Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Review - Only the Truth by Pat Brown

From Goodreads:

Harkening back to the writing styles and small town settings of the earlier American authors – John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, and Carson McCullers - "Only the Truth" is a psychological mystery with as many twists as the country road leading to the humble home of Billy Ray Hutchins, a lonely uneducated man living in the hills of Arkansas. Life changes little for him from day to day until he brings home a young drifter he meets at the railroad tracks, the mysterious Charlene, whose last name he never asks. He becomes her Sweet Billy Ray and his love for Charlene is steady and uncomplicated until the sheriff shows up to take her away in handcuffs. With the only woman he has ever loved behind bars for cold-bloodedly murdering the old man across the road, a confused and devastated Billy Ray sets out on a quest to find the truth, only the truth, whether it leads him to be able to save his Charlene from a death sentence or it frees him from her spell.

My Thoughts:

This story was a pleasant surprise! I was immediately drawn into Billy Ray Hutchin's simple yet somewhat difficult life. He was a loner, could not read, had a menial job cleaning the streets of Whitford Glen, Arkansas and basically kept to himself, not having any family left. Then he meets Charlene. He is instantly drawn to her...this quiet girl who has many secrets of her own....that she is not telling.
The story has such a surprise ending....I didn't see it coming! My rating is 5 Bunnies! Recommended!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review - The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

From Goodreads:

Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.

Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 - The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control - torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled.

My Thoughts:

This was one of those books that I devoured.....I thought about it when I wasn't reading it, and could not wait to get home from work to continue reading it. The story keeps a good pace, the characters are very likable, and the story line is great. I also liked the time period it was set in....the late 50's - 60's. I didn't want it to end! I will be keeping my eye out for more books by Barbara Forte Abate ~ The Secret of Lies gets 5 Bunnies!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review - Sorry, Charlie by Shawn Bailey

From Goodreads:

Daniel Stauberg is an arrogant, ill-tempered ex-husband who has had enough of his wife and her dog, Charlie. After a night of heavy drinking, Charlie ends up dead and Dan has to bury him.

But the karmic wheel is beginning to slowly turn, and soon Dan will experience what it means to be truly sorry. In a lonely, little cabin, deep in the woods, Dan will come to know the meaning of revenge - doggy style.

My Thoughts:

This was okay. I didn't LOVE it, or hate it. It was just okay. I guess I expected more from the Undead Zombie Dogs. It could have been creepier....scarier....something. I was rooting for the dogs the whole time, and would have liked for the story to be more about them.

My rating: Three Bunnies

Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review - Return to Innocence by G.M. Frazier

From Goodreads:

Glen Erskine is a gifted psychologist who serves as the director and chief of staff of New Horizons, a group home and counseling center for abused boys.

Tommy Jackson is a thirteen-year-old victim of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse who has been taken into custody by the Department of Social Services after his mother was arrested for prostitution. At New Horizons, Tommy’s young life finally seems to be coming together. But when he falls into an illicit relationship with one of the staff members, things begin to spiral out of control and Tommy strikes back in a tangled web of deceit that turns Glen's life upside down.

Set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina in and around Charleston, this is a disturbing yet poignant tale of love and sacrifice, commitment and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption—and a riveting inside look at the processes and agendas involved in the prosecution of child sex abuse case.

My Thoughts:

Oh my gosh......this book was FANTASTIC. I couldn't put it down....
It deals with the sensitive subject of child abuse and gay relationships in a very real light. I felt so many emotions while reading this, I can't even begin to describe it. Just trust me, it is that good. I won't forget this one for a very long time, and I am searching G.M Frazier's other books on Amazon to read. I have found myself a new favorite author.

Highly Recommended: Five Bunnies!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review ~ The Night Train by Carl Purdon

From Amazon:

 Abused at home and bullied at school, young Jayrod Nash steals away on a freight train with a vow never to return. His best friend tags along, but his heart’s not in it. They meet up with a hobo named Farley, who offers protection in exchange for obedience, and soon learn he’s running too.

“The Night Train” is a novel about the struggle of innocence against brutality, written with powerful characters who allow no commentary from the author. Together they paint a picture of life as it exists too often.

Carl Purdon weaves a tale that takes the reader through the full gamut of emotions, and leaves them feeling as if they have known the Nash family all their lives. Perhaps they have.

My Thoughts:

This was a great book!  The story is set in rural Mississippi, in the present day.  Poor Jayrod cannot do anything right in the eyes of his father.  His mother just quietly stands by and lets the abuse go on.  Jayrod plans his escape carefully, and executes it with perfection.  I was sad that the story ended, but was pleased with the ending itself.

I recommend The Night Train - My Rating:  FIVE BUNNIES! () ()


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

~Short Reviews~

I'm still here....lots of personal problems right now that seem to be trying to take over my life. I am doing my best to not let them take over. It is exhausting, to say the least.

