Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What they Tells Us about Ourselves by Frans de Waal

Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about OurselvesMama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by Frans de Waal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mama’a Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by Frans de Waal

is a beautiful breath of fresh air for those of us who live with animals and often find ourselves explaining to non-animal people the behaviors of our beloved pets. These behaviors to us are easy to interpret, most of the time. As pet owners, we often say our pets have emotions and can even sense our own moods. We might get an eye-roll or a sideways glance from our non-pet owning friends or family members because they just don’t understand. Frans de Waal is trying to understand but with science.

Frans de Waal isn’t interested so much in the everyday house cat or dog. His focus is more on the behaviors of Primates and no, I am not talking about humans. Although, we do fit into this research. He writes about recognizing ourselves in them. He writes about the relationship between the Chimpanzee Mama with not only her family group but her handlers as well. The relationship between chimpanzees was not just about eating and mating. It was a whole hierarchy of social structure similar to groups of humans, in some ways. Not all of the behavior was mimicked behavior, either. There were form, rules, and status within the groups that to the average viewer would look like chaos. The more he and others watched them, the more they learned there was a reason for what appeared to be chaos was in fact, a social order being run by Mama. The Alpha Female.

He writes about how chimpanzees handle death. How they comfort each other and how they mourn the loss. This, to me, was one of the most interesting parts of the book. We all have heard the stories of dogs, cats and even wild animals standing guard over the body of a deceased group/pack member. Frans De Waal brings some interesting points as to why this takes place.

This is a well-written book, easy to follow, and interesting. It is packed full of great stories and personal accounts. I recommend this to anyone who is fascinated with animal sciences or loves animals in general.

Thank you to W.W. Norton & Company, and Frans de Waal for sending me this great book to review. I am looking forward to the next one. Thank you for the ARC won on Goodreads.

View all my reviews


Hitler’s Pawn: The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust by Stephen Koch

Hitler's Pawn: The Boy Assassin and the HolocaustHitler’s Pawn: The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust by Stephen Koch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hitler’s Pawn: The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust by Stephen Koch is a mesmerizing and captivating read about a period of much-forgotten history for many.

The story of the boy who started the events which many believed led to the horrors experienced by the Jewish people is one which is not taught in schools today. His story appears to have been lost to our current generation and one which would like to be forgotten by past generations.

Koch writes with great skill, compassion, and research. He leaves few details out when discussing the youth described as the catalyst for Hitler’s plan to remove the Jewish population.

In my opinion, this book should be on the reading list in all high school history classes, colleges and in every home library. This book is important. This is a part of history which should not be forgotten.

Thank you to Stephen Koch, the publishers, and Goodreads for sending me this book to review. I won this book after entering a giveaway on Goodreads.

View all my reviews

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!

View all my reviews

Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World It Made

Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it MadeHell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made by Richard Rhodes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Richard Rhodes hit the mark with his book Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made. Rhodes has provided a glimpse of history which has been ignored for far too long. The prequel to WWII, The Spanish Civil War was more of a testing war for Hitler, at the expense of the Spanish citizens.

Rhodes has taken his time and tracked down first hand accounts of this war. It is this which makes this book worth reading. Some history writers fill pages with so much detail or strategic information the reader gets bored. There is nothing boring about this book. There are lessons to be learned here and much to understand.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the time leading up to WWII. I also feel this book should be read in High School due to the historical content.

Special Thanks to The Reading Room for sending this book to me after I entered a giveaway.

View all my reviews

Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

Lacy EyeLacy Eye by Jessica Treadway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won this book after entering a giveaway on The Reading Room.

Lacy Eye is a powerful, depressing book about the murder of one parent and the injury of another. The mother and father are attacked in their bed one night over Thanksgiving. The mother survives, but is unable to remember the event in detail. The man who killed her husband is her daughter’s boyfriend or so she thinks. Everyone around her, including her other daughter, believe her youngest daughter had something to do with the event. She is unable to see this until it is too late.

Lacy Eye is a difficult read for anyone who is a parent. It is depressing to follow the main character as she tries to figure out if her daughter was involved in the murder of her husband. The lengths she will go to, to not remember are amazing.

As a parent, the one thought that continued to run through my brain while reading this was, “what would I do if this happened to me?” Even after finishing the book, I still could not answer this question. I found myself wanting to reach through the book and shake the mother until she stopped living with blinders on.

