Showing posts with label Spring Reads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring Reads. Show all posts

Monday, May 27, 2019

Spring Reads: The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz

Have you ever read a new book without realizing there was a lot of media buzz around it?

Well, that's the exactly what happened to me with the thriller The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz, which was published by Crown Publishers earlier this year. Originally, I had stumble upon the title in the "upcoming" books section on the Barnes & Noble website. After reading the blurb, I became interested in reading the book. It wasn't until after I finished reading it that I learned about the possible "limited series" adaptation. When I say "possible," I'm referring to little fact that there has been no new news about the rumored series since February.

The book centers around Lindsay, a journalist who's trying to unravel the mystery of why her friend Edie committed suicide in 2009. After talking to their friends, Lindsay realizes her memory of the night Edie died is mostly a blur. As she tries to put the pieces of that fatal night back together, she shockingly discovers evidence that suggests Edie was actually murdered.

Final Thoughts

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Spring Reads: 100 Best BIONS (Believe It Or Not Stories)

$24.95; 224 pages; AMAZON
Believe it or not, 2019 marks the 100th year for Ripley's Believe It nor Not!, which was originally created by the late Robert Ripley. To celebrate this grand mark in history Ripley Publishing (a Jim Patterson Company) has recently published 100 Best BIONS (Believe It Or Not Stories), featuring the greatest Ripley's Believe It Or Not! stories from the last 100 years.

100 Best BIONS is split into five chapters: Classics, People, Animals, World, and Exhibits. The stories presented here have either appeared or been featured in other Ripley's Believe It Or Not! books, television series, cartoons, or odditoriums over the years. Each story's article is accompanied by photos (black & white and color) and/or illustrations.

Within the pages of 100 Best BIONS you'll learn about the half-man John Eck, Thomas Wedders - the man with the 7 1/2 inches long nose, the 7 longhaired musician sisters from New York, Mike the headless chicken, and many other strange facts that are almost too unbelievable to be true.

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Spring Reads: Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

It's been a busy and stressful year for me, which means reading hasn't been my top priority. Case in point, I'd received the historical fiction novel Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green back in late January or early February (I don't remember the exact date!), and I attempted to read it several times. However, something always comes up and I end up putting it aside in favor of another title. I eventually took the time and read the book last month.

Set in Lachine, Island of Montreal, Quebec in 1759, the novel centers around Catherine Duval, the daughter of a French father and Mohawk mother, who must come to the aid of her ex-fiance, Samuel Crane, after he is captured by her father. He claims to have information that could help stop the war and asks her to help him escape.

Final Thoughts

Monday, April 22, 2019

Spring Reads: Goosebumps SlappyWorld: It's Alive! It's Alive!

$7.99; B&N; Amazon
In the late summer of 1992, I recall browsing through the book section at a extremely small Walmart. It was there that I stumbled upon the first Goosebumps book (Welcome to Dead House) by R.L. Stine and I was instantly hooked. Fast forward to 2019, where I'm a lot older, but still a diehard Goosebumps fan!!

If you weren't already aware, the Goosebumps franchise is still going today with the latest spinoff "SlappyWorld," which features the #1 Goosebumps villain Slappy as the host of each installment. The 7th title in the series It's Alive! It's Alive! was released to bookstores in February by Scholastic.

The book centers around Livvy Jones, a young girl who's excited about participating in the Springdale Robots Meet, which is a Robotic competition. She has teamed up with her best friend, Gates Warwas, and between the two of them, they have created a life size robot, Francine, that has been programmed with the greatest abilities imaginable - cracking eggs and cooking an omelette!

Sounds exiting, right?

It's at least exciting for Livvy and Gates; well, until their robot goes berserk and attempts to do harm to the other robots on their team. Thanks goodness Livvy's parents are computer programmers and experts in artificial intelligence, as they can help reprogram the robot.

However, Francine continues to malfunction. Does the robot have a mind of its own?

Final Thoughts

Monday, April 8, 2019

Spring Reads: The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

Paperback; Kindle
Now available from Thomas Nelson is the contemporary romance The Memory House by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Rachel Hauck.

I have to be completely honest, I had forgot I was sent an ARC of the novel until late last week when I noticed I had a post draft setup for today's review; so I spent the weekend reading The Memory House. It's basically two stories in one that intertwine together. (Hopefully that sentence made sense to everyone!)

