Sunday, June 30, 2013

what a lake!

"Firefly Island" by Lisa Wingate is book #3 in the Moses Lake series.  These books do not need to be read in order to be understood and enjoyed.  I have read #2, but not #1.  Moses Lake is a very dramatically charged lake.  I have reviewed "Blue Moon Bay" and this is another politically dynamic novel.  The story centers on the same area and some of the characters intermix, but are not main characters or even side characters; they are mentioned.  Mallory is a working in DC when she meets Daniel on St Patrick's Day.  It is love at first sight.  Daniel, a single father, soon after the meeting, gets a job in Texas.  In a whirlwind romance and engagement, they are married and living in Texas with their son, Nick, two months later.  Mallory has a lot to learn about being on her own and living in the country.  The more she learns, the more she realizes that something is going on on Moses Lake.  She's just the woman to find out what.
This is a sort of Nancy Drew mystery for adults.  It's got romance, (step)parenting, farm life, small town affairs, you name it.  I really enjoyed this book.  This make two A books for Wingate and I will now be adding her to my list of must-read authors.  A-.  I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers.

Friday, June 28, 2013

german suitcase review

This  is a pageturner!  "The German Suitcase" by Greg Dinallo is a novel about a New York advertising woman who finds a suitcase in the trash and leads her to come up with a luggage sales idea.  The suitcase is discovered to be the lost bag of Jake Epstein, a Jewish doctor and Holocaust survivor.  The novel tells the story of Jake and his best friend Max, an SS officer, who is also a doctor and works undercover to save Jews. 
The book goes back and forth between present-day New York and WWII era Germany with each chapter taking a turn.  This is one of those books that you stay up to read into the night. You want to know what happens.  You wonder about it when you aren't reading it.  That being said, I didn't especially like the end.  For one thing, it never said how the luggage got in the trash in the first place.  However, this book is definitely worth the read. I highly recommend it.  A-.  I got this book for free from

Monday, June 24, 2013

Roosevelt Review

Theodore Roosevelt is one of my favorite presidents.  I had always thought his zest for life and go-get'em attitude was just the way he was.  I guess I was wrong.  "The making of Theodore Roosevelt" by Robert Louis DeMayo is a novel based on true to life events that tells the story of how Teddy went from being the snooty, wimpy, know-it-all to being the man we all know and love.  DeMayo follows Roosevelt from New York into the woods of Maine where he learned to care for himself and be a man.  His guide, Bill, and Bill's nephew Wilmot, take in Roosevelt and his two cousins to fish, hunt, and be manly.  Theodore keeps coming back.  He learned he was in his element.  An element he never knew existed. 
This book not only introduces the reader to the making of Roosevelt, but it also gives the reader and pleasant look at 19th Century Maine and the ways of living in the rough during those times.  At times I couldn't figure out why they were doing stuff; it sounded to me like a good way to die, but the men in the story found it to be a grand adventure.  I would think men would get more from reading this novel, simply because they would understand the whole do or die thing better.  The book is well written and well researched.  I wish the author had gotten inside Theodore's head a little more.  That is a personal preference.  I would give it a B+.  I received this book for free from the author through the website.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

cherries the review

"Cherries- A Vietnam War Novel" by John Podlaski is a work of fiction relying heavily on reality.  Podlaski served in Vietnam during 1970-1971 in the 25th Infantry and the 101st Airborne as did the main character John Kowalski, AKA "The Polack".  The novel follows the Polack through his year in Vietnam starting with the plane ride over and ending the same way.  The book starts off with the 25th and the Cherries, or beginners.  It continues to follow the 25th even after some are transferred to the 101st, but still keeps the Cherries in the storyline either by point of view or questioning. 
When you think of the Vietnam War the first thing you generally think of is the movie, "Platoon".  Well, it is similar, but it may not have been as theatrical as that. I really like this novel.  It didn't go by the stand-by Nam stuff that is usually portrayed.  It showed Vietnam through the eyes of a boy turning into a man.  It seemed well researched, though I did doubt some when it mentioned the river that Houdini drowned in (he didn't, btw), but that could have been a "error on purpose" since it is told through the eyes of a boy who probably got most of his history through movies.  "Cherries" tells the story, leaving no doubt in your mind that Vietnam was miserable, but doesn't go overboard in trying to impress you.  If you're looking for a thrill, this ain't it.  If you are looking for some personal history, than here you go.  A-.  The only reason I give it a minus is because the dialogue seemed a little forced in the beginning.  I received this book for free from

