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 I also feel this book should be read in High School due to the historical content.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.

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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.

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EENY MEENY

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, but..it 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.

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Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow

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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. 

Secrets of a Charmed Life-Best Read for 2015

Secrets of a Charmed LifeSecrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won an uncorrected proof of Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, after entering a contest on Goodreads.

Secrets of a Charmed Life, by Susan Meissner is a beautiful book. Kendra Van Zant, an American scholar is trying to win a place in the world and sets out to interview a reclusive survivor of World War II. Isabel MacFarland has a secret and is ready to tell her story about her life during and after the war. The novel takes place in Present day, Oxford, England and 1942, England.

Kendra is under the impression she is going to be told a simple story about one woman in World War II. The story is anything but simple. Before the famous Blitz, almost one million children are evacuated to the country in England, into homes of people they do not know. With tags around their necks and belongings, they leave their homes, and journey by train. Kendra learns of one 15 year-old who does not want to be sent away to the country with her sister. Emmy’s passion for drawing wedding dresses and her future, are very much on her mind, when her absentminded mother orders her to leave the city and travel with her younger sister to the country. Emmy is determined to return to the city, without her sister, to finish her dream of becoming a Wedding Dress Designer. Things don’t go as planned and something devastating happens.

Meissner has woven a portrait of life during World War II in England that is unforgettable. Some have compared this novel to The Orphan Train. Meissner takes the story of these children so much further than The Orphan Train ever did. Her writing is smooth, and hypnotic. She has captured the pain and struggle of those during WWII with ease.

I recommend this novel to everyone I meet. I look forward to reading more of Meissner’s work. Look for this book in February 2015. Make sure it is on your reading list!

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Independently Wealthy. A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Independently Wealthy: A NovelIndependently Wealthy: A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won a copy of Independently Wealthy:A Novel, by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, after entering a Goodreads 1st Reads giveaway. Published by Thomas Dunne Books, a divison of St. Martin’s Press.

Independently Wealthy is the 2nd book and sequel to New Money, also by Rosenthal. Independently Wealthy picks up where New Money left off. It is not a requirement to read New Money before, but, if the reader tends to get confused because of lack of back story in this novel, then by all means, check out New Money 1st. Thomas Dunne Books even offered to send me a digital galley link for New Money, if I needed it.

Independently Wealthy opens up with Savannah Morgan living in Manhattan during Christmas. Savannah inherited a massive amount of money after the death of her father, in New Money. She was united with a family she never even knew existed and starts a new richer life in Manhattan. She ends up going to work for her brother, who after their father’s tragic unexplained death, takes over the company. Savannah is obsessed with finding out the truth about her father’s death. The reader follows her as she tries to track down information and people, all under the radar of her very controlling bother.

Savannah is a southern girl who never knew who her father was and certainly did not know he was loaded. She takes to living in a expensive apartment in Manhattan and showering the people in her life with expensive gifts, even if they don’t like them. She has her own driver and gives him a big present for his family at Christmas. Savannah wasn’t born a rich heiress, yet, she at times comes across as flaky and out of touch. There are several, several references to they type of car her boyfriend is driving, a Honda and the type of clothes he is wearing and she is wearing, that almost makes the reader feel like Savannah is a snob. I don’t think this is what the Author was trying to do, but the constant references about clothes, shoes and cars, including their brands, made me not like Savannah at times. For a girl who has just become wealthy, she has a large appetite for expensive things and seems to have a good deal of knowledge about those items. There are times, when the type of shoe or car is not relevant to the story and becomes distracting.

This is an easy read and is a good snuggle and watch the snow fall book. It is lighthearted in places and captures the vibe of winter in NYC and Manhattan. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Rosenthal and Thomas Dunne Books.

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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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