Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Audio Love

I am sitting on a pile of audio books that all sound incredibly amazing to me. I've started three of them. Here's a little bit of info on the gems that have been sent to me to review.

We are not ourselves by Matthew Thomas
This novel is getting a lot of attention. It is a debut novel full of engrossing drama and family dynamics. Narrated by actress Mare Winningham, whom I love. 

One Kick by Chelsea Cain
A new thriller for her. Stand alone. If you want a thrill, this would be for you.

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
I am probably one of the only people left in the universe that has not read Art of Racing in the Rain. Well, I'm making up for it by LOVING this book. Narration not so tight yet but I can tell the story is going to be really good. 

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
I am a huge fan of Westerfeld's Uglies series so I was really excited to have an opportunity to check out another teen book of his. Haven't started this one yet but am really looking forward to it!


Happy Listening and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blog Tour Kick Off and Giveaway! Solomon's Whisper by Sandra Brannan

Solomon's Whisper (Book 5 in the Liv Bergen series) 
by Sandra Brannan

As Liv Bergen investigates the long-ago murder of her niece, she uncovers a well-guarded secret—and stumbles into one the most prolific killer she’s faced yet.
Once an amateur sleuth, Liv “Boots” Bergen has now found her footing as an official FBI agent. It should be Liv’s dream career—she’s working closely with a bureau legend, Agent Streeter Pierce, as well as the exotic Agent Jack Linwood, with whom she shares a growing romance. Liv has proven to be an adept agent, and the whole office has been moved to a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in central Denver.
And yet, doubt plagues her. Liv is tormented by the knowledge that her work with the FBI could endanger her extended family—and has almost resolved to leave the bureau as a result. Agent Streeter Pierce, who harbors an affection for Liv that sometimes transcends the professional, comes up with an unorthodox plan to keep her around: she can investigate a cold case that’s especially important to her, the kidnapping and murder of her ten-year-old niece, Brianna.
Liv jumps at the chance, but her focus on finding Brianna’s killer is soon diluted. Piece by piece, the case reveals itself to be just one point in a harrowing series of murders. Spanning decades and the country, the web of crime Liv uncovers causes her to question everything—including the integrity of her own colleagues. (author website)
I'm told there will be 7 books in this series and I am grateful to have been a part of recommending them to a world of readers. I met the author back in 2010 at the Book Expo in NYC. We were both  new to that scene but hit it off and I, in turn, became a huge fan of her books. I am lucky to have been able to "kick off", so to speak, her blog tours of the last four books and I couldn't imagine not doing it again this  year. So here I am.
My reading and blogging pace has definitely slowed in the last few years but I am still an active reader and recommender of all the literary things I love. I am happy to report the all the Liv Begen fans out there, that #5 is a winner. I've liked all of the books but only the first and the fourth so far have really WOWED me. 
Book 5 Solomon's Whisper is just as personal as Noah's Rainy Day, this time dealing with the disappearance and the murder of her niece. I liked that family angle again, it brought even more depth to Liv's character. We see more of a romantic side to Liv, with her relationship with Jack and her partnership with Streeter in the FBI. She's not as clunky as she has been in past books. She is quick witted and becomes a bit more sure of her role, having now become an official agent with the FBI. And the ending? Well, that I did NOT expect. 
It's necessary to read these books in order, because of the simple evolution of Liv's character  and her relationships with those around her. This book is a bit dark dealing with child abduction, murder, rape and pedophilia. It's tough at times but any good thriller is going to have a bit of that graphic nature in it. 
If you are new to Sandra's books, check out my past reviews. In the Belly of Jonah, Lot's Return to Sodom, Widow's Might, and Noah's Rainy Day.
Sandra has a lot of fun things going on in conjunction with the release of this book. She has a fantastic giveaway going on.
*Readers, you may choose to enter to win either an Amazon Fire or a Nook Glo Light, along with a piece of Black Hills Gold Jewelry (worth $50).
Please leave a comment if interested and an email address. Winners will be chosen by September 2! 
Find out more about these great books and the author at the links below.

Author Links below:
Author Website
Facebook

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Whew. Here I am!

Wow. Okay. It's been almost two months since I posted. Sheesh. Summer is busy and blogging is NOT  happening. But I have been reading...kind of. I've been listening a lot more than reading but I feel like I'm still maintaining a literary life. :)

For my reading pleasure, I finished a few books...not anything overly stellar. I'm still waiting for that!
Out of Bounds by Dawn Ryder. I signed on to do an erotica review and well, I'm just not that into you. Sorry, erotica genre. You will have to go. I tried. I really tried.

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson. This was fun. Read it for my book club. It made me extremely hungry! Love my foodie memoirs.

Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert. HUGE Little House of the Prairie fan so I obviously loved reading this one.