This book is disturbing because we all know someone who lives in a very small box and refuses to see what type of person their own child is. We know the mother who says “it is just a phase.” or “He didn’t mean it like that.” or “He is so misunderstood. If only people would stop judging him..”

Lacy Eye describes the behavior of someone close to me so well, I had to check who the author was several times. This is not a feel-good work of fiction. It won’t make you warm and fuzzy. If you are prone to depression, this might not be the book for you. If you know someone who has a hard time seeing their own children as the world sees them, you might want to give them this book when it comes out in March 2015. Then again, they might not even understand why you are giving it to them.

A big thanks to The Reading Room, author and publisher for allowing me the chance to read this book. I will be looking for more books by Jessica Treadway.

View all my reviews


Eeny MeenyEeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won a Uncorrected proof of Eeny Meeny after entering a First Reads, Goodreads contest.

From Back Cover: ” Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. One lives and one dies.”

Eeny Meeny is a murder mystery/thriller set in the U.K in present time. DI Helen Grace is a hard, tough female DI and she gets handed the case above. The book takes the reader along while Grace figures out who committed the murders.

What I liked about this book:

1. It is fast. The story gets right to the point, most of the time. 2. Strong female lead. DI Helen Grace is a strong, tough female lead with issues. 3. The book has very short chapters. 4. The story is original and it kept me wondering what was going to happen next.

What I didn’t like about this book and the reason I gave it two stars:

1. The 2nd chapter brings to the attention of the reader a darker part of DI Grace. She is into S and M. I tried to figure out why the author would include this right at the start, and couldn’t. It seemed like the author was trying to gain some readers from the “50 shades” book. This whole side story of S and M, did not fit with the character of DI Grace. Frankly, I am sick of the whole bondage junk that authors are trying to push unto readers. I finished the book just to see how this side story was brought to a close. It just does not fit. I cannot see the character doing this. It is almost like the author just threw it in the book to shock the reader. I disliked it so much, I almost put the book down after the 2nd chapter. It seemed like the author was trying to ride on the coat-tails of someone else. I feel if this part was left out, this would be a better story. If you like that sort of thing and you are not sick of seeing it appear in books, then…hey..maybe this will be a great read for you. This is the main reason, I gave this book two stars. I feel like this S and M stuff has been overused. In this book it really does not have anything to do with the story.

2. Often one chapter will end with a great part of the story and the next will begin with new characters. This was confusing. It is supposed to be the next victims in these chapters, was hard to follow. I found myself turning back a few pages, trying to figure out who was who.

Overall, the story was good. The whole idea behind the book is great and I can see where this might be picked up by T.V. I was on the edge of my seat several times and I read the book in a day. It is like reading The Fall and The Killing combined. (I didn’t like The Fall T.V show either for the same reason. The sex is just there for shock, nothing else.) If the author expanded on the reasons for the main character’s interest in S and M-it is hinted to, but never comes out and says it, then maybe I could understand what they were trying to present. Also, the bouncing from one character’s POV to another is exhausting to read. This book was a hit in the U.K and is scheduled to be released June 2015 as a New American Library Trade Paperback.

Special thanks to Goodreads, M.J. Arlidge-the author and the publisher NAL for allowing me to receive a Uncorrected proof of this book.

View all my reviews

Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow





Disclaimer: I won a copy of Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow, penned by Tilly Bagshawe after entering a Review Giveaway on The Reading Room’s website.

Chasing Tomorrow starts out interesting and strong. It’s main character center’s around a strong female lead, as do most of Sheldon’s books. I was confused as to why Tilly Bagshawe’s name was also added as an author, since I have only read one of Sheldon’s books, until I did a little research. Bagshawe is currently writing in the style of Sheldon, per request from Sheldon’s Estate. This is the 2nd book of Sheldon’s I have read and the 1st of Bagshawe’s.

The main female character starts out fierce, but becomes predictable in the middle of the book. I am glad I finished the book and did not stop at this point. The ending makes up for any predictability.

The Female lead is a con-artist who is marrying another con-artist. It is no surprise when their relationship tanks and the lead finds herself alone. She leaves her old life behind and starts over with a surprise addition. For ten years she lives a quite, secluded life, until an investigator calls her regarding a string of murders. At first, she is the main suspect. She has to leave her new life behind and enter back into the dark world of a con-artist in order to help find the killer.

Overall, this was a decent book in the style of Sheldon.
A big Thank you to The Reading Room, the author, and the publisher for the chance to read and review this book.  Don’t forget to visit The Reading Room here for giveaways and more book reviews.