The first story centers around Beck Holiday, a NYC cop who inherits a house near the Florida's northern coast. Since she's on a four-week suspension for misconduct, she has nothing better to do than travel to Florida to the house that was left to her by the late Miss Everleigh, who she doesn't remember ever meeting. Upon arrival, she learns Miss Everleigh also left her entire fortune, which rounds out to be $7,000 per month!

Why doesn't she remember Miss Everleigh?

Maybe Bruno Endicott can help jumpstart her memory?

Bruno is a sports agent who was once friends with Beck when they were children. However, she has no recollection of him.

The other story centers around a younger Everleigh Applegate, a widow who is living with her widowed mother in Texas. After the loss of her husband, Everleigh slowly starts to rebuild her life, which includes Don Callhan, an old high school friend. This is a love story, so you can probably guess what happens.

Final Thoughts

Monday, April 1, 2019

Spring Reads: Middle School: Born To Rock

I, for one, am glad March is officially over. From being ill and dealing with a lot of stress, I didn't have very much time to focus on writing reviews for this blog. Since today is April 1st, which also marks my blog's 10th anniversary, I'm hoping this month will be more productive for me.

If you've already been following my blog, then you would know I'm a big "James Patterson" fan. Good or bad, I like reading his mysteries and crime thrillers. And I even like reading his co-written books for children, such as the Middle School books.

The eleventh installment of the Middle School series, titled "Born To Rock," was released back in February, which shifts the point-of-view away from Rafe Khatchadorian and lets his little sister Georgia have center stage; though Rafe does appear throughout the story.

Like many kids, Georgia dreams of being a famous rock star! She started a band with her friends, Nanci, Mari, and Patti. They call themselves "We Stink!". The band gets extremely excited when they learn their favorite band Lulu and the Handbags is running a contest for rock bands with members under sixteen-year-old. Bands are to post a music video on the contest website, where people will vote for the best video. The top twelve will be invited to a live audition and the winner will get to be the warm-up act for one of Lulu's concerts. Plus, the winning band will get $1,000!

Georgia is determined to do anything she can to win the contest! Yes, that even means letting Rafe help the band.

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Reads: Other Bodies by Joel Ohman

I can't believe today is the first day of spring; well, at least the calendar refers as the 20th as the beginning of spring, as Mother Nature still thinks it's winter here in the midwest. To kickoff my first Spring Reads post of the year, I'm reviewing the controversial Christian YA novel Other Bodies by Joel Ohman.

Set in a futuristic Philadelphia where VR technology is used, the novel centers around Hattie Martins, a sixteen-year-old who's just starting to build a new life, which includes a new job at a women's clinic, Managed Motherhood, and making a few new friends. Then she learn she is with child!

Like many pregnant teenagers in real life, Hattie has to make the toughest decision in her young life - get an abortion or keep the baby!

 Final Thoughts

Friday, March 9, 2018

Spring Reads: Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Bethany House; 350 pages; Buy Link; Blog Tour
I'm kicking off my first "Spring Reads" post with a few weeks earlier than what I originally intended to do. The book I'm reviewing is Ketunrah, book one in The Sugar Baraon's Daughters series, by Lisa T Bergren.

Set in 1772, the novel centers on Lady Keturah ("Ket") Banning Tomlinson and her sisters (Verity and Selah), whom each received a letter from the West Indies from their later father. It seems he had left his estate the "Tabletop Plantation" in Nevis to his daughters. Against their best judgements, the sisters packs their bags and travel to the Caribbean to cleanup whatever mess their father had left behind.

Upon arriving, they learn their father's legendary sugar barons have declined and they seek out to find a new overseer for the estate. Ket runs into an old childhood friend, Gray, who had moved to Nevis to begin a new life for himself.

This is a romance novel, so you can probably guess that Gray and Ket have some romantic feelings for each other. However, there's a slight problem, as Ket had been emotionally and physically abused in the past, so she's hesitant about trusting another man.

Final Thoughts

Friday, May 26, 2017

Spring Reads: Give Me a K-I-L-L: A Fear Street Novel

St. Martin/s Press; 281pages; $18.99; Amazon
Today, I'm posting my final "Spring Reads" reviews of 2017, which happens to be a book I read last month, but I'm just now getting around to writing the actual review for it.

