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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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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The Preacher by Donna Hughey

The PreacherThe Preacher by Donna Hughey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I won a signed copy of The Preacher by Donna Hughey after entering a GoodReads Fist Reads Giveaway.

What I liked about this book:

The presentation was nice overall. The cover has a nice feel and the text is large and easy to read. The author spent some time and included a sweet personal note to me, as well. Thank you, this meant a lot to me.

This book can be read in one day and would make a great book for anyone who likes Christian themed books. The story is funny and the characters are easy to like. I was able to visualize each of them without issues.

This book is like a candy sprinkled muffin. Everything works out and everyone is happy in the end. The Preacher would be a great book for someone who is religious. There are no racy sex scenes (not that I wanted them, I didn’t.) or foul language. It is a very ‘P.C’ book. Kudos to the author for a sweet story.

What I didn’t like about this book:
1. This is hard for me, because, I don’t like to write negative reviews. But, I have to be honest. This book has a very Christian theme. I usually do not read these types of books. The only reason I even picked this book was due to the back cover. The back cover description is slightly deceiving, as I thought this was more of a book about dark secrets and less about a preacher keeping a foreclosure from his wife. It was not what I expected when I read the back.

2. It was predictable. I was able to foretell what would happen next. There was no mystery about this story.

3. I did not like the main character, the preacher. I felt he was being portrayed as a Saint when he lied to his wife, used her money and then, asked for a loan from a large church to save his butt. (Not in that order.) I felt his wife forgave him because he is a preacher and even though he lied, he ends up happy.

Overall, this was an okay story with a simple Christian theme. This is not a bad book, just not my kind of book. I am sure there are tons of readers who will enjoy it. Thank you Donna Hughey, for the beautiful handwritten note. Thank you to Goodreads and to the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

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Brutal Youth. A must read for anyone with children!

Brutal YouthBrutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“It was nothing.” he said. “Just kids stuff.” ~Davidek, Brutal Youth.

Brutal youth is filled with the harsh realities of “just kid stuff”. It is also filled with the even harsher reality that this “just kid stuff” molds and forms into “Just adult stuff.” What we learn as children becomes who we are as adults.

I received Anthony Breznican’s new novel Brutal Youth, Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, after winning an Advance Reading Copy from a Giveaway on Goodreads in May 2014. The back cover caught my eye and I have been hooked ever since. The focus of the story surrounds a Catholic School, three freshman and the hazing they endure at the hands of their upperclassmen and teachers.

The reader is drawn into the novel with a violent opening story that could have happened in any school, in any hometown, in any state. The reader follows the three freshman as they try to navigate through the twisted and hate filled halls of St. Michael the Archangel High School.

The novel is an easy read. The language is simple and inviting. The novel is not filled with fluff. Anthony Breznican will tear your heart out one minute and have you eating it for breakfast the next. During which time, you will be laughing, crying and thanking him.

At first glance, the reader may think this book is geared toward the Young Adult crowd. It is more than that. Adults will find themselves thrown into their own memories of High school after reading this book.

This book should be read by every teenager, teacher, medical professional and parent. It should also be on the required reading list in High School. The novel puts the reader in the ring with the bullies and those that suffer at the hands of them. It also shows, in order to survive in this culture, you risk becoming what you hate.

After you read this novel, please pass it on to a teenager, or parent or teacher. There are lessons to be learned.

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Driving with the Top Down: A Novel. Book Review.

Driving with the Top Down: A NovelDriving with the Top Down: A Novel by Beth Harbison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brutally Honest. This book rocks!

I won Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison, after entering a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. The book is published by St. Martin’s Press.

As I said, this book is brutally honest. The book follows two woman in their 30’s and one 16 year-old girl on a strange road trip. Colleen Bradley, the married, mother of one, with a small business on the side, decides to take a road trip. She is having a small mid-life crisis and needs to take a break, while her husband and son go on a ‘boy’s trip’ for a week or so. Right before she is set to leave, her husband asks her to take his niece, 16 year-old Tamara, along because his brother has to go out of town. Tamara is damaged goods. Weed smoking, drinking and all around bad girl, Colleen is less than eager to take her along. Other than a heated disagreement over a Facebook post, the two have not spoken. Colleen dreads it, but agrees to take her along. Once on the road, the two are accosted by a sick-o in a semi-truck and they take the next exit on the highway to get away from him. The exit just happens to be for the town Colleen went to college at. It has a great diner and they stop for some home-cooked, greasy, southern food. While at the diner they run into Colleen’s ex-best friend from college, who is having a crisis of her own. After circumstances make them pile into the old worn out convertible of Collen’s, the three set out on a wild trip down the east coast to Florida. All the while, coming to terms with their own personal demons.