I have read a couple of books since my last are their short reviews:

The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

My Thoughts:

I received this book from a Secret is definitely not the type of book that I would have chosen for myself. I really liked it!! I was so surprised. I think what held my interest most was the main character...a fifteen year old girl named Temple. She was one tough little cookie, and could really kick some zombie ass. Along in her journey from Florida towards the west coast, she meets a variety of non-meatskins (normal people) a colorful cast of characters that are for the most part, likable. If you are a Zombie novel fan, then I recommend this one.

Very Good!!!

Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz

High atop Hathorne Hill, near Boston, sits Danvers State Hospital. Built in 1878 and closed in 1992, this abandoned mental institution is rumored to be the birthplace of the lobotomy. On the eve of the hospital’s demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their experiences. For Derik, it’s an opportunity to win a filmmaking contest and save himself from a future of flipping burgers at his parents’ diner. For the others, it’s a chance to be on TV, or a night with no parents. But what starts as a dare quickly escalates into a nightmare. Behind the crumbling walls, down every dark passageway, and in each deserted room, they will unravel the mysteries of those who once lived there and the spirits who still might.

My Thoughts:

I wish I could say that I liked this but it was a big disappointment for me. I was prepared to be really spooked by this creepy-sounding novel of 6 teens who spend the night at the old abandoned Danvers Mental Hospital one week before it is to be demolished. The premise of this book definitely did not deliver what I expected. To be fair, it is a YA Novel, so maybe that explains the "teeny-bopperish" atmosphere of the story. Like I said, I was expecting more. If you want to be truly scared....I recommend the movie Session 9. It is also about Danvers, and I promise this movie really delivers. Sorry, Project 17 -

Do Not Recommend

Friday, August 19, 2011

~Some Reviews, Short and Sweet~

I have been reading at a decent pace lately, I am pretty proud of myself. Although, I should not take any is the books themselves who carry me through their pages quickly, anticipation growing as I need to know more about the stories. I have read a few more since my last post:

By Accident by Susan Kelly (From Goodreads):

A grieving mother finds solace from her son’s death in a relationship that quickly blurs the line between friendship and intimacy. By Accident portrays a year in the life of a woman after the accidental death of her teenage son. Laura Lucas is numbed by the loss, a loss that is paralleled in the spate of upscale construction—and attendant destruction—in her starter-home neighborhood. It’s about Laura's relationship with a young tree surgeon who slowly becomes a replacement for her son—but also an object of desire.

The story reveals the delicate nexus where solace becomes sex; the role of men and women as unmarried friends; and examines grief in a marriage. It portrays the pain of change and the poignancy of acceptance through Laura's eyes, and occasionally, through the quirky outlook of her ten-year-old daughter. And before the story ends, another brutal, random accident will redefine Laura's life once again.

My Thoughts:

I expected this story to have more lust and desire between the two main characters,
Laura and Elliot. Instead, it focuses more on how the Lucas Family deals with the loss of their teenaged son, Whit. Laura is unable to let go, her husband grieves in his own way, and Ebie, their ten year old daughter, watches as her family starts to unravel. That is, until Elliot moves in next door. He is a tree surgeon by trade, a fun-loving, good-looking single 28 year old guy, who slowly begins to bring Laura out of her grieving state. Laura's husband is distrustful, Ebie is delighted, and Laura has mixed feelings. As I said, this story did not go in the direction that I thought it would, but, it was a good read!

Very Good!

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks:

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

My Thoughts:

I have read some Nicholas Sparks books, but not all of them. Some of them I have started, and had to put down...too predictable, some characters unlikable. The ones that I have read all the way through, I loved (Message In A Bottle, Nights In Rodanthe, A Walk To Remember)....even though they were predictable. I fell in love with the characters and their stories...sometimes it is just nice to get lost in a sweet romance novel. Safe Haven took me by surprise. It was a definite change from Spark's other was a nice change. It was not just a woman and a man falling in love, over-coming obstacles that lead to a happily ever after. It was so much more. I fell in love with "Katie" a.k.a. Erin, an abused woman on the run from her psychotic husband. I loved the setting of the story, Southport, NC, a small coastal town, very historical and picturesque. The story moved along at a fast pace. I read in in a day, and lov
ed every minute of it. If you haven't read it yet, and are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you're in for a wonderful surprise.


Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner:

Some bonds can never be broken...
Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popu
lar crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat.

Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you're the only one who can help."

Best Friends Forever is a grand, hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure; a story about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets. It's about living through tragedy, finding love where you least expect it, and the ties that keep best friends together.

My Thoughts:

I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did! I have not read any other Jennifer Weiner novels, and now that I've read this one, I am excited to try her others. I picked this one up solely because I loved the cover! I was pleasantly surprised! Not only is it about two girls who vowed in elementary school that they would be BFF's, it is also a mystery and adventure story with a romance on the side. It is definitely a chick lit book, but so much more. The characters are likable and believable, and this story is definitely not predictable. Worth reading!!

Very Good!

I am currently reading Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst, and Over And Under by Todd Tucker.

