What I Finished Wednesday 12/05

Let There Be Love by Melissa Storm
Sled Dogs #1

2 ** I listened to this via Scrib’d. It was okay. It was a pretty quick read. Though the idea was simple and interesting enough, I think everything happened a little too quickly, wrapped up too neatly. While there seemed to be a back and forth struggle with Shane and Lauren getting on the same page. The same cannot be said for everything else that happened in the book, finding out the truth about her father, reconnecting Shane with his daughter. Some things seemed to be done for convenience (Shane’s ex-wife being the one to tell him that he’s lost all custody rights with his daughter, for example. But he had a lawyer, why wouldn’t he be the one to tell him? Why would Shane not contest it?) On the whole, the writing is flawed -very much so. But it was a quick read. I probably would have been less forgiving if I had read this instead of listened to it. I may continue with the series, if the rest are available on Scrib’d. 

Murder at Christmas River by Meg Muldoon
Christmas RIver #1 

3 *** With the backdrop of a Gingerbread competition, amidst pie baking and healing heartbreaks a murder mystery unravels. This is a pretty typical cozy mystery, standing out because of the characters and the small town with the spirit of Christmas going all year round. I listened to the audiobook and I enjoyed it. In this case, the main character, Cinnamon doesn’t stumble across a dead body more than Cinnamon to start investigating on her own. Especially since she becomes the primes suspect. But she doesn’t, and I can’t say it’s because she trusts the police to do their job. She just kind of accepts the fact and focuses on the competition. Even with that it, it was a decent read. Cinnamon is a character that is enjoyable, I didn’t cringe at the decisions that she was making-though she was slow to getting to them. It was disappointing that the big reveal relied heavily on a character, but we didn’t really see how he came to the conclusions that he did. All in all, a quick decent read. If you enjoy cozies, I’d say that this is worth checking out.

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan 

5 ***** This was one of the books I picked out for my Christmas reads. And it is everything that I could have wanted. The three sisters all have very different lives and as Christmas comes around, they are stressed as they are trying to process the same childhood trauma in very unique ways. As they soon learn they each have been affected by the tragedy and they have the scars to prove it. There was drama, heartache, healing and love. All around the Christmas holiday. In complete honesty, Christmas was more of the backdrop of this story. The spotlight was more on the sisters and how vastly different they were, how they often misunderstood each other as well as themselves. But that’s also what made the story great. You have the drama that comes with family, especially with sisters who are so different. But the great thing was that it didn’t stay with the drama. Morgan moved it forward, revealing the huge unspoken scar of the family as a whole, and then shifting the focus to the problem/situation that each girl was facing. Healing began, and while everything was wrapped up rather nicely, the ending was also satisfying. It was a heartwarming story about family, love, old relationships and the power of embracing the pain in order to heal. I definitely can’t wait to check out more by Morgan.

3 *** I listened to this via Scrib’d. I had heard of Van Dyken and when I saw that this was available, I decided to check this out. I’m glad that I did. This is the fake engagement trope, sort of. This is also the friends to lovers and enemies to lovers trope. This also has a love triangle in it, sort of. Usually a love triangle annoys me. But, because this about the past and the present colliding, there wasn’t much of a struggle in the love triangle. Kacey has been in the Titus brothers’ life since they were little kids. After her parents died she left, leaving Travis behind. Travis was the older brother who tortured her. After sleeping together in college, Jake walks away leaving Kacey behind. They come together again at the behest of the grandmother. It turns out that Kacey misses having Jake as a friend and slowly discovers that she has feelings for Travis.
It is a fun little romance as Kacey and Travis bumble around and towards each other. But it also sweet as Kacey begins to find out where home truly is as she has put distance between the pain of losing her parents. Being back with the Titus family has opened the door for a new beginning, one that Kacey is surprisingly ready for. Even though she was manipulated in returning, it turns out that she wasn’t the only one. Grandma Nadine is one hot mess of a character. She is funny and lovable. I kind of wish that she was my grandmother. The romance was sweet and teasing. Sexytimes were alluded to and teased about, keeping this romance on the tender side of hot, but not too steamy. I will definitely continue on with the trilogy and will check out Van Dyken’s other works.