Coreygography by Corey Feldman. He was not my favorite Corey. I'm Team Haim all the way but this memoir opened my eyes up to him as a person and now I feel much differently towards. Very smart, well put together memoir about the realities of being a child star.

For my listening pleasure, I've been a bit busier.
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. WOW! How amazing this was. So spooky, so thrilling. Really hard to get out of my car while listening to this! Highly recommended.

Reality Boy by A.S. King
This was a sad tale of a very dysfunctional family. Narrator was right on but it was not a fun listen. I ended up hating just about everyone in there.

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
I've listened to her books before and they have always had amazing narrators. This was a downer of a book but really well told and written.

Telling it like it is by Tori Spelling
I had to do it. It was a quick listen narrated by her and it was super dramatic and over the top but pretty fun to listen to.

Fun literary news. I met Hilary Clinton last month at a book signing. Bought at copy of her book Hard Choices and got it autographed. Very fun. Very memorable event. :)

I am not saying yes to reviewing any books this summer or maybe early fall, just trying to enjoy what I have.

Hope all is well with all of you!

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child









Saturday, June 14, 2014

So...

I have been slowing reading and listening to what's on my list these days. I'm definitely at a slower pace than I have been in years past but I'm enjoying what I'm reading for the most part. What I'm not enjoying however is reviewing. I've hit the wall. I don't have anything to say about it aside from "I liked this book", "It was enjoyable" or "Meh. Wasn't for me". I've been doing this blogging thing for 5 years now and well, it's lost its shine. I'm not saying I'm going anywhere but reviews won't be so frequent anymore. Not that they have been lately. I've enlisted my guest reviewers to fill some time and I'm thankful to them!

Here's what I have read and listened to that is worth mentioning.

Love Life by Rob Lowe. LOVED it. Another fun memoir to listen to read by Mr. Lowe himself.
Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo. Really intense Amish thriller that I listened to. Really enjoy this series. First time listening to it on audio.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. AMAZING book. Enough said. I've recommended it to SO many. Definite recommend!
We Were Liars by e. lockhart. WOW! Just wow.

I will still pop in and post and update what I am reading and check out you all as well. I'm reading more chapter books with my son so you may see more of those kinds of reviews/updates these day. I'll continue to post comment on Facebook as well. Little bit easier to manage a "review" in a few short sentences than a larger review.

I'm going to hold off saying "yes" to book requests as well. I'm just falling behind on those obligatory reads and it ends up feeling like homework. Not good!

Thanks for stopping by and sticking around. My mood will pass I'm sure. We all need a recharge every once and awhile, right?!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

 red headed book child

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TLC Book Tour: The Year she left us by Kathryn Ma


The Year She Left Us











"The Kong women are in crisis. A disastrous trip to visit her “home” orphanage in China has plunged eighteen-year-old Ari into a self-destructive spiral. Her adoptive mother, Charlie, a lawyer with a great heart, is desperate to keep her daughter safe. Meanwhile, Charlie must endure the prickly scrutiny of her beautiful, Bryn Mawr–educated mother, Gran—who, as the daughter of a cultured Chinese doctor, came to America to survive Mao’s Revolution—and her sister, Les, a brilliant judge with a penchant for ruling over everyone’s lives.
As they cope with Ari’s journey of discovery and its aftermath, the Kong women will come face-to-face with the truths of their lives—four powerful, intertwining stories of accomplishment, tenacity, secrets, loneliness, and love. Beautifully illuminating the bonds of family and blood, The Year She Left Us explores the promise and pain of adoption, the price of assimilation and achievement, the debt we owe to others, and what we owe to ourselves. Full of pathos and humor, featuring a quartet of unforgettable characters, it marks the debut of an important new voice in American fiction."

My Review: 
I was really looking forward to this book because I have enjoyed stories about Chinese culture, history and the role of women within all of that in other novels. The author clearly had an understanding of Chinese women with how vivid her descriptions of them were. International adoption was also fascinating to me and the stereotypes of  well to do Americans adopting Chinese girls was explored as well in this story and seemed like something the author knew well. 

Because this was about three very different women and three very different perspectives, it helped that every chapter had a different voice. Sometimes that can get confusing or redundant but in this case, it helped flesh out the characters a bit more. and Ma did it quite well. Gran, yet quite a stinker, was a character I liked the best. Charlie was a bit wishy-washy but overall she was what she was. Ari was the one you were supposed to feel for. Unfortunately, my opinion overall was the book lacked depth. The author obviously was knowledgeable  about international adoption and what it is like to be Chinese living in an American culture.

I hoped for more. I hoped to enjoy it more. Overall, it was written with an obvious understanding for these characters. I just wished for a bit more depth.

See the stops below for more opinions, which is what reading is all about!

For other opinions...

