Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

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Recently I was approached by David Meredith to review his book and he kindly sent me a copy to read.  The Reflections of Queen Snow White was released a while back on Amazon, in the Kindle store, and has many reviews already as an established book.  Personally, I like to review new releases in order to get the word out about the book, in order to increase readership for the author.  Unless it is a rare find or classic that needs to be read.

The book focuses on Snow Whites life on the eve of her only daughter’s wedding.  Prince Charming has been dead for over a year and the Queen is in a state of deep depression, and cannot bring herself to be happy for her daughter or her kingdom.  In a fit of loneliness and despair, the Queen wanders through the castle to find somewhere to be alone.  She comes to a part of the castle, seldom used and climbs a staircase to an old storage room.  There she finds her cruel step mother’s magic mirror.

The mirror offers the queen the chance to find out why she has not been able to move forward after Charming’s death. But can she trust it? Will she have the strength to face her own demons and truths? Will she finally be able to find her “happy ever after” again?

The book, which is written for Young Adults, has a good story line, and held my interest.  Meredith is a good writer who uses rich, descriptive language to create his scenes.  It was a quick read, and I think best suited for 12-14 if the sexual references were removed.  Unfortunately, due to the sexual content I would put 14 as a minimum age for it but I do not think many  over the age of 16 would be interested in the story.  It has to appeal to the Disney crowd and that seems to be fading in many areas, and  my own daughters as well.

I would rate the book at 3 stars out 5 due to the limited group the book is suited for, and the quickness of the read.

Books I Read for Comfort

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I love to read.  I have loved reading since I was 9 and could ride my bike to the library downtown three times a week during summer break. Throughout my 41 years since, I have read thousands of books and there are a few that have become my favorite. The favorites are books I have read multiple times because when I read them, they calm me, make me happy or feel safe.  Through breakups, bad times as a teen, whatever the case may have been, this beloved group of books has seen me through tough times.

When I became a mother, I didn’t have the need to run to those comfort books as often, and they became the “books to read when you don’t have a new book”. When my oldest, Kait was in second grade, that now famous boy wizard entered the literary scene.  Kait and I read the books together.  We would go to the midnight book reveals and race home to begin reading that night.  As she grew older, we would discuss plots and search for hints by rereading the earlier books.  We watched the movies as they came out, and would either praise how close they stayed to to story line, or tear them apart for leaving major plot lines out.  Harry Potter became our shared obsession and it bound us together in a special way.

My two younger girls didn’t get this incredible gift.  They watched the movies first, then read the books.  My youngest *gasp*, didn’t want me to read the books to her because she wasn’t into them!  That did depress me for a few weeks/months/ok years, but I’m in a good place now.

While I was going through chemotherapy and radiation, I was incredibly fatigued, and at times nauseated.  My joints ached and my vision would get blurry after reading for 25 minutes.  The one thing that helped get me through the day, or sleepless night was having Kait read Harry Potter to me.  Sometimes we would go in order, and other times we would just pick a favorite. Kait has many creative talents and one of them is picking up foreign accents easily.  She would read the story in a British accent and I would close my eyes and be transported to a magical place where there wasn’t cancer, or pain. Listening to these books gave me a better sense of comfort and relaxation than any pain killer did.  It had the added bonus of bringing forth years of happy memories I shared with my daughter.

I feel sorry for people who don’t like to read.  They are missing out on so much. God bless authors and books!

Book Review: Calculated Regrets by Thomas Jast

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The best thing about being active on Twitter, is the number of interesting, funny, caring, and talented people I have met.  One of these being Thomas Jast.  I had heard promising things about his book, but I’ll admit I was a tad nervous to read and review it.  What if it was really bad?  Would I then have to decide to be truthful and hurt his feelings, possibly ruining his career and sending him into a downward spiral of depression?  Or would I lie and pretend to love it, give it a good review and spend my life hiding from him because I didn’t want to read anymore of his books, all the while having people laugh at me for liking the crappiest book out there.

Well thank God I really did love this book! Phew! I feel so much better now that I can be honest and not ruin anyone’s life.  Calculated Regrets is the story of Alex Aberdeen, a pretty, 26 year old who doesn’t relate well with other people but who chooses to go into Human Resources.  It’s a yo-yo relationship with this main character throughout the book.  In fact, you could say that with every character.  At first you like Alex, then you hate her and think she is clinically insane.  Then you find yourself liking her again.  Alex’s boss Liz is such a mean bitch but then you feel for her also.  Her co-worker Kaylee , is a character that you find endearing.  Shes just an all around nice person, who befriends Alex, but does she have another motive?  Then there is Tom, who is the catalyst as to what happens in this story.  Can Alex trust her heart to him?

Calculated Regrets is a fast moving read that will leave the reader breathless from the emotional roller coaster they just got off.  I found myself laughing out loud at some parts and feeling angry at others.  I would put the book down, but then be pulled by unknown forces back to it.  I found myself  wondering what Alex was doing now?

Do yourself a favor and read Calculated Regrets by Thomas Jast.  You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be thankful I recommended it to you.  Happy Reading!

