Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Mind's Eye by Perry Prete

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Sands Press
Date of Publication: March 7, 2018
Pages: 243

Nicole Baker is a quiet girl - the type of person who is seldom noticed by anyone. That is until one day she discovers she has the unique ability to see images move on photographs. At first, she uses her ability to entertain friends at parties and work. Then senior detective Paul Hammond learns of her ability and enlists her help in a case of unsolved murders that he has not been able to make any headway on.

Carl Kadner, a rookie reporter with the local paper is investigating the murders as well. And he learns what it takes to be the kind of reporter he wants to be when he puts himself in danger for the sake of the story. It is only when Carl, Nicole and Detective Hammond pool their resources that things start making sense.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars 
The Mind's Eye by Perry Prete is a psychological thriller that will grasp you from the start and keep your attention the whole way through. Detective Paul Hammond is on a search for a serial killer who is attacking women and mutilating their bodies. Nicole Baker is a woman with a special gift of prescience. Carl Kadner is a new journalist hungry for his first big story. Chance (or fate, depending on how you look a it) brings all three characters together in a suspenseful situation as they race against the clock to locate and stop the killer. 

This book reminded me of a twisted episode of the now defunct show, Medium, and Criminal Minds combined. The book starts off with the three main characters in disparate storylines. By the midpoint of the book, the reader is able to see how they will all come together to work the case. I was completely vested in learning about these characters and finding out who was responsible for these horrific crimes. Because of the content I consider this book very graphic. Prete does a great job offering descriptive scenes that the reader can truly picture. I think this is an indicator of a strong writer who can paint such vivid pictures with words. The story is complete and leaves the reader satisfied. I do have to admit, for a while, I was worried there might be a cliffhanger. However, the author kept me guessing till the very end but also provided a fulfilling conclusion. 

While the story was tight, there were some typos that probably could have been resolved with more vigorous editing. My main issue with this book was the language. The author uses a lot of expletives and vulgar language that I did not care for, and I don't know that it really added to the story. I think it would have been just as strong without it. Also, I suspect because Prete has worked in the healthcare industry, he offered some technical jargon that slowed me down a bit. These issues were relatively minor and did not stop me from appreciating the novel.  

Recommendation: If you're in search for a thriller that might have you looking over your shoulder as you walk to the car at night, I think you will enjoy this book. Be sure to pick up your copy today or enter the giveaway below! 

Until next time ... Read on!

I received a free print copy of The Mind's Eye from iRead Book Tours. Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful. 

Perry Prete is a Canadian crime writer and paramedic. His first novel, All Good Things, introduced us to Ethan Tennant, a City of Ottawa paramedic who looks at crimes from the medical perspective.

Perry continues to work full-time as a paramedic and uses his thirty plus years of life changing and sometimes dramatic experiences to bring realism to his gripping medical novels. His other works include, The Things That Matter Most and All Good Things.

He is also a business owner, specializing in the pre-hospital care field. His company sells medical equipment across North America, primarily to EMS agencies.

A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Perry, graduated from Fanshawe College in London but now lives and works in Brockville, Ontario.

Connect with Perry.: Website | TwitterFacebook 

Prizes: Win a paperback of The Mind's Eye by Perry Prete (10 winners total) Four winners will also get a $10 Amazon GC (open to USA & Canada)
(ends Sept 29, 2018)

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Length: 369 pages
Published: 2016

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon - I learned about this little gem on NPR's book review section this summer, and librarian Nancy Pearl did not let me down! The focal point of this fiction novel is, Margaret Creasy, who goes missing during the 1976 heat wave in England and two little girls (Grace and Tilly) who set out to find her by searching for God. While Margaret Creasy is the nexus of the story, we never hear from her directly. The book is about her community and its reaction to her disappearance. This book is filled with mystery, suspense, and a dose of spirituality. And there's a little plot twist at the end - but no spoilers here, friends! 

The author provided a little bit of everything in this story. There was humor, love, compassion, and more. She created a great sense of tension for the reader in the journey of what happened to Margaret Creasy and why. I also appreciated the relationship between the two little girls. This book took me back to my childhood summers and friendships. I also appreciated Cannon's prose. I made nearly 20 highlights in my Kindle copy. She certainly has a way with words! And as Ms. Pearl noted, there's a cute and touching scene in the book featuring the two girls and a trip to their local library. This was much appreciated by the librarian and also this avid reader! 

