it was beginning so I never really had a chance to connect with the characters. I really think and wish this had been a bit longer and more in-depth. The chapters jumped from one to another character wise and that isn’t always my favorite type of reading since it can get confusing at times. Overall this was a no for me and while I might recommend it I just not sure who to.

summary: John Frederick is a man of considerable substance, in every sense of the word. Rich, intelligent, reclusive, and very large, John Frederick lives to eat. His everyday needs are tended to by Mrs. Floyd, his house manager, and by a never-ending parade of personal chefs. Enter Lexie Alexander, the latest applicant for that once-again vacant position. A young woman of magical sensibilities, fresh out of culinary school and still recovering from a recent personal tragedy…

So overall it was a hit and miss month but still a good reading month. Here’s to hoping December is all  hits!

Thank you BookSpark Fall Reading Challenge for allowing me to read and review: In the Heart of Texas, Unexpected Love, Hindsight, Found and Size Matters. All thoughts and opinions were my own and not influenced by the free books.

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October Non Fiction Wrap up

I have read several memoirs over the month and thought I’d share them with you all. I’m not a big fan of the non fiction but feel I should read more of them so I’m trying really hard to expand my genre reading into non fiction as well. Here are the ones I’ve read from about last week in September through now.

 

Body 2.0: Finding My Edge Through Loss and Mastectomy by Krista Hammberbacher Haapala

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To honor her mother’s deathbed advice to head off breast cancer to “be there” for her boys, Krista Hammerbacher Haapala chose to trade healthy breasts for longevity and peace of mind. In Body 2.0, Haapala chronicles the personal research, medical process, bodily changes, and the emotional toll involved in the more than two-year odyssey of what she referred to as her “Body 2.0 vision quest.”

My Thoughts: This one was really hard to read, this is a topic no girl wants to think about. It is a scary subject and right now my cousin is going through her own battle with cancer so this one touched me and I couldn’t put down. I remember when some celebrities did the testing and preventative surgeries and people were all mad. I always thought why are you mad I’d do it to if I found out I had the cancer gene. This book is the story of an amazing journey and very courageous woman. I can’t imagine what all her and her family had to go through. Her memoir lets us have a glimpse into the journey and I thank her for that. Body 2.0 is an emotional raw book and one I will not be able to get out of my head.

 

Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters by Lizbeth Meredith

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In 1994, Lizbeth Meredith said good-bye to her four- and six year-old daughters for a visit with their non-custodial father—only to learn days later that they had been kidnapped and taken to their father’s home country of Greece. Twenty-nine and just on the verge of making her dreams of financial independence for her and her daughters come true, Lizbeth now faced a $100,000 problem on a $10 an hour budget. For the next two years—fueled by memories of her own childhood kidnapping—Lizbeth traded in her small life for a life more public, traveling to the White House and Greece, and becoming a local media sensation in order to garner interest in her efforts.

My Thoughts: Every Mothers Worse Nightmare! This book was my nightmare, I read scary fiction but this has to be the scariest thing I’ve read. I remember the movie Not Without My Daughter with Sallie Field this book while it reminded me of that it was very different story. This is Lizbeth’s story about she wasn’t going to give up the fight to have her girls back home. She didn’t go down quietly and with out a fight she took her voice all the way to Washington to be heard. She fought for stricter laws to protect this from happening to other families. I am so honored to have read her journey and so happy it had a happy ending.

Stepmother by Marianne Lile

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Stepmother tells the story of Marianne Lile, who met a man, fell in love, got married, and arrived home from the honeymoon with a new label: stepmom. It was a role she initially embraced—but she quickly discovered she was alone in a difficult situation, with no handbook and no mentor. Here, Lile describes the complexities of the stepmom position, in a family and in the community, and shares her experience wearing a tag that is often misunderstood and weighed down by the numerous myths in society.

My Thoughts: Finally something a little light hearted after reading some very heavy books. She lays it out exactly how it really is. It’s not always peaches and roses and all stepmoms are not like the horrible ones Disney always portrays them as. While step parents and blended families will really love this memoir and get a lot out of it you don’t have to be in the situation to enjoy this book. There is insight and humor sprinkled throughout her story. She doesn’t come across as preachy and “I have all the answers”. I really enjoyed this one and the message is spot on for any family. In the end love for family is all that matters no matter how you became family.

Miracle at Midlife: A Transatlantic Romance by Roni Beth Tower

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They first meet in Paris in the spring of 1996. David is a divorced American attorney living on a converted barge moored on the banks of the Seine; Roni Beth is an empty-nested clinical and research psychologist working from her home in Connecticut. Now in their fifties, both have signed off on loving again—until they meet each other. Miracle at Midlife tells the inspiring story of Roni Beth and David’s intense and transformative transatlantic courtship.

My Thoughts: Overall I enjoyed it maybe it wasn’t a favorite but it was good. I’m not a big romance reader so I guess that even goes with non fiction also. I did like how they were able to overcome so much and find love. This book shows you that no matter what your age, background or geographic location love can find  you in the most surprising places. Many themes throughout this sweet love story: hope, courage, loss and renewal. I enjoyed their story and happy they found happiness.

Thank you She Writes Press, and BookSpark Magic of a Memoir for sending me all these non fiction books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books. 