Barb

Reading Challenge

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Last year I took the Goodreads reading challenge and read 25 books.  I reached my goal, but it was tough to do.  This year I challenged myself to read 20 books and I think that will be more realistic to my lifestyle. The biggest challenge would be to read all the books I have on my “to read” shelf.  The problem is that I am constantly coming across new books I want to read or discover and I start reading them which makes the books on the “to read” shelf  ignored.

So, what I thought I would do is enlist your help.  I am going to list the books I want to read in groups of 10 (I have no idea how many are in this category) and ask you beautiful people if you have read any of them and if you would consider them a must read book.  The goal is to hopefully be able to eliminate some of them, making it a more manageable list.

Please comment your thoughts.  Consider this a community service!

  1. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
  2. The House Girl by Tara Conklin
  3. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  4. The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts
  5. Pacific Avenue by Anne L Watson
  6. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
  7. The Neighbors by Ania Ahlborn
  8. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  10. The Poisonwood Bibe by Barbara Kingsolver

Thanks!

Barb

 

Review:Stone and a Hard Place

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A couple weeks ago, I was asked to read and review Stone And A Hard Place by R.L. King on Twitter.  I was looking for something fun and light to read and I enjoy the fantasy genre, so this seemed like a good choice.

The story revolves around the main character, Alastair Stone, who is a mage and college professor. A friend from England asks Stone to take on a young boy –  who’s father was a mage and has died –  as an apprentice.  Meanwhile, a friend and colleague has asked him to check out his elderly aunt’s house because she is hearing voices and is getting negative feelings from the house.

Stone meets Ethan, who is 18, and tells him what being an apprentice will require.  Ethan’s mother is seriously ill, and she wants someone to be there for Ethan once she is gone.  Ethan agrees to Stone’s terms and is excited to learn magic.  Ethan is not very popular, and rather awkward, and training to be a mage gives him hope that it will make him cooler.

Stone visits the Aunt’s house which is more like a mansion, and discovers there is a malignant force in the house.  He makes it his goal to rid the house of this evil and protect his friends aunt.  Meanwhile, Ethan gets involved with another group of young mages who are also interested in the house.

I won’t reveal more for fear of spoiling things.  The book was a good read; similar to a beach read.  It was an escape from reality without having to work hard.  The author writes well, and uses a rich vocabulary, but lacks in creating a relationship between Ethan and Stone. The reader is given the impression that this master/apprentice relationship is a large part of the story.  In truth, it isn’t.  Reading it, I found myself wanting more from this story line and becoming frustrated when it never happened.  I also felt like the ending was rushed.  The author spends 98% of the book building up the conflict and only 2% resolving it.  There were weak resolutions in the characters problems and I got the impression Stine was in a hurry to complete the book.

I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars only because the story itself was good and the characters were interesting, even if their relationships with each other were weak.

Adult Coloring Books

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Earlier this year I discovered the joy of adult coloring books.  Careful, don’t let your perverted little minds go there.  These are books with intricate designs. made for adults to enjoy.  Remembering how much I used to love to color, I was very excited to see these on the shelves of Hobby Lobby.

There are books that have mandalas, animals, flowers, paisleys, geometric designs, and folk art.  They have become increasingly popular as a way to reduce stress and rediscover your creative side.  I have also seen Harry Potter, Outlander and Game of Thrones themed books.

Coloring is relaxing.  It is a repetitive action that soothes the soul.  It helps me satisfy the other creative juices in my mind other than just writing. The beautiful color options are endless and the design you create is uniquely yours and one of a kind.  It brings out the child in me and helps  me think about happier, simpler times, before there were adult worries and stressors in my life.

A cute idea is to color a favorite design in your homes color scheme and frame it.  You then can have a low cost unique art pieces to display and no one will know the difference!  If you loved to color I really recommend trying one of these fun books.  Happy coloring!!

Barb

Review of One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus

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One Thousand White Women was one of my favorite books.  It is the story of May Dodd and a group of pioneer women who are taken from asylums and prisons and brought to the western prairies to intermarry with the Cheyenne Indians.  The Cheyenne Chief travels to Washington D.C. to propose to President Grant that he will give the U.S. 1000 horses in exchange for 1000 women.  Everyone is outraged by the idea, but it is decided that in order to bring peace, they will agree to the plan. The program called “Brides for Indians”.  They chose women from asylums and prisons because no one will miss them. Grant sends this group as the first installment.

The book is written through May’s journal and each page is filled with Jim Fergus’ vivid description of the American West.  The women find themselves unprepared for living in the wild.  They are paired with their mate and May finds herself married to Chief Little Wolf.  Slowly the women learn the language and the culture of the Cheyenne.  They are for the most part treated with respect and a few fall in love.  May and Little Wolf’s relationship grows and both teach other about love.

I loved the characters in this book.  Each one was depicted with such detail, I felt as if I knew them. It made me laugh, cry, and angered.  There are shocking moments and Fergus leads the reader through the story expertly.

I would rate this book with 5 stars.  It is a must read and suitable for those 16 years and older.