There are a lot of characters in this book. Putting them together and learning what role they play takes a bit of work. And I will warn you, it takes a little bit to get into the book, but once you're in the meat of the story, I don't think it will let you go. You'll find yourself thinking of the residents of this little community for some time after finishing the book. Many thanks to my local Fort Worth Library for the digital loan! 

Recommendation: This is a fun summer read that I think just about anyone would enjoy. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede

Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Length: 6:00:00
Published: 2002

Narrator: Ray Porter

When the terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, there were many air crafts headed for the U.S. Understandably, President George W. Bush closed air space and threatened to shoot anyone down attempting to fly in the U.S. As a result, many travelers were stranded all over the world. And hundreds of them ended up in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland in Canada. The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede is the non-fiction account of how the citizens, affectionately referred to as Newfies, cared for not only Americans, but people from all over the world during those tenuous three days after the attacks. 

It was nice listening to this audiobook so many years after the attacks. I write this because we are far enough removed from them to be able to reminisce without all of the emotion from the events of the day as well as the aftermath. That is not to say this book was not emotional. It was touching. It made me smile. It made me tear up. It made me think. Our neighbors to the north took care of us, without reservation. And no matter what the 2018 Administration thinks, the people from Canada are our strong allies. 

Throughout the book, we learn about many different people: a couple who was bringing their newly adopted daughter from abroad, a mother who was on her way home but very stressed to learn that her son, a firefighter, had last been seen entering one of the Twin Towers, and an executive from the Hugo Boss company. In this audiobook version, I also listened to the stories of people who were not only new to Gander but their culture was as well. An orthodox Jew and a Nigerian princess were among the passengers who took refuge in this town. What was so amazing to me about this true story is that no matter the differences, the town came together and built on what united them - humanity - and in the midst of extreme tragedy, they took care of these people like extended family members. Because we are in such contentious political times in the United States today, it was nice to listen to this book and be reminded that people do care for one another and we are stronger together. 

Recommendation: I absolutely enjoyed this perspective of such a horrific time in U.S. history. I think everyone can benefit from reading this book. Fair warning, grab a box of tissues before you do! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful. 

That One Moment by Patty Wiseman

Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Date of Publication: May 8, 2017
Pages: 258

Ricki Sheridan traveled a long way to seek refuge at Wolf Den's Lodge high in the mountains after a devastating betrayal. Heartbroken, she signed up for a survivalist backpacking trip to live off the land and forget.

An injury on the first day puts her in the capable hands of the handsome trail boss, Kory Littleton. The attraction is instant, mutual, and terrifying. She trusted her emotions once and vowed never to make the same mistake again.

Kory's heart, trampled and bruised, is unprepared to ever love again, until his unexpected reaction to Ricki reveals some things are worth taking a chance on.

When evil finds its way back into Ricki's world, their fragile bond is tested, forcing them to face their greatest fear: can a wounded heart ever trust anew?

Betrayal. Desire. Revenge. Which one prevails?

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars 

In Patty Wiseman's That One Moment, she takes the reader on an engaging roller coaster of events and emotions surrounding Ricki Sheridan. Ricki, the book's protagonist, is on a self-imposed survivalist mountain adventure in an attempt to heal from her recent break-up from antagonist, Russ. While there, she meets trail leader, Kory Littleton with whom she immediately has feelings for. In hopes of getting her back - whether she wants it or not, Russ catches up with Ricki on her adventure and a love triangle is created ... And danger ensues! 

At just over 250 pages, the short read quickly got to the point and was fast-moving. It is definitely a contemporary romance novel, and you can tell that the author put her heart and soul into this book. Adding the mystery and suspense elements to this romantic novel gave it depth.   

I think this story is a great read for a quick escape from reality. While I was able to follow the story easily, I think the book could have benefited from some more aggressive editing as there were many formatting inconsistencies. I also wasn't a fan of the short, abrupt chapters that tended to disrupt the flow at times. Additionally, I think some more character development, which may have resulted in a longer book, would have helped create a more realistic story. I believe many of the characters' personalities and actions came off as over-exaggerated because the author didn't provide the reader with enough background information to justify those actions. 