Tuesday, May 13th: Books in the City
Thursday, May 22nd: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, May 27th: River City Reading
Wednesday, May 28th: A Patchwork of Books
Monday, June 2nd: Drey’s Library
Tuesday, June 3rd: BookNAround
Monday, June 9th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, June 10th: red headed book child
Wednesday, June 11th: Olduvai Reads
Thursday, June 12th: Book-alicious Mama
Friday, June 13th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, June 13th: Turn the Page
Tuesday, June 17th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, June 19th: The Infinite Shelf

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, May 30, 2014

Guest Review - The Lincoln Myth by Steve Berry

Guest Review – The Lincoln Myth by Steve Berry 

September, 1861: All is not as it seems. With these cryptic words, a shocking secret passed down from president to president comes to rest in the hands of Abraham Lincoln. And as the first bloody clashes of the Civil War unfold, Lincoln alone must decide how best to use this volatile knowledge: Save thousands of American lives? Or keep the young nation from being torn apart forever?

The present: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers, whose 19th century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end, have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., the official investigation of a international entrepreneur, an elder in the Mormon church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent, missing in action, has fallen into the hands of a dangerous zealot – a man driven by divine visions to make a prophet’s words reality. And in a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase.

All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict – a constitutional war secretly set in motion over 200 years ago by America’s Founding Fathers.

From the streets of Copenhagen to the catacombs of Salzburg to the rugged mountains of Utah, the grim specter of the Civil War looms as a dangerous conspiracy gathers power. Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln —- while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.

Cheryl’s review: 

I’ve been a huge fan of Steve Berry for years and had the pleasure of meeting him (briefly) at BEA a few years ago. I enjoy the conspiracy-theory-fast-paced novels that suck you in, and he always does.

Cotton Malone returns in The Lincoln Myth as do numerous other characters in the series. Cotton gets involved in a race against time, this time in a conspiracy that could change the United States forever. Berry does extensive research and takes facts and spins a tale that make you think “what if?” What if Abraham Lincoln really did what happens in the novel? What if how we think of the “united” states really hangs in the balance?

What Berry also does is develop his characters. Though the same people, circumstances and events change who they are to themselves and to each other. The twists and turns in this mystery will affect the characters in future books. The book is a perfect summer read and as always, it will be hard to wait another year to see what he comes up with next.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Guest Review: Desperate by Daniel Palmer


Cheryl returns to review Daniel Palmer's fourth book.


“Gage Dekker still blames himself for the car accident that claimed the lives of his first wife and young son. Then he meets Anna, who understands grief all too well. Within a year, Gage and Anna are married, his career is thriving, and both feel ready to become parents once more.

After a heartbreaking miscarriage, they begin the long adoption process, until fate brings Lily into their lives. Young, pregnant, and homeless, Lily agrees to give her baby to Gage and Anna in exchange for financial support. It’s the perfect arrangement for everyone. Seeing his wife’s happiness and optimism for their new life and child, Gage begins to feel a sense of hope he thought he’d lost forever.

But something isn’t right once Lily enters their lives. At work and at home, Gage is being sabotaged, first in subtle ways, then things take a more sinister turn. Every attempt he makes to uncover the truth only drives a wedge between him and Anna. Even as he’s propelled toward an unthinkable choice to save his marriage and his job, Gage discovers that the most chilling revelations are still to come…”

This is Palmer’s fourth book, and my fourth review of his books. He is cemented in my “I-really-look-forward-to-the-next-book” author list. And he doesn’t disappoint. I’ve mentioned his growth in writing in my previous reviews, and he continues to get better. When I started Desperate, I had no idea what it was about. I received an advanced copy which has quotes and blurbs but no description. As I read, I was continually stumped as to where the book was going, just the way I like a mystery.

What Palmer excels at is taking ordinary people and putting them in situations that push them to their limits, and then beyond. For happy newlyweds who want a baby, the coincidental meeting of a young, pregnant woman with no place to go is almost too good to be true. But as the planning begins, little things seem a little off to Gage. But his desire to start a family with his beautiful bride leads him to ignore his qualms. Until certain incidents force him to make a life-changing choice.

Like his other books, Palmer continually surprised me in this book. He is talented in leading you in a specific direction. As an avid mystery reader, I know that authors purposely divert you down a different path. Palmer does that very well, but always spins things into a different and unexpected direction and up until the very end, there were twists and turns. I like how he does this because even though there may be little hints, there’s often revelations that seemingly come out of nowhere but are very believable. Gage continually makes choices that dig him deeper, even though he knows he might never get out. As you experience Gage’s situation with him, you think about what you would do in the same situation.

Desperate is a fast-paced read, which I pretty much finished in a day. As always, the biggest disappointment is knowing that I have to wait a year until the next one. I put Daniel Palmer in the same group as authors like Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay, Thomas Perry, and Rick Mofina. He’s an author that is addicting and rarely (if ever) writes a book that doesn’t leave me wanting more.
 
And check out my reviews of Stolen, Delirious, and Helpless.