A Dog’s Way Home

A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron is continuing my dog themed books for fun this year. As usual, I am late to the party and haven’t had the privilege of reading any of Mr. Cameron’s other books. (Rare brain disease and surgery has me playing catch up.)

I wanted to love this book. I really did. The hype surrounding it is huge. I want you to know I tried. I enjoyed the POV from Bella, her interaction with Lucas and his mother. Some of the language Bella uses drove me crazy. For example “No barks” and “Go home.” I don’t think I have ever heard use the command “No barks” before. Then, the whole issue when Bella is told to “Go home” seems irresponsible, as well. Hey, it is a story, right? Like I said, I might be having an off day.

Bella gets separated from Lucas, her human, and sets out to find him. If you are a dog lover or an animal lover, you might enjoy this one.

I found myself getting bored with the story midway through. I felt like the story was dragging. I couldn’t get into the story as much as I felt I should.

It isn’t a bad story and from what I can tell tons of people love it. Give it a shot. Maybe you will love it. Let me know what you think.

I will be looking for more of Mr. Cameron’s books to read in the future though. Not giving up.

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We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels covers three generations of women in Detroit dealing with race issues.

Each of the women face the challenges of her generation from helping escaped slaves, to betrayal by her own family, to moving to the country due to who one chose to marry. This is a book full of surprises.

Bartels writing style is easy to follow. She weaves the three generations of women beautifully. The reader goes from the present, to the 60’s, to the Civil War and after.

This is a good read. A story told from another view point and well worth reading.

The only thing I felt was lacking was her character Mary. The overall story of Mary is strong and I enjoyed her story the most but the ending of her story felt rushed and unfinished. It left me feeling like there was so much more to tell about what happened to her and her family. I hope there will be more books in the future about Mary. The Author leaves some things floating around for the reader to think about regarding Mary’s story.

Thank you to Bookishfirst and Erin Bartels for sending this book for me to review.

Code Name: Lise by Larry Loftis

Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy

Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Life takes guts.” Lucille Ball is quoted to have said. If anyone knows anything about this statement it is those who sacrifice their own safety, comfort, and sanity for that of their country. During World War II thousands came together to do just this. Odette Sansom was one of those.

Odette Sansom is anything but average. Her childhood battles are enough to make most weep. She manages to overcome them and make it to adulthood. Her struggles during childhood may have been what gave her the strength to survive the pain she endured during her imprisonment.

1942, Sansom leaves her children behind and joins the SOE. This would have been considered unconventional at the time for a woman to leave her children and go off to war for some. She is anything but conventional. She refuses to sit in the safety of the British countryside while her friends and family struggle in France.

During SOE training, she learns special hand-to-hand combat, parachute, and weapons training. All of which are new and secret training methods at the time. Her training in the SOE mirrors the training of another unit at the time, the 1st Special Service Force Aka the Devil’s Brigade or “The Black Devil’s” as the German’s called them. (a joint unit of Canadian-U. S members, also protected by secret, activated 9 July 1942.) The training was not average by any standard at the time, even for men. For women to go through it and to excel, took guts.

Sansom is sent to France under the command of Captain Peter Churchill. He adds her to his unit when he sees her merit. They fall in love despite her being married. They complete missions in France. She gets captured by Germans and sent to concentration camps where she suffers unimaginable torture at the hands of the Germans. She doesn’t give up.

Her story doesn’t sound believable. How can one person go through so much and survive? Sansom did, but many did not. Her story is an example of one of the many untold stories of men and women who gave up everything during World War II.

In 1950, Herbert Wilcox directed Anna Neagle in the British war film, Odette. Neagle and Wilcox produced it. A title card at the end of the film quotes Sansom.

Code Name: Lise by Larry Loftis is an extraordinary and detailed story of a courageous mother of three who went on to become an SOE agent, a spy, for Britain and France. This is a great read. Thank you to Anabel Jimenez at Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster, and Larry Loftis for the privilege of reading an advanced reader’s copy!

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Deck the Hounds- An Andy Carpenter Mystery #18 by David Rosenfelt

Deck the Hounds (Andy Carpenter #18)Deck the Hounds by David Rosenfelt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you enjoy stories about Christmas, dogs, homeless Veterans with PTSD, semiretired criminal defense lawyers (who only take on innocent clients), ex-cop turned investigator wives, funny sidekicks who grunt responses and a murder/frame up thrown in for good measure, then this is the book the book to read.

Deck the Hounds is #18 in the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt. I am a little ashamed to say it is the first one I have had the honor of reading. A big thank you to Minotaur Books and David Rosenfelt for sending me Deck the Hounds to read and review! I can say I am now on the Andy Carpenter team!

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A REVIEW-ORIGIN by DAN BROWN

Origin (Robert Langdon, #5)Origin by Dan Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“my mother’s unwavering zealotry has a lot to do with my abhorrence of religion. I call it-‘Newton’s Third Law of Child Rearing: For every lunacy, there is an equal and opposite lunacy.'” Edmund

Dan Brown’s Origin Robert Langdon is one of those books you either dislike it or enjoy it right out of the gate. I picked up a paperback copy of Origin at one of the local big box stores while waiting for my small library of boxes to arrive during a move. Origin kept me entertained.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell

The above quote was what drew me to the book, besides the synopsis. Probably because I was in the process of moving. Seemed fitting. This is the first of several quotes the reader encounters. It is right before the Prologue. There are poems as well as references to famous books. It is a Dan Brown story, what else do you expect?

Some Spoilers…just a few.