It really wasn't believable to me that Ricki would begin to have feelings for Kory so soon after meeting and just after one kiss. Plus, it seemed a little unprofessional on his part since, in essence, she was his client. However, books take us places we often can't go in real life, so perhaps between the covers of That One Moment, love at first sight can exist! 

Recommendation: If you enjoy reading fast-paced romance with a twist of suspense, pick up a copy of That One Moment, today or enter the 
giveaway below to win a copy! 

I received a complimentary signed paperback copy of The One Moment from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. 
Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Patty Wiseman, as well as anyone and better than most, sure knows how to write the three basic ingredients of a page-turning and unforgettable novel: mystery, suspense, and romance. ~Caleb & Linda Pirtle ~ Here Comes a Mystery

"It was pure perfection!" ~Jessa, Amazon Reviewer

"Author Patty Wiseman does a good job of injecting so much action into just the first two pages that I had high expectations for this story. And That One Moment does not disappoint." ~Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite

Award Winning Author Patty Wiseman is a native of the Seattle, Washington area and attended The Wesleyan College in Bartlesville Oklahoma. Northeast Texas is home now, along with her husband Ron. She is the president of East Texas Writer’s Association, a Lifetime Member of the Worldwide Who’s Who for Professional Women (and named VIP for 2013), and a member of the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization, East Texas Writer’s Guild, and Texas Association of Authors.

Connect with Patty
: WebsiteFacebook |
TwitterGoodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

Prizes: Two Signed Print Copies of Book, Two eBook Copies 
August 14-23, 2018

14-Aug Book Trailer Texas Book Lover   
14-Aug Excerpt The Clueless Gent 
15-Aug Review Reading by Moonlight
16-Aug Character Interview The Page Unbound  
16-Aug Author Interview Maggie's Must Reads  
17-Aug Review Storeybook Reviews
18-Aug Review That's What She's Reading  
18-Aug Excerpt All the Ups and Downs   
19-Aug Bonus Review Hall Ways Blog   
19-Aug Author Interview Books and Broomsticks 
20-Aug Review Chapter Break Book Blog
20-Aug Review A Page Before Bedtime (You are here)
21-Aug Scrapbook Page Story Schmoozing Book Reviews 
22-Aug Review Dressed to Read
23-Aug Character Interview Carpe Diem Chronicles
23-Aug Review The Love of a Bibliophile

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Life and Lessons of a Young Author by Sunayna Prasad

Genre: Young Adult Non-Fiction
Publisher: Amazon KDP
Date of Publication: September 1, 2018
Pages: 19

Whether you are young or old, The Life and Lessons of a Young Author can offer those who dream of finding the right path in the world of writing and publishing. Sunayna Prasad shares her experience as a young author and discusses what went well for her and what she suggests to those who long for success.

Talking about her life as a published writer, Sunayna Prasad teaches you the rules of the writing craft and the standards of the publishing world, as well as additional tips and tricks. The Life and Lessons of a Young Author can help you choose your own writing and publishing paths.

Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars 
The Life and Lessons of a Young Author by Sunayna Prasad is a short booklet divided into eight sections that offers her perspective and experiences in the writing and publishing industry. The booklet is less than 20 pages, therefore, my review will be quite succinct as to not give too much away. 

I certainly applaud anyone who takes on the seemingly daunting task of writing. It is, indeed, a labor of love. Seeing that the author of this piece has embarked on the writing and publishing journey at such a young age is brave and admirable. 

Having said that, there is still much room for Ms. Prasad to grow. In this booklet, I found many consistency and formatting issues that distracted from her overall message. As a whole, I think the booklet lacks focus. It is difficult for the reader to discern if the booklet is about writing, marketing, or the author herself (with its detailed autobiographical elements). Much of the information she provides is repetitive, and I found some of it irrelevant to writing and publishing. For example, she shares finite details about Google searches and social media platforms that is not necessarily germane to the narrow topic this short booklet offers in its synopsis.

Prasad did offer some valuable nuggets of truth in her booklet. In section 3, she stated: 
Writing is a life-long process. There is no level of "perfect" writing. 
Even the