Monday, February 27, 2017

After Dachau

Title: After Dachau
Author: Daniel Quinn
Publisher: Context
ISBN: 9781893956230
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: I really had no clue what to expect when I picked this up, but wow, mind blown.  This is a book that keeps you on the edge the whole way through.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Penitent

The Penitent
by A. Keith Carreiro
published by Copper Beech Press
ISBN 978-0-9973827-0-9

The Penitent, Part One of A. Keith Carreiro's The Immortality Wars, has the feel of a medieval morality tale but with more fantastical elements.  

Pall, who was born with a pall over his face (hence the spelling of his name) and has always had a rough life because of it, has been injured and finds he now has gaps in his memory.  The archer Savage finds him and saves him, but a band of depraved soldiers discover the injured Pall and start to torture him.  This starts to release some memories that do not seem feasible to Pall, such as turning into a fish.  Luckily, a gruesome monster, The Unger, is nearby to further save Pall.  However, Pall and his ragtag crew are never safe for long as there always seems to be a new enemy just around the bend.

I really wanted to like The Penitent, but I had the hardest time following what was happening.  I found myself rereading constantly and still coming away with only a foggy notion of what was happening.  I also felt like there were some leaps in the story, but that could have just been a result of my confusion.

I can see what A. Keith Carreiro was aiming for with The Penitent, but I, personally, just had trouble getting there.

Rating: 1/5

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: 2/19-2/25

For review (on Bookloons):
Demon Vol. 2 by Jason Shiga
Secrets & Sequences by Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes

Received in March's Fresh Fiction Box Not to Miss:
Forbidden Kisses by Anne Rains
Maybe Tomorrow by Kim Golden
A Baby for the Deputy by Cathy McDavid
The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon
Renegade's Pride by B. J. Daniels
How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks
Moving Target by Lynette Eason
In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumpelstiltskin's Name
by Bonnie M. Hennessy
published by self
ISBN n/a

I also enjoy fairy tale retellings, and Bonnie M. Hennessy creates an interesting one in Twisted.  The original story of Rumpelstiltskin is not that long, but Hennessy does an admirable job giving flesh to the tale.

Aoife has spent her life running her family's land while her dad boasting while gambling and drinking their money away at the brothel in town.  One day, he gets in over his head when he claims to the new duke that his daughter can spin straw into gold.  Aoife tries to convince the duke that this was metophorical by showing him how he can improve the financial success of his estate, but he wants it done for real.  The magical little man that Aoife always feels watching her in the woods, and who saved her one day from drowning, saves her again by doing the impossible deed.  But when Aoife chooses to marry the duke to save her family from ruin rather than staying with her protector, the heart of the little man hardens and his wrath comes with a terrible price that will also unearth many secrets.

Hennessy takes the Rumpelstiltskin story and creates a plausible backstory to all of the elements.  There are a few instances, though, that seem to happen just because they have to without any real cause and these hinder the story just a little as they muddle the characters' characters.  The ending, however, is big and bold with many twists that make up for those few disjointed passages.

Twisted is a fun yet dramatic read that will appeal to older YA and adult fans of fairy tale fantasy.  I hope Bonnie M. Hennessy tries her hand at more stories in the future.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tempted in Texas

Title: Tempted in Texas
Author: Sara York
Publisher: self
ISBN: n/a
Why Read?: Fresh Fiction

Thoughts: Started off well, but went sideways when the conflict hit and then hit again and never went the direction it seemed like it would in the beginning.

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, February 16, 2017

McGrave's Hotel

Title: McGrave's Hotel
Author: Steve Bryant
Publisher: Month9
ISBN: n/a
Why Read?: Early Review

Thoughts: Fun read for middle graders who like a mysterious, slightly scary story.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Happiest Mommy You Know

Title: The Happiest Mommy You Know
Author: Genevieve Shaw Brown
Publisher: Touchstone
ISBN: 9781501135781
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: Fast-reading memoir/self-help book about remembering ourselves in the midst of parenthood.

Rating: 4/5

Here in Harlem

Title: Here in Harlem
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Publisher: Live Oak
ISBN: 97814300111658
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: A short collection of poetry that perfectly captures the feel of Harlem.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line

Title: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Author: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780804170703
Why Read?: First Reads

Thoughts: Interesting mix of soft-boiled PI and NA.  Good story, but the title does not work well.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Breathe, Mama, Breathe

Title: Breathe, Mama, Breathe
Author: Shonda Moralis, MSW, LCSW
Publisher: The Experiment
ISBN: 978-1-61519-356-1
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: A great little book showing moms all the spots throughout the day where just taking the time to breathe and be in the moment makes things go so much easier.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Title: X
Author: Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon
Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio
ISBN: n/a
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: Not only is this a highly approachable fictional look at Malcolm X's adolescence, it is also a great immersion into 1940s Roxbury and Harlem.

Rating: 4/5

Stacking the Shelves: 2/5-2/11

First Reads from Goodreads:
Midnight Curse by Melissa F. Olson
The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Books for Living

Title: Books for Living
Author: Will Schwalbe
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 9780385353540
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: Fans of literature will enjoy this highly readable look at Schwalbe's advice for life through books.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: 1/29-2/4

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Disruptor by Arwen Elys Dayton
The Girl Before by JP Delaney

First Reads from Goodreads:
The Happiness in Between by Grace Greene

Swapped for on My Subscription Addiction:
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Great Expectations

Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
Publisher: Naxos
ISBN: 9789626344620
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: I had little expectations going into this and it was just as I expected.  Dickens's novels are just too wordy to keep my interest.

Rating: 2/5