On my To Be Reviewed Stack!

On My To Be Reviewed Pile!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review – Stop Giving It Away by Cherilynn Veland

Title:  Stop Giving It Away: How to Stop Self-Sacrificing and Start Claiming Your Space, Power, and Happiness
Author:  Cherilynn Veland
Publication Date:  May 17, 2015

Book Description
Being caring and compassionate is important―but too many women allow the weight of others’ needs to press so hard on them that they find they often fail to speak up for what they want and need. And women do this all the time. It’s time for these women to stop worrying quite so much about everyone else―and start taking care of themselves

Book Review:  5 out of 5 stars

Finally a self-help book that explains what the heck I’ve been struggling with for 6 years!!  I’ve been In therapy for 2 years, and I think it allowed me to think about what Ms. Veland says with a bit more understanding than I would have approached it six years ago.

I like that the tone of the book is like one that you would get in therapy.  She breaks down the ideas and explains them to you, even informally.  She doesn’t use a medical dictionary with hard to understand concepts, which I feel is something that has put me off self-help books in the past.
Even after going through therapy, things didn’t make complete sense to me, until I read this book.  I realized my childhood and events that happened six years ago pushed me to a breaking point.  I knew something had happened, but didn’t understand what. 
And for this alone, it’s worth the price of admission folks.  To finally get an idea of why you think and feel the way you do, and how to get around those thoughts, how to finally dig out from the hole you’ve pushed yourself into is amazing.

I’ve been so moved by this book, I’m taking the action items, and even little throw-away tips Ms. Veland gives you throughout the book and have started using them in my journaling and using them for further inflection during my daily workouts.

As a mother of two children with Special Needs, I know the stress we’re under, the sacrifices we make, the way we’re left feeling, and I truly believe that every ASD mom/dad should read this!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Book Review - Exhuming Mary McCarthy by Jessica Lamirand

Title:  Exhuming Mary McCarthy
Author:  Jessica Lamirand
Publication Date:  March 10, 2015

Book Description
With her white patent leather platform shoes and love of the Pixies, no one would guess that dreamy Jessica's manual for life is Anne of Green Gables. In this memoir of extraordinary honesty, Jessica journeys through college and the deep bonds of friendship that propel her out of her shell and into a new world. As a shy, sheltered teen, Jessica realizes, as soon as she enters Colorado College, that her fantasy world has not prepared her for the realities of life at this freewheeling academic oasis. Lost, she bonds with six girls in her dorm who dub themselves “The Group” after Mary McCarthy's bestselling 1963 novel. Jessica's Group vows to remain friends forever, avoiding the fate of their namesakes. But even as Jessica fights to save their friendship, time, addictions, and mental illness form cracks in the Group's foundation. And then Jessica, still stuck in her happily-ever-after fantasies, falls for the one guy the Group despises—handsome slacker Malcolm.
Set against a mid-1990s pop culture background, the friends experiment with the joys of uninhibited choices and deal with the accompanying pitfalls of sexual pressures, self-image issues, and substance abuse. Exhuming Mary McCarthy is a telling, insightful saga of college life beyond the classroom that will mesmerize readers with bittersweet humor as they journey with Jessica on the path towards adulthood.

Book Review:  1 out of 5 stars
There are a few books where I have to force myself to finish.  There have been a few that I simply could not, one being Alison Weir, I love her books to pieces, but they're so educational that they put me to sleep....literally.

This book reads more like a diary of Jessica's time in college.  If you don't like reading the mundane day-to-day goings on of a naive girl, this isn't the book for you.

I enjoyed getting to know the other member of "The Group," and hearing their stories as well.  But at 507 pages, this story dragged on.  About halfway through, I was growing severely tired of Jessica and her adolescent stupidity.  Granted, I read this as a 40 year old, who went to college in the 90s (the settings of the novel), and know that everything is not the life or death that it seems.

I probably would have enjoyed it better, if I read the novel when I was in college and was living the issues that were covered in the book.  If you're my age, don't waste your time.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review - Lincoln's Bodyguard by TJ Turner

Title:  Lincoln's Bodyguard
Author:  TJ Turner
Publication Date:  April 7, 2015

Book Description
In Lincoln’s Bodyguard, an alternative version of American history, President Lincoln is saved from assassination. Though he prophesied his own death—the only way he believed the South would truly surrender—Lincoln never accounted for the heroics of his bodyguard, Joseph Foster. A biracial mix of white and Miami Indian, Joseph makes an enemy of the South by killing John Wilkes Booth and preventing the death of the president. His wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped, sending Joseph on a revenge-fueled rampage to recover his daughter. When his search fails, he disappears as the nation falls into a simmering insurgency instead of an end to the War. Years later, Joseph is still running from his past when he receives a letter from Lincoln pleading for help.  The President has a secret mission. Pursued from the outset, Joseph turns to the only person who might help, the woman he abandoned years earlier.  If he can win Molly over, he might just fulfill the President’s urgent request, find his daughter, and maybe even hasten the end of the War.