What is the name of book?

Well, it's called Give Me A K-I-L-L: A Fear Street Novel by R.L. Stine. I'm sure almost every reader has at least heard of the author's name, as Mr. Stine has over 400 books in print worldwide and his titles have been translated into thirty-five languages. His most popular book series are Goosebumps and Fear Street.

The very first Fear Street young adult novel, The New Girl, was published in 1989. The series was popular with teens during the early 1990s, but the franchise began to fizzle towards the end of the second millennium. R.L. Stine brought back the franchise in 2014 with a revamped "A Fear Street Novel" book series. 

Give Me A K-I-L-L centers on a teenager named Gretchen Page, who has just transferred to Shadyside High School. She was the star of the cheerleader squad at her old school, and she hopes that her talents will win her spot on the Shadyside cheerleader squad. Unfortunately, due to cutbacks of funds, there is only one spot available in the squad.

While the competition to win the open slot should be fun, it actually turns out to be terrifying as somebody ends up dead!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Spring Reads: The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans

Simon & Schuster; 300 pages; $19.99
My original plan was to read more of  the The Broken Road late last night, but I had to put that idea aside when I noticed I had a few posts that needed to be set up for today. Nevertheless, I awoke bright & early this morning, made a cup of strong coffee, sat in a cozy recliner, and opened The Broken Road to chapter one. After a few refills of coffee, I finished reading the book.

Unlike many Richard Paul Evans' titles that either have a Christmas or romance theme (or both), The Broken Road has neither. Instead this novel is about the journey of finding redemption.

Four years ago, Mr. Evans took a trip on Route 66 to research his upcoming book. Though he had somewhat of an idea of what the plot might be about, he changed his mind after meeting an unique man, who gave him inspiration for The Broken Road.

The novel is written from the point-of-view of Charles James, a Chicago celebrity who struck rich with his 'get rich' seminars and a few bestselling nonfiction titles. Despite all the money and fame, something is missing from his life. After having a few bad dreams, he visits a shrink, and through a few appointments he tells life story up to that point of time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Reads: The Berenstain Bears: 5-Minute Inspirational Stories

Zonderkidz; 192 pages; $12.99; Amazon

The Berenstain Bears is one of the biggest picture book series on the market today. Created by Stan and Jan Berenstain, the first title in the long running children book series was published in the 1960s. Despite being criticized for it's formulaic storytelling, the series has remained popular with every new generation of young readers. Sadly, the original authors have both passed away; however, there son, Mike, has taken over writing and illustrating new titles, which now have Christian themes.

Now available from Zonderkidz is The Berenstain Bears: 5-Minute Inspirational Stories featuring twelve full stories with full-page artwork.

The collection includes:

God Loves You!
Say Their Prayers
Love Their Neighbors
Faithful Friends
The Forgiving Tree
And the Biggest Brag
And The Gift of Courage
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Get Involved
Gossip Gang
God Bless Our Home
Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Spring Reads: Robert B. Parker's Little White Lies

Putnam; 320 pages; $27.00; Amazon
Available today in bookstores from Putnam is Robert B. Parker's Little White Lies written by Ace Atkins, which marks the 45th title in the popular Spenser series. (Well, the 46th if you can't 2009's Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel.)

Created by the late Robert B. Parker, the Spenser novels centers on a Boston private detective named Spenser, who's first name is never mentioned in the books. The first novel in the series, The Godwulf Manuscript, was published in 1973, and quickly became popular with mystery readers. Many sequels followed, as well as a short-lived television series called Spenser: For Hire (1985 - 1988) starring Robert Urish as Spenser. A spin-off television series, A Man Called Hawk, aired for only 13 episodes. Four made-for-TV sequel movies aired during the 1990s. The novels Small Vices, Thin Air, and Walking Shadow were later adapted into made-for-TV movies on A&E starring Joe Mantegna as Spenser.

After Robert B. Parker's death in 2010, journalist/writer Ace Atkins was picked to continue writing the Spenser novels. Little White Lies marks the 6th Spenser novel written by Mr. Atkins. The other Spenser titles written by him are: Lullaby, Wonderland, Cheap Shot, Kickback and Slow Burn.