Jingle Bones by Carolyn Haines 
Sarah Booth Delaney 15.5 

3*** Usually, I read series in order, but this was available on Scrib’d. It was short, only an hour, so I thought that this would be a great way to check out the series without a longer commitment. I didn’t know it was book 15 though.  I enjoyed it and even though it is a long ongoing series, I would like to go back to the beginning.  Though it was short, it was also very funny. 

3 *** Another cozy mystery that I chose to listen since it was so short. I thought that it was a fun cozy mystery.  This was a short mystery, but it was complete. I liked getting to know that characters, though Dana is a bit nosier than is safe.  There was a bit of convenience to it, but it was still fun listening to it.  I will be going back and starting the series with the first book. 

Well these are the books that I have finished this week. And for the most part, I have enjoyed them all. I did DNF one, it was The Elite by Rachel Van Dyken. I started listening to the audiobook, and I was excited about listening to it after finishing The Bet. But I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t make it past the first chapter after meeting the Elite.  But I will check out something else by Van Dyken, when they become available on Scrib’d. 

Currently Listening to:
The Winter Duchess by Jillian Eaton
A Duchess For All Seasons #1 

Always Shine!

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NonfictionReview: Begin Again

April 3, 2018 – Fleming H. Revell Company 

192 Pgs – Christian, Nonfiction

Source: Publisher

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

3.5 ***

You can click on the caption and it will take you to the Goodreads summary.  I can’t say what I was thinking when I accepted this book for review, only that it sounded interesting. If you are busy, anything that encourages rest sounds good right? I did listen to this book on audio. 

And I am no stranger of starting over, beginning again. It seems that I have been doing that in one form or another my entire life. And along with that came the weight that at some point I should have my stuff together. Even when I thought that I did. 

This book was like sitting down to have coffee (or in my case hot chocolate) with a friend. I found myself nodding along, and seeing parts of myself reflected back at me.  This was a book that I read at just the right time. It stripped away all of the stuff and got done to the heart of the matter, the weight that we carry that keeps us from moving forward. And the truth that it’s okay and necessary to begin again. To not stay stuck in whatever we are in. 

I invite you to pick up this book and find rest. I hope it gives you the strength and encouragement that you need to Begin Again. 

Always Shine!

Guess What is out This Week?!

Bright Light by Ian Douglas 

Star Carrier #8 

November 27, 2018 – Harper Voyager 

384 pgs-  Adult, Military Sci-fi

Here is the Goodreads summary:

There’s no more time . . .

There’s always more time . . .

Trevor Gray has been stripped of his command of the starship America, and is unsure what to do with his life. Having dedicated so much of himself to the service, he knew following the super-AI Konstantin’s advice could have severe consequences. He just never thought he would be out of the fight.

Because that’s what Earth is in: a fight against a sinister alien force that is so technologically advanced, there seems little hope. And that’s why he had disobeyed his orders in the first place: to figure out a way to stop them. But now he’s beached.

Which is just what Konstantin wanted.

For the super-AI has a plan: connect Gray with the Pan-Europeans, and set him on a course to the remote star Deneb. There, he is to make contact with a mysterious alien civilization using the new artificial intelligence Bright Light, and maybe—if they can make it in time—prevent humanity from being wiped from the universe.

I have not started this series, but I have now added this to my TBR and hope to get to it soon(ish). 

Always Shine!

DNF Review: Adamant by Lisa Bevere

Adamant: Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions by Lisa Bevere 

April 17, 2018 -Fleming H, Revell Company

256 pgs. – Christian, Nonfiction

Source: Publisher

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I am doing my best to catch up on review books that were sent to me. So if they are available as audiobooks, I have been consuming them in this format.  This is one that I have chosen to listen to the audiobook. While, I was initially interested in this book and the topic, i quickly lost interest.  To be fair, nonfiction books are not always a hit with me in the  first place. 

But, I decided to DNF this book in particular because it was simply too heavy handed for me. I get that people can be very passionate about issues and topics that are important to them – as they should be. I, as a reader, would prefer more subtle ways of engaging with a topic. 

Also, within the first chapter I heard/read (I did read a portion of the chapter via the print book) the word adamant so many times that I didn’t want to hear it anymore.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it too far into the book so I can’t say whether or not it corrects itself later on. 

I will simply say that this book is not for me. If you have read this book and think that I should give it another try, please leave me a comment. If there is another book by Bevere that you would recommend, please let me know. 

Always Shine!

                                                      

What I’ve Finished Wednesday 11/28

Toddlers Are A**holes by Bunmi Laditan

5 ** I listened to this as on an audiobook, from Scrib’d.  If you are parenting a little one who has either reached toddlerhood or is about to enter into that stage, read (or listen to) this book. It was funny, and relatable. If nothing else, it lets you  know that you are not alone and that you’re likely to survive this stage. It was funny and I finished it quickly.  Out of all of the experiences that I’ve had, I am glad to say that I have not found poop in my purse!

How to be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell

4 **** This was my son’s bedtime story.  It is a series that I keep saying that we were going to go back to and haven’t until now. I am not sure why, other than book distractions. It is funny and my son seems to enjoy them. This time it was about being a pirate and the woes of finding buried booby-trapped treasures. 

Angel’s Landing by Rochelle Alers

3.5 *** This is the second book in the Cavanaugh Island series. I originally read Sanctuary Cove for my February project, and I am just now getting to the rest of the series.  I listened to this on audio, via Scrib’d.  I really enjoyed it. It was a nice romance with a bit of a mystery to it. I can’t say it was very suspenseful, the resolution to everything was actually anti-climatic. At least where the mystery was concerned. But I enjoyed the romance part of it, it was a nice blend of sweet and sexy. 

How the Light Gets In By Jolina Petersheim

2.5 ** This is a review book, and while I did enjoy it, the ending changed my opinion of the whole thing. This was a book that I read at the right time, as it reflected the struggle that I was similarly in (raising two little kids with a partner that was busy working).  There is truth to be found here, and if I could pass this on to every struggling mom and  their spouses/significant others, I would.  As things begin to unfold things get uncomfortable and hard decisions are made. While I didn’t necessarily agree with them, I did respect the characters for making them. But then the ending came, and basically undid everything I experienced. I was mad and a bit bitter. In truth, I still am. 

Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting by Brian Gordon

5 ***** Another book that I picked up because I needed some humor and parenting encouragement. Sometimes it’s all about knowing that you’re not alone. 

The Christmas Town by Donna Vanliere

4 **** This  is an audiobook that I found scrolling through Scrib’d looking for something since I was in the mood for Christmas. It was funny, and heartwarming. I found that I didn’t want to stop listening to the story, I wanted to be with the characters and in that town.  No, it’s not realistic in the littlest bits. But that’s the magic of Christmas, to see things and feel things as they should be. 

Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest by Leeana Tankersley

3.5 *** This is a review book, and a full review will be posted sometime this week. Since this was an older review book, I chose to listen to it on audio, via Scrib’d. I finished it in one day, it was another book that I read at the right time. It was something that I needed to hear, permission for me to let go and feel and then move on. 

Currently Reading/Listening To

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
Let There be Love by Melissa Storm

What are some things that you have finished? What are you currently reading or listening to?

Always Shine!