Book Review:  4 out of 5 stars

I love these types of books.  Revisionist history, Alternative history, Fiction-fleshing-out history.  I was so excited to get to read this book.  I've always been interested in the Lincoln Assassination, so this was right up my alley.
I liked the alternate history of how Lincoln was not killed at Ford's theater, and what happened afterward.  The story is very detailed and intricate, but I can see what the author writes about happening, really happening.  If only by the way the North acted after the war to the Confederates, the "history" seems quite realistic and not that far off from imagination.
The pace was quick, which I liked.  With as much that happened during the book, it has to move pretty quickly in order to be contained in 256 pages.  I found myself staying up late, just to read a bit more.
The only thing that I did not like about the book was the abrupt ending.  I know that so much had happened, that the conclusion probably could have taken another book, but it just felt so abrupt. I didn't quite like how it ended, and the abruptness just made it stick out a bit more.
But this is definitely one to read if you like these types of books!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review Floor Four by A Lopez Jr

Title:  Floor Four
Author:  A. Lopez Jr.
Publication Date:  May 15, 2013

Book Description
The old, abandoned Saint Vincent Hospital is said to be haunted by the ghost of David Henry Coleman, the notorious serial killer, known as The Mangler. Coleman died on the fourth floor after being shot by police. For the three Jr. High boys, their curiosity gets the best of them as they explore the old hospital, despite 'Old Man' Jake's warning. No one knew of Jake's dark connection to the killer and the hospital. And now, on the anniversary of The Mangler's death, a group of high school kids are planning a private party on the haunted fourth floor. Jake must keep everyone out and protect them from the true evil that lurks on Floor Four.

Book Review:  4 out of 5 stars

I put off reading this for awhile, I don't like the idea of Novellas because I love long stories.  However, with horror stories, longer stories seem to drag the life out of a story.

This was a very good story, at the beginning. I LOVE the whole ghost element, with the urban legend, the ghost, the paranormal.  I loved how the author chose to set up the premise of the story. 

I loved the first half of the novella... the second half, not so much.  It was still very well written, and kept moving at a brisk pace, so I wanted to continue reading.  However, with the way the story is set up, there are only two ways the story could go... and then the way Mr. Lopez chose to go.  

It did get to a point that I thought one of the characters would just end things already.  

I would highly recommend this novella.  Very well done!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: Play Dead by Annie Frasier

Title:  Play Dead
Author:  Annie Frasier
Publication Date:  February 25, 2014

Book Description
No one is more familiar with Savannah's dark side than homicide detective and native resident Elise Sandburg. She's been haunted for years by her own mysterious past: she was abandoned as a baby in one of the city's ancient cemeteries, and it's rumored that she is the illegitimate daughter of an infamous Savannah root doctor. The local Gullah culture of voodoo and magic is one that few outsiders can understand, least of all Elise's new partner. Now someone is terrorizing the city, creating real-life zombies by poisoning victims into a conscious paralysis that mimics death. As the chilling case unfolds, Elise is drawn back into the haunted past she's tried so hard to leave behind.

Book Review:  3 out of 5 stars

I'm one of those strange people who love zombies, hoodoo, and New Orleans history and mythology.  This book promised to give me all of that. 
I won't say it failed miserably, but it left me very disappointed by the end.  I'm a simple girl too, lots of time gaps bother me, along with constantly changing the point of view with the story.  Sometimes it can be fine effectively, but in this book, it was done way to frequently, and sometimes it took me a page or so to figure out the POV had changed.
I also think there were to many characters for the author to write about, and still be able to flesh out and give us a reason to care.  There were too many back stories that could have been better developed, and frankly, the whole "Who is Elise's mother" thing wasted time that could have been reserved to make the story more complete.  I did like the characters, but the author made them so complex, that really they needed a whole book devoted just to the character's back story, not crammed into the story.  

Because of this, the story really isn't so much a story. It was more of a character story with a crime story crammed in where it could be.  

Lots of people enjoyed this story, but the problems I saw in it, distracted me too much to get into the book.
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