Monday, April 30, 2012

Into the Free review

"Into the Free" by Julie Cantrell is an amazing book.  I read it in a day.  Could not put it down.  The characters are well developed; the plot sucks you in.  This is a really good book.  This book stars Millie as a girl living in Mississippi in the 40's.  She is the daughter of a half-Indian rodeo hero and a barely living preacher's daughter.  They live in the quarters on a 1,00 acre plantation.  Millie is what one might call white trash.  That may sound harsh, but you know how women can call other women "chick" and it's okay, but men can't?  Well, same goes here.  Millie is white trash.  Her dad is an alcoholic who regularly beats her mother into submission.  At one point leaving her for  dead.  Her mother is a morphine addict who is taken care of far more than she takes care of others.  Mid way through the book, Millie loses her parents and discovers their secrets.  In doing this she frees herself to become "Millie" and not another generation in a long line of victims.  I received this book from

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If you're lucky enough to be on the lake

I received "Blue Moon Bay" by Lisa Wingate for free from Bethany House Publishers.  This is a story you have probably read or watched (movie version) before under another name.  Weird girl makes good in business world, goes back to hometown, makes a mess of things and kisses the football hero she was in love with from high school.  The reason it has been done so often is because it's a good storyline that never seems to get old.  However, about halfway through this book things take a little different turn.  Heather goes back to her home town to see her family and try to get them to sell the family property.  She stands to make a lot of money in this deal.  Her mom is flighty and strange.  I never did grow to like her.  Her uncles are great; hometown atmosphere is funny; and her brother and his dog make an adorable pair.  Midway through the book, Ruth, Heather's babysitter from yesteryear, enters the story.  This character is amazing, I wish more of the book centered on her.  Heather (and the reader) is never really sure what is going on in the story til the end.  There are secrets everywhere and no one will tell the truth.  There is a big pivotal moment towards the end that I can't tell you about or it will spoil everything, which changes everything in Heather's life.  I liked this book.  Only thing I would change would be to incorporate Ruth in the story more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

fancy nancy grows up

You remember Fancy Nancy.  The girl who loves all things sequins and wordy.  The books that teach preschoolers vocabulary are now stepping up and teaching grade schoolers both language and problem solving.  Nancy Clancy is the Nancy Drew for the modern third grader.  In "Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth" by Jane O'Connor, Nancy is out to prove herself to be a prime detective with her sidekick Bree as they solve the many mysteries that plague the average third grade classroom.  She's pretty clever.
This book is in the 2-5 grade reading level.  It is a chapter book with few pictures.  I read it to my 1st grader.  My first grader is a Fancy Nancy fan and she was thrilled to be able to continue to read Fancy Nancy in chapter book form.  She looked forward to reading it every night and even discussed solving the crimes when she wasn't reading the book.  I give it 4 stars.  I received "Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth" for free from

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ghost of the ozarks

I received "Widow of Saunders Creek" by Tracey Bateman for free from  This is a wonderful ghost story for grown ups.  Saunders Creek is set in the Ozarks near Springfield.  Corrie has recently lost her husband to war in the Middle East and moves into his grandmother's old house in Saunders Creek to restore and live.  Eli, her cousin-in-law, is the contractor helping her remodel.  While Corrie is in the house she believes she is being visited by her late husband. While this is very comforting to her, Eli is exptremely alarmed.  Eli is also a minister and he doesn't believe in ghosts, but rather he believes in demons.  He is afraid for Corrie, that she will be led into the dark arts through her grief and need for comfort.  And so the war between good and evil over Corrie has begun. 
This novel is full of wiccans, postions, spirituality, and christianity.  Eli and his wiccan aunt struggle to claim Corrie for their own side of the spritual coin. Where his aunt is what one might call "a nut job"; Eli is what one might call a "stick in the mud".  It may come off as over the top for those readers who do not live anywhere near the Ozark Mountains, but I am one generation removed from the Springfield area myself.  There are no witches in my family, but about 3/4 of the women in my family classify themselves as "sensitive".  So I know that seeing ghosts is a regular thing and am not surprised at the regular occurance of it in the area.  I am Christian as well, so this book had its points to be made at both ends and was a tug for the reader (me) as well.
This is a great book.  I would recommend it for anyone who likes to be a little creeped out, but still be able to sleep at night.  I had not read Bateman before, but I will be looking her up now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

downfall review

Downfall by Terri Blackstock is sthe final novel in the Addiction series.  I have not read any of the previous books in the series, but come to find out that is not necessary.  The reader is given a bit of a backstory, and can completely follow the plot without having read any of the other books in the series. 
Downfall is about a recovering drug addict, Emily, who lives with her drama queen mother and her borderline ignored brother, Lance.  Her mom's boyfriend, Kent is a detective on the police force, which comes in handy with this family since they are always doing something illegal (or being blamed for illegal activity).  Emily, who works in a rehab center, gets caught in the crossfire of multiple murders and then framed for the murders.  She and Kent have to solve the crime without driving Emily over the edge and back into using drugs. 
This is a pretty good book.  I like when I can pick up a book and not have to read the rest of the series.  The mystery and plot was good.  I didn't figure out who the murderer was until about the last 1/4 of the book. It was a quick read.  Only fault I have is that the characters, though clear and detailed, where not easy to like.  The women where kinda dumb and the mom was like a pit bull when it came to drama.  If she could scream and cry, she would.  The men tended to be chronic hero-wanna-bes.  Though I don't think it's gonna be a classic, I will read Terri Blackstock again.  She was a pretty good read.  I received this book for free from

Friday, April 6, 2012

zee james

I am a bit of a history nut, so "The Woman Who Loved Jesse James" was right up my alley.  There are probably hundreds of books about Jesse James, his brother, even his mother, but rarely is his wife even mentioned.  I knew very little about her other than he had one.  Zee James is the focus of this novel. Zee is usually described as a blah person, dull, and just sort of "there".  This book tries to get into her head.  It shows an interesting side to the Jesse James story that won't be found elsewhere. It claimes to be completely fictional, but seems to do a pretty good job of following historical accounts I have read before.    It will also leave many women reading the book to be grateful they didn't marry that bad boy they were intested in in high school.  Jesse was not husband of the year, that is for sure.  I truly liked this book and highly recommend it.  I received "The Woman Who Loved Jesse James" by Cindi Myers for free from