Happy Friday everyone ~ Have a fun-filled reading weekend!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Various Reviews ~ Long Time No Post

Hi All!

I am still here....just have not been blogging in awhile. I have read a few books, here are some short reviews:

From May to December by Pat MacEnulty:

Jen Johanssen is a former porn actor trying to fit into the world of academia. Her sister, Lolly Johanssen, is a cancer survivor. Nicole Parks is in prison for loving the wrong guy. And Sonya Yakowski, also in prison, is a member of a family of traveling criminals, desperately missing her young son. The lives of these four women converge in a Florida prison, where Jen and Lolly have joined forces to put on a grant-funded drama production. Despite their remarkably divergent histories, these women come together in unexpected ways, each beginning to confront and forgive her own past.

My Thoughts:

This is the second Pat MacEnulty book I've read, and I enjoyed it. I liked Sweet Fire better than this one, but I still liked it.....enough to order her other books that I have not read. This story is bittersweet....a tale of two sisters, who have never been very close, who become close in a matter of months. It also portrays women in prison....good women who made mistakes...and choose to better themselves and prepare for life outside prison walls. Great story, in my opinion.

Babylon Rolling by Amanda Boyden:

Ariel May and her husband, Ed, have just moved to New Orleans with their two small children. Their neighbor, Fearius, is a fifteen-year-old just out of juvenile detention. Across the street, an elderly couple, the Browns, are only trying to pass their days in peace, while Philomenia Beauregard de Bruges, a longtime resident and “Uptown lady,” peers through her curtains at the East Indian family next door.With one random accident, a scene of horror across front lawns, the whole neighborhood converges on the sidewalk and the residents of Orchid Street are thrown together, for better and for worse.

My Thoughts:

I couldn't wait to see this....I loved Pretty Little Dirty, so I had high expectations for Babylon Rolling. I had some difficulty with it in the beginning, but once I got going, it was a roller-coast ride! Told in alternating voices of the neighbors of Orchid Street, it is a tale of love, deceit, drugs and alcohol, and redemption. I felt so many emotions while reading Babylon Rolling...and it was one of those books that I thought about when I was not reading it. I looked forward to my lunch hours and evenings when I could pick it back up and see what was happening with Ariel, Ed, Prancie and Joe, and the others. The story takes place just days before Hurricane Ivan is due to hit New Orleans, and during Mardi Gras time. I learned a lot about Mardi Gras that I didn't know, too. Babylon Rolling is not a cut and dried story. It begins with a neighborhood in turmoil, and ends with the aftemath of destruction....and Hurricane Ivan never even makes it to New Orleans. Recommended!

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard:

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My Thoughts:

I was a little disappointed in Like Mandarin. I am not sure what I expected, but I found Mandarin's character a little weak. I guess I was expecting a more shocking idol in her. The premise was very promising, but the story did not deliver.

Willow by Julia Hoban:

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy - one sensitive, soulful boy - discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.

My Thoughts:

I liked the story of Willow well enough, but it is not one that will stay in my thoughts for long. I found myself getting aggravated with her throughout the story, especially with how she treats Guy, a boy who clearly adores her, and wants to help her. I am not a cutter, and have never known anyone who is, but I do have an ocd that is somewhat similar, so her descriptions of her disease struck home with me. Julia Hoban did a wonderful job describing the feelings of shame and self-worthlessness of someone who is unfortunate enough to suffer with something as devastating as self-mutilation.

I am now looking forward to starting Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, and I am half-way through Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst.

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review - Sweet Fire by Pat MacEnulty

From Goodreads:

"While most people Trish's age are listening to Led Zeppelin and watching Starsky and Hutch on TV, Trish spends the 1970s stealing and cheating to score. Heroin, pharmaceuticals, whatever's available. She travels from Florida to California and Mexico, hustling all the way, and always in the company of the wrong kind of men, whom she attracts wherever she goes. There's not a rehab unit in the country that hasn't thrown her out at least once." With her habit spiralling out of control, it won't be long before Trish hits rock bottom. How low will Trish have to go before she can find the courage to fight her way free of her spiral of self-destruction?

My Thoughts:

I genuinely liked Trish in this fictional novel that reads like a memoir. Trish becomes addicted to heroin at a young age, and by the time she turns nineteen, she is in prison.

Trish's life is a difficult one. She grows up without a father, and always wonders who and where he is. Her mom is a composer and concert violinist, and travels all over the country. Trish is particularly close to her older brother. But when he leaves home, she is on her own. As Trish begins to come-of-age, she takes up with a different crowd, and happens to find the one thing that makes her life a little less painful....a sweet blissful escape....drugs.

I couldn't put this book down, and hated to do so when my lunch hour was up, or it was time to go to bed. Pat writes with her heart, and I believe that Sweet Fire is loosely based on her life, growing up in Jacksonville, FL.

I have one of her other novels waiting for me on my TBR shelf, and I can't wait to get started on it.

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852424559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852424558

Friday, July 15, 2011

About Me

This is a test post....thanks!


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