This book is raw, personal, truthful and so much fun. It is also dark, and very real. Beth Harbison tackles real issues in her novel many women face every day. She brings to light the darkness, and heartache that go along with bad choices, fate and destiny with grace. She also gives the reader a sense of hope when everything else fails.
The only issue with this novel is that it could be a trigger for some people who have been abused, or are depressed. Do not let this keep you from reading this amazing story.

This is the first novel I have read from author Beth Harbison and I will be searching for more of her books. I started the book yesterday and finished it this morning. It is that good. Driving with the Top Down is more than just ‘chick lit’, as some would call it. It is a lesson in what it means to be a woman, mother and human in this crazy messed up world. I recommend giving this book to your mother, sister, daughter or best friend.

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A World Elsewhere: An American Woman in Wartime Germany

A World Elsewhere: An American Woman in Wartime GermanyA World Elsewhere: An American Woman in Wartime Germany by Sigrid MacRae
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To start off, I won an AUP of A World Elsewhere: An American Woman in Wartime Germany(softcover) by Sigrid MacRae after entering a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.
This novel is a memoir of a family in Germany before, during and after WWII. This novel is written by one of the younger children who never knew her father.
The novel also shows the reader a view point of A German military officer during WWII and the reasons he joined with Hitler against the Russians. I found this to be very interesting because, most history is written by the winners and the losers are often portrayed in an unjust light.
After the death of her husband, the Countess and her 6 children must learn how to survive in war torn Germany. Her struggle is amazing and horrible. This story is not just about Hitler or even who was right or wrong. It is a snap shot of what happens in war to those left behind. The daily the struggle to survive,to gather food, clothing and to have a roof to sleep under at night brings us a picture of the effects of war. It is a great human story of one woman’s fight to keep her family safe, alive and together.
I wish there would have been more photographs since, they are hinted at in the book. Also, at times, the background and stories about the war are jumbled and can lead to some confusion for the reader.
Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs and history.
A big thank you to the Author, publisher and Goodreads for allowing me to read this inspiring work!

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The Pillars of the earth continued….

Ok I told every one that I would continue writing about The Pillars of the Earth while I read it. Well, turns out, I lied. I did not mean to lie to you dear reader. I just got caught up in the story.

Ken Follet’s 1989 story has been given life by the Stars miniseries. I have not seen the miniseries. So I can’t comment on it. But I can comment on the book. This book follows the lives of several people during the 12 century. What I found interesting, is that Ken Follet admits that he does not believe in God, but this book is soaked to the brim with stories about God,Churches, Monks, and Bishops. Most of the time, this book focuses on the corrupt side of these characters. But still it was hard for me to read, once I found out that he expressed that he did not believe in God. Not because I was upset that he is a non-believer. I could care less about that. I just found it funny, that in his story he tells  of several individuals, who have a strong believe in GOD. Each one believing that he is right in his actions, due to it is GODS will.

The story starts out with small boys watching a hanging of a young man. The men that hang this young man are cursed by a 15 yr old girl.  The story then moves forward to Part one 1135-1136.  Here we find the main characters Tom the builder(no relation to Bob the builder, although for the 1st 100 pages or so, I kept singing the sound. Can we fix it? Yes we can!) his wife and two children. Tom is building a house for a young couple soon to be married. Shortly he finds out that the young bride the daughter of the Earl of Shiring, rejects the proposal to marry William Hamleigh. William whose father is a important man in the country, is furious. He rides to the building site, almost knocking over Tom’s youngest daughter in the process and tells Tom to stop building. Tom upset over the near miss of his daughter by William, stands his ground and tells William that his workers must get payed for the rest of the week of building. William, a spoiled rich boy, argues with him until Tom brings up the subject of hell fire  on him. William finally agrees to pay, but Tom and his family have made an enemy for life.

Tom and his family find that they are destitute and wander trying to find work. Tom refuses to settle to build houses, instead wanting to find a church to build. His wife is pregnant, they are starving and it is winter. She gives birth and dies. Tom leaves the baby on the grave of its mother and continues on with his children. After a day he has a change of heart and turns around to get the baby. But the baby is not there. When his wife died, he meets up with Ellen. Ellen lives in the woods with her young son Jack. (Tom and his family had met the pair once before earlier) Ellen shows up again and leads Tom to where the baby is. The baby was found by a traveling Monk.

Tom falls in love with the women and they leave the baby with the Monk. Tom continues to travel the roads with his children and new wife. They are starving. They come to the town of Kingsbridge. Where they met Prior Phillip.

well there you have it. The frist couple of chapters.  This book is 1007 pages long. It was an interesting read. A little long in some parts. It has several rape scenes and violence. The rape scenes get old after the 1st two or so. So if you are opposed to things like that, this might not be the book for you. Yes the information is important to the story line in a way. But I kept feeling like maybe it was being used too much. After reading this book, I understand why some have ban it from schools and the like. Not saying that I agree that it should be banned. I don’t think any book should be banned. But I can understand the reason behind it.

Thanks for reading,

Until next time,

Thump