In the Game: The Highs and Lows of a Trailblazing Trial Lawyer

by Peggy Garrity

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If youre a fan of former O.J. Simpson prosecuting attorney, Marcia Clark, you will love this memoir by Peggy Garrity as Marcia has hailed the book as a riveting memoir. Including compelling courtroom dramas featuring would-be presidential assassin Sara Jane Moore, celebrities Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, and Cheryl Tiegs, and some of Los Angeles’s most notorious murder cases, In the Game is the groundbreaking story of a thrill-seeking solo trial lawyer—and single mother—who beat the odds at a time when working mothers, especially those in male-dominated professions like the law, faced the gauntlet of discrimination.

So this year ( and really every year) I made a resolution to read more Non Fiction and classics. It is now October and I’m just know tackling the Non Fiction part of that reading resolution. I have a good stack of non fictions and I can’t wait to share them with you.  Non Fiction books are usually not my cup of tea but I thought this might be a good one to start off with seeing that I love a good crime drama. In the Game: The Highs and Lows of a Trailblazing Trial Lawyer was just what I needed to really get into this stack of books. Peggy Garrity is a fighter and she isn’t going to back down when she is pushed against a wall. She is a tough women who needed to be in a man’s world job. She was faced with  work place discrimination, chauvinism. I would hope that in today’s world she wouldn’t experience this but who knows. I enjoyed reading her point of view on her high profile cases and many big name celebrity names were dropped. Overall I really enjoyed this behind the scenes look into the legal world.

thank you BookSpark The Magic of a Memoir, Peggy Garrity and She Writes Press for allowing me to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book. 

Army Wife A Story of Love and Family in the Heart of the Army

by Vicky Cody

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From the last days of the Vietnam War to the present-day war on terrorism, this story is a moving and poignant tribute to love, marriage, family, and the men and women who serve this nation. In describing her thirty-three-year journey as an Army wife, Cody gives an in-depth look at what it takes to keep a marriage strong, raise a family—oftentimes as a single parent—create a home, and face separations and loneliness amid the uncertainty and stresses that are so much a part of Army life. Full of humor and honesty, Army Wife brings the reader into Cody’s private life in a very personal way, and in doing so opens the lens for a broader view of world events.

I grew up a Air Force Brat so I knew this would be interesting. While I know the kid point of view of military life by reading this I kinda got to see what my mom’s life was like as a military wife. Army Wife  is a memoir that all readers would enjoy you don’t have to be from a military background.  If you have ever been curious about or know some one in the military you might really find this one interesting. Some of the aspects of course were very different since we were Air Force. Also some military families live a very different life since the pay is low for enlistees many wives have to work also or just want to work to get out there and meet people since your constantly moving and making new friends. I wish my one Army Wife friend still lived just a few doors down I would have loved to have gotten her thoughts and opinions on this book before I posted the review.

On a side note: I was suppose to receive The Sportscaster’s Daughter by Cindi Michael  but I just got an empty envelope so no review of this book. 

Millions of people watched sportscaster George Michael each week on the Sports Machine, including his daughter Cindi. Cindi Michael appears to live a charmed life: she’s happily married, has a successful career, and is a loving mom to two wonderful children. Yet she longs for a father who hasn’t spoken to her in twenty years, and even secretly watches him on TV when the longing becomes unbearable.
 thank you BookSpark The Magic of a Memoir, Vicky Cody and She Writes Press for allowing me to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book. 

Appetite

by Sheila Grinell

Appetite is Sheila Grinell’s debut novel and it was a really great entry into the fiction field. First off I have to say I loved all the Indian Mehndi designs in the corner of each beginning chapter, it made me want to grab my colored pencils and markers and start coloring. It was a wonderful little surprise to see the designs they were all so beautiful and really added to the book. Now on to Appetite story line, I will say I went thinking it sounds OK. However this book grabbed me with in the first few pages and kept me reading. She does a great job at giving the character’s full dimension and explains their personalities. I will say right off the bat I can’t stand Jenn’s parents Paul and Maggie. Oh my stars they are so stuck up and selfish. They are rude and can’t see that their daughter is so happy with Arun. They won’t give him even a chance to see who he really is, they have already formed their opinions and nothing is going to change that. They really have no right to pass judgement considering how they live. However they written very realistic and while they made me so mad through out the book. I was just ready for them to drop their walls and really get to know Jenn and Arun for who they were. The family had there issues but I know in the end the parents thought they were doing what was right for their daughter even if it wasn’t their decision to make. Jenn was a spunky girl who has found her own path in life and its a humanitarian path. What she doesn’t make in money she makes up for in the fact that she knows she is making an impact and helping people who need her. Arun is the head of the place where Jenn works and their’s was a workplace love and that they both wanted the same things for the families they were helping. This book is almost like a year in the life and I loved all the glimpse’s I got to see. Every family has it’s problems and dysfunction so this one was no different. In the end I think they all found their own happiness and followed their own path. I really hope the author Sheila Grinell writes more her book was good and very easy to read.

summary: When Jenn Adler returns from a year in India, she has a surprise for her parents: a young guru from Bangalore whom she intends to marry. Her father, Paul, is wary of this “beggar” Jenn has brought home—who, he suspects, is conning his much-loved daughter—while her mother, Maggie, is frightened that this alien stranger will steal away her only child, her focus in life.

In the months leading up to the backyard wedding, Maggie is forced to reevaluate her virtues as she casts about for support, and Paul faces an unexpected threat at work—one that Maggie could help him meet, if he would only ask. But even with these distractions, the two parents are focused on one primary question: Can they convince their daughter she is making a terrible mistake before the wedding takes place?

thank you BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge, She Writes Press and Sheila Grinell for allowing me to read and review Appetite. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.