The story takes Harvard professor, Robert Langdon to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. He receives an invitation from a former pupil. Edmund, his former pupil is an ultra-rich, genius, 40-year-old who specializes in game theory(a field of mathematics) and computer modeling. Edmund is hosting an event at the Guggenheim to release to the world something which will change the way the world views all religions and science. Robert Langdon is unaware of what Edmund is planning, or what trouble lies ahead for him as he enters the Guggenheim for the event. All he knows is he has been asked to attend a formal event and soon learns the future Queen of Spain is not only in attendance, but she is also the host. Robert Langdon is excited to hear what Edmund has discovered. Of course, something goes wrong…

In typical Brown style, the rest of the story unfolds with exuberant amounts of the history of Spain especially Barcelona, the controversial art and architecture created by Gaudi, poems, religions, science, the conflicts between the two, codes, and symbols. A murder, religious and science conflict, Langdon trying to save the day with a beautiful woman are all there, as well. What is not to like?

The whole story centers around these two questions:Where did we come from? Where are we going?

I enjoyed Origin. I learned a lot about Spain, especially Barcelona. I found myself stopping every few pages and looking some little tidbit up to see if it existed. This was the best part, for me. I enjoyed Origin because I not only read a decent work of fiction, which kept me entertained, but it made me want to find out more information about the places, people, and subjects in the story.

At times it does read like a local guidebook for Barcelona, the Guggenheim, and the art of Gaudi. This might turn some readers off. All of this description, history, and information take up a lot of pages. If you are looking for a book which is fast-paced without a lot of description, this is not the book for you. The characters do not appear to get the same depth as the above do.

Origin kept me entertained, piqued my interest in the art, architecture, history of Spain and asked several questions about religion and science which I am still thinking about today.

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A raw read. In Pieces by Sally Field

SF

“I wait for my mother to haunt me as she promised she would”

I picked up a hardback copy of In Pieces by Sally Field, published by Grand Central Publishing, not knowing what to expect. A lover of memoirs, but not a complete fan of Star memoirs, I was hesitant to give it a go. I am glad I did.

In Pieces is raw, emotional and not your run-of-the-mill Star memoir. Field who took 7 years to write In Pieces, reflects on her childhood trauma with the eyes of a confused shy little girl and those of a strong woman who has found her voice. -even if that voice wavers, at times, due to its vulnerability. To have the strength to tell others in your circle about childhood abuse is a mountain to climb. To write about it for the world to see, to process it and to let the public in, even if we only see ‘pieces’ of it, takes courage.

This is not a fluff memoir. This is a kick in the gut read. This could be anyone’s story. This could be your story, your mother’s story, your sister’s, your daughter’s, grandmothers, etc… Women make up the major theme. The roles they play in Field’s early life start out the book. Center to her story is the strained relationship with her mother. As well as, her close relationship with her unique sister. This struggle continues throughout most of her life.

She touches on her marriage, parenting, failed relationships, and yes, Burt is in there too. All of this is done with a little laughter, some sorrow, questions, and even pain. It is as if she is sorting through a memory bank and taking the reader with her. In a way, she is. Photos, journal entries, magazine clippings, and other items are included as she walks her way through her past.

Most of all, this story is about mothers and daughters. The relationship between a child and mother is important. What happens when the two have a huge unspoken not so secret story? How does one forgive while the other is trying to forget or make up for their failings? This is the ultimate story.

Sure, some might roll their eyes at the thought of another Star memoir but they will be the ones missing out. Field shows us not to take everything at face value.

 

Until next time,

T.

Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir

Change Me into Zeus's Daughter: A MemoirChange Me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir by Barbara Robinette Moss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Change me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir, by Barabara Robinette Moss, is one of those sleeper books. I bought it at a used books store when a huge sale was going on and it sat on my shelf for some time before I picked it up.

I found out I was sick with a rare brain disorder in Jan of 2016. After years of trying going to doctors and ED visits and being sent home, I finally had an answer. The treatment options were not promising and I was also told I was going blind and deaf. If I refused to have surgery, this would only get worse until I would no longer be able to see. It was due to this diagnosis that I started to read everything in my house I could get my hands on. I didn’t want to waste one single moment I had left with my eyesight. I love to read, books are everything to me, as is my sight, and I could not think of being without the ability to hold a book in my hand and read the printed words.

This brings me back to Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir. The pages were worn, yellowed with age, and dogeared. I didn’t care. I peeled the discount sticker off the cover of the paperback and squinted at the black and white photo of the family sitting on the front steps, trying to see their faces through my fading vision.

The story is not about a famous starlet, sports start or other popular people. This story is about a simple person who grew up very poor with an equally abusive drunk father, and a mother who allowed the abuse. With a large number of siblings, living in the south, with a dysfunctional family, somehow Barbara Moss brings both humor and light to living in her world. She is able to show the reader both her life as a child through the eyes of an adult, and those as a child.

This Memoir to some may seem sad, and many may not want to read books about sad or abusive stories. It would be a shame to pass up this book. Barbara Moss captured me almost immediately with her quick wit, her direct way of writing, and above all else, her determination to survive at all costs, as a child.

It was by reading this book I was given the courage to go ahead and have the surgery I dreaded. I felt if she, a simple, ordinary person, like me, could survive the things in her life that she did, then I, could gather myself up and do what needed to be done.

It took courage to write her story about her life, her abuse, and her family. I hope, if she ever reads these reviews, she will know how much her book, helped this ordinary woman find the courage and strength to do what I needed to do, after reading her book.

Thank you, Barbara Robinette Moss, for having the courage to tell your story. I find it is the ordinary, everyday people whose stories have the most effect on me, and are the most interesting.

This is a well-written book, easy to read, easy to follow and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading Memoirs, history, large families, poverty and abuse.

 

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