Saturday, June 15, 2013

unrivaled review

"Unrivaled" by Siri Mitchell was given to me for free from Bethany House Publishers.  The time is 1910 and Charlie and Lucy are knee deep in candy.  Charlie was abandoned by his father at the age of 7 and after living in poverty his whole life, goes to live with his father at the age of 21, discovering that his father has become a millionaire and the owner of a candy company.  Lucy is the daughter of their competitor.  The two meet and start a love/hate relationship as is typical with romance novels.  The story is fairly predictable for the most part.  There is a twist at the end that I didn't see coming.  I did like how the point of single mothers or mothers running the show due to incapability is shown throughout the novel.  The novel goes back and forth from each chapter showing the point of view of Charlie and Lucy.  I liked the Charlie viewpoint a lot better.  I wish the whole book had been told through his eyes.  I liked it, but did get a little tired of hearing about candy.  I give it a B-.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

a child's review

I read "Taeh goes to the Vet" by  Wendy Healy-Hindmarch to my 8 year old.  Honestly she didn't make it all the way through.  To be fair, it was a PDF version that I received, and she doesn't like digital books as a rule.  She said it was ok, but too long.  I don't know that it was too long, she's read longer, but it was very 'wordy'.  The story has great pictures and tells about a dalmatian named Taeh that has allergies and goes to the vet.  The author goes into the allergies quite a bit.  Maybe it should have been a generic visit to the vet, like kennel cough  and rabies vaccines; that would cut out the allergy part making it shorter.  Not a classic, but if your kid is getting ready to take an animal to the vet for the first time, it would be a decent read.  I received this book for free from


"Thanksgiving 1942" is the second in the WWII series by Alan Simon.  I have not read the first and didn't need to to follow this one.  The novel follows the Coleman family on Thanksgiving break of 1942, shortly before the older Coleman brothers go overseas in the USAAF.  Jonathan is the oldest Coleman and he is having woman problems.  Francine is his woman and she hasn't been the loyalest of girlfriends.  Joseph is the other brother headed for Europe and he is embarking on new love.  Marty is their cousin who is stationed in the Navy on the ocean.  Irene is the mama who is trying desperately to hang on to her little boys. 
This book is ok.  The characters are well developed, but there is no focal point in the plot.  The days pass and things are happening, but there is no main problem.  It's almost like a family journal.  There is some interesting research done and information included.  A WWII buff like myself would probably enjoy it, but the average person might find it a little boring.  I give it a C.  I received this book for free from

Saturday, June 8, 2013

all things new review

"All Things New" by Lynn Austin is a novel about post Civil War in the South.  The Weatherly's are the historical Bluth's only not funny, but just as delusional.  The Weatherlys are an antebellum family that has lost everything following the Civil War.  They have lost everything all the way down to one slave family and one horse and a few chickens.  And they have no clue what they are doing.  They don't know how to survive or take care of themselves in any way, nor do they want to.  The Weatherlys must change as well as the entire South if they are going to survive.
This book follows two family's points of view: the Weatherly's and the Otis's (former slaves).  It explores the frame of mind the two families have in order to deal with change.  The whites on reforming an entire way of life and the blacks on losing their slave state of mind.  The book is pretty good, but it runs long.  A lot of the middle could be taken out.  The pace could have been a little quicker too.  The idea of the novel is good.  It shows how mending the repercussions of slavery takes so long.  I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers.

Friday, June 7, 2013

hope- the devotion

"Hope- Four Week Mini Bible Study" by Heather Bixler is a devotional/bible study designed to teach hope.  Bixler is a writer whose husband is battling health problems.  This is her book on finding hope for that fight.  Each week consist of an opening story, a daily exercise, and closing discussion questions.  The week has a focus bible verse.  The daily exercises are the writing and reading of the weekly verse.

I don't usually read devotions much, so as far as the subject matter I don't have much to reflect on.  Hope is just as good a subject as any to study for 4 weeks, I guess.  What I really loved was the daily exercises.  You start off writing the verse once and then pick up the number of times as the week goes on with it phasing off at the end of the week.  The verse may not be totally memorized, but it is recognized and learned.  I especially liked where you were to read it in three different versions that you usually do.  By the end of the week you really knew what the verse meant.  I liked this book.  Give it a B.  I received this book for free from the author through her facebook group, Free Books for Review.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


May has been crazy.  Tons of family events, graduations, work has exploded with the ACs being turned on.  I had a step-daughter graduated with her Bachelors, a step-son leave for basic training in the Army, and had a niece get married in Mississippi.  Been busy.  I didn't feel like I read much; seemed to be too busy, but somehow, I managed to read 11 books.  Seven were real and three were digital.  My favorite was John Grisham's Calico Joe.  I love Grisham's non-law books.  I know they aren't as popular but they should be.  I have read some of his lawyer books, but I just don't care enough about law to read them all.  But what a writer!  I read all of his non lawyer ones and I love every one.  Here is my list:

Bread and Wine- Shauna Niequest (this is sort of a cookbook/food essay book)
Secrets- Robin Jones Gunn
Ultimate Marriage vow- Darlene Schacht
The Sky Beneath My Feet- Lisa Samson
High Country- Nevada Barr
Patriot Hearts- Barbara Hambly
Bold as Love- Bob Roberts Jr
A Matter of Trust- Lis Wiehl
Take a Chance on Me- Susan May Warren
Captured in Moonlight- Christine Lindsay
Calico Joe- John Grisham 

Off to June!