Spenser's newest case in Little White Lies has him helping Connie Kelly, a woman who gave a three hundred thousand dollars investment to her online boyfriend, Mr. Brooke Welles. Of course right after she gave Welles the money, he broke all ties with her and disappeared without a trace. After confiding with her shrink, Dr. Susan Silverman, Connie contacted Spenser to investigate Welles.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Reads: Sandpiper Cove

Revell; 352 pages; $15.99; Amazon

Now available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, is the Christian romance novel Sandpiper Cove, book three in the Hope Harper series, by three-time Rita award winner Irene Hannon.

I wasn't really intrigued by the cover art when I first saw it. I have read a few other titles by the author, so that's about the only reason why I signed up to review this one.

The novel is set at the Oregon seaside village called Hope Harbor, and centers on police chief and single mom Lexie Graham. She doesn't have much time for anything else life has to offer, especially romance, which is the last thing on her mind. Of course this a romance, so her mind (and her heart) changes after she meets ex-con Adam Stone, who she later enlists to help a troubled young man.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Reads: Never Never by James Patterson

Little Brown & Company; 400 pages; Amazon

Yes, keeping up with each new James Patterson release can be a little difficult with at least two books, as well as the Bookshots ebooks, being released every month. The author's thriller Never Never, co-written with Candice Fox, was released in January, and it introduced a brand new character, Detective Harriet "Harry" Blue - well sorta, since technically the character was first introduced in the "Black & Blue" Bookshots novella.

In the novel, Harry Blue is a detective for the Sex Crimes Department in Sydney, Australia. She is shell-shocked when she learns that her brother, Sam, has been arrested for the Georgia River Three murders.

Despite wanting to do anything she can to prove her brother's innocence, her boss orders not to get involved with the case and gives her a new assignment out of the city. She's assigned a simple missing-person case, but there is one catch - she has to work with a new partner, Edward Whittaker, who is more or less there to babysit her while the Feds are investigating her bother.

Final Thoughts: Honestly, it took me over a month to read Never Never, which is probably the longest it has ever taken me to read a James Patterson novel. The problem for me is that I couldn't connect with the main character, aka Harry Blue. Her, along with most the other characters, felt very flat and one-dimensional with absolutely no character development; just a wooden by-the-book character similar to the ones on television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Reads: Goosebumps SlappyWorld: Slappy Birthday To You

Scholastic; 156 pages; $6.99; Amazon
Now available from Scholastic is the first book in the all new Goosebumps series, titled SlappyWorld: Slappy Birthday To You, featuring the fan favorite villain - the ventriloquist dummy named Slappy.

In a slight change of format from the Goosebumps Most Wanted series, SlappyWorld begins with a short introduction by Slappy himself, followed by the first part of the story. Occasionally, Slappy interrupts the story for a page or two; typically adding some slapstick humor.

The main character in this tale is Ian Barker, who is forced to celebrate his twelfth birthday with his younger sister, Molly, and their two annoying cousins Jonny and Vinny.

Ian's father repairs dolls for a living, (Yep, that's a real job!) and he gives Ian a ventriloquist dummy named Slappy. The dummy was sent to be repaired by Mr. Barker, but it came with no return address. After a year passed by, Mr. Barker decided to give the dummy to Ian, who has been wanting a ventriloquist dummy for years.

Of course Slappy is no ordinary dummy, (He even has his own Wikipedia page!). After Ian's cousin reads the words off a mysterious piece of paper - "Karru   Marri   Odonna   Loma   Molonu   Karrano!,"strange things begin to occur in the Barker household, all of which points to one conclusion - Slappy is alive!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Reads: Murder Is No Accident by A. H. Gabhart

Revell; 351 pages; $13.99; Amazon
Now available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, is the murder-mystery novel Murder Is No Accident, book three in the Hidden Springs Mysteries, by author A.H. Gabhart.

Probably like many book lovers, I have always enjoyed reading a good mystery, especially when there is a cat on the cover. (Note: I'm also a cat lover.) If you happened to notice, there is a cat on the cover of Murder Is No Accident, which kinda explains why the novel appealed to me to begin with. Though, actually, I have read a few of the Shaker novels by the author, so I was already familiar with her writings.

This novel centers on a teenager named Maggie Greene (no she's not the same character from The Walking Dead) who happens to be at the right place at the wrong time. She had gotten permission to stay at the old Chandler mansion from Miss Fonda, an elderly woman who is now in a senior living facility. Maggie happened to be in the mansion the same day that real estate agent Geraldine Harper is murdered there. Yes, she could go to the police and tell them what she knows, but she thinks everyone would believe she was trespassing.

On the case to solve the mystery is Sheriff Michael Keane, who at first thinks the murder was a tragic accident, but he quickly believes otherwise after another body is discovered.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring Reads: The Elusive Miss Ellison

Kregel; 304 pages; $14.99; Buy Link; Blog Tour

Now available from Kregel Publishing is the romantic regency novel The Elusive Miss Ellison, book one in the Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series, by author Carolyn Miller.

Set in the small village of St. Hampton Heath, Gloucestershire, England in the early 1800s, the novel centers on Nicholas, the youngest son of the Earl of Hawkesbury, returning home. Despite the fact most of the villagers are excited about his return, he plans on making his visit very brief, mostly thanks to his guilt over his brother's harmful past.

The last thing Nicholas wanted was to fall in love, but that's exactly what happens after several unwanted encounters with the opinionated Miss Lavinia  Ellison, who happens to be a minister’s daughter.

I guess you can say that Lavinia isn't exactly excited to learn of Nicholas return to town, especially since the Hawkesbury family are responsible for her mother's death.

Spring Reads: I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug!

ZonderKidz; 30 pages; $16.99; Amazon
To kickoff this year's first "Spring Reads" post, I'm featuring a review for the picture book "I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug!" by author Caroline B. Cooney with illustrations by Tim Warnes. The book was published at the end of 2016 by Zonderkids. I've had a review copy for about two months and I"m just now getting around to reviewing it.

It's difficult for me to write a decent review for the title as the book doesn't have a plot of any kind. As the title suggests, the picture book is about giving hugs through the eyes of a child. The child in the story uses his imagination to give different kinds of hugs, such as a cat hug, a big hug, a bear hug, etc..

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Spring Reads: Dawn at Emberwilde

Thomas Nelson; 352 pages; Buy Link; Blog Tour
It seems the days have been creeping up on me as I thought had a few more days before the Dawn at Emberwilde book tour started, but as it turns out,  today was the my scheduled day to post my review for the title. Since I hadn't read the book yet, I sat down this afternoon with a cup of coffee and read the entire novel in one sitting.

Dawn at Emberwilde (book two in the Treasures of Surrey series) centers on Isabel Creston, a young woman who has been taking care of her sister, Lizzie, ever since the death of their father. Isabel had attended the Fellsworth School since she was seven-years-old, and she is now a teacher there.

Out of nowhere, Edmund Bradford arrives at the school to inform Isabel that relatives of her mother has been looking for them. The relatives has also offered to Isabel and Lizzie into their home at Emberwilde.

While hesitant at first, Isabel agrees to visit Emberwilde and meet her family, where she is thrown into a strange new world that requires her to wear fancy dresses and socialize with strangers (and possible suitors).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Spring Reads: Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson

Jimmy Patterson Books; 384; $13.99; Amazon
With many schools taking a hiatus for summer vacation, kids now have plenty of time to crack open a book. One of the most popular middle-grade and YA author is James Patterson.

Yes, I said that right - James Patterson, the New York Times Bestselling author of the crime thriller series Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, and many other titles. Mr. Patterson has written (and co-written) several different series for younger readers, such as the Maximum Ride books, the Middle School novels, the I Funny novels, the Treasure Hunters novels, the House of Robots Novels, and the Daniel X novels.

Now available from Jimmy Patterson Books (part of Little Brown and Company), is Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (co-writers of the Middle School and I Funny books).

Jack Ha-Ha is written in point-of-view of Jacky, an actress who is about to receive an Oscar, but before she heads off to the Academy Awards, she writes down a story for her daughters, Tina & Grace, to read. The story is set in 1990 and centers around Jacky Hart when she just a kid. Her mother was in Marine Corps and was sent to Iraq, leaving her father, a lifeguard, to take care of Jacky and her six sisters.

Why is she called Jacky Ha-Ha?