5 Books That I’m Thankful For

Tomorrow, in the United States, is Thanksgiving. While, the history of Thanksgiving is not what is taught in schools (but that’s a whole other story), I do like to use the time to think about what I’m thankful. Often, I find that people are so busy preparing for the holidays that they don’t get to enjoy them. I was baking cupcakes all day. Which is kind of tiring in itself but throw in two kids and their needs and adorable chaos and it’s exhausting.  But, as bedtime is complete and all I really want to do is sit down with the current book that I’m  reading, How the Light Gets In , I started thinking of my reading history. It’s a long and varied one. I’ve had a book in my hand – or head- for as a long as I can remember and before that.  2018 is almost over, and I am preparing for 2019 with new/renewed reading goals. But right now, I want to look back. To the books that got me here. 

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

This was one of the first books that I read to my son, before he was even a year old. But I’m thankful for the times that we pretended we were reading the book on our own ship, the laughter that this adventure brought out in both me and my son. 

Twilight by Stephanie Meyehttps://www.rifflebooks.com/books/31424

This book was recommended to me by a friend who adopted me into their family. Not only did she recommend the book to me but she lent me her copies of the entire series, she talked to me about it. That made me enjoy the book so much more. 

Kindred by Octavia Butler

This was assigned reading for a college English course. I love this book for the story, for the author. But mostly, because this book gave me permission to write the stories that I wanted to tell, even if it’s not common to see people who look like me enjoying them. Butler made me see that I could do it, and her writing is one I turn to time and time again. 

And the Band Played on by Randy Shilts

I read this in high school. This is the book that inspired the novel that got me selected for the Governor School for the Arts program in creative writing.  It changed my life in ways that I could never have imagined. 

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This is one of the first books I remember reading as a kid. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed it, because I honestly don’t remember what I thought about it. But it’s a book that has stuck with me all these years. 

Well that’s it for me. What are some books that you are thankful for, that have helped turn you into the reader that you are today. 

Always Shine! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

What I’ve Finished Wednesday 11/14

I feel like I have gotten a lot of things read this week, and I kind of have. Quite a few of these have been books that I’ve read to my kids, but I’m still counting them.

 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1027106

2 *

I didn’t really like this. It was filled with a lot of potential. But it would have been better if the author had waited and worked on it a bit more. Instead it reads as a rough draft that was published too soon. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/408915

1.5 *

This was the bedtime story for my daughter. I thought that this would be a great pick, it was a classic and everyone loved it. But then I picked it up, and I don’t know why people like this book. It was so boring.  The chapters were short and it was easy to read. But there wasn’t a plot. It was written from the perspective of the horse and all he really talked about was how cruel men were to horses. Over and over and in all sorts of ways. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/959586

1.5 *

This was a review book, and it’s the second book in the series.  I do have a full review of this, posted here. In short, I didn’t like and didn’t think it was necessary. I thought that the first book was enough on its own. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/527921

4*

This was one of the read a-louds for our ocean unit in our homeschool. We enjoyed it, so much so that we decided to use this series as often as possible. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1027261

4* 

I ended up really enjoying this one. There are about 4 threads of a story that was being unspooled, and I am hooked to them all. I can’t wait for the next book in this series. But I am also glad that Ting has a nice backlist that I can check out. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1028356

3 *

This was my son’s bedtime story. We are slowly making our way through our Usborne books. This was a fun (and cold) story. We will be reading the rest of them. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1028355

3*

This was my daughter’s bedtime story. It was a cute story. Another USborne book that we wanted to read. It was cute, but I am not sure if we will buy the rest, it’s on our maybe stack. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1022663

5 *

This is the second book in the Brooklyn Brujas series. This follows Lula and the mistake she made with her magic. I loved this one! I have a full review up on my sister blog here. I can’t wait for the next one. If you haven’t started this series, I definitely recommend it. 

https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1027072

5* 

This is a Christian historical romance that I received for review. I liked it a lot more than I thought that I would. I think I read this at just the right time. I will be going to check out the first in this series, and possibly other books by this author. 

Well, that’s all that I’ve read this week. I am not sure what I will be picking up next. Check back Friday to see what has caught my attention. In the meantime, tell me what you’ve finished or what’s currently got your attention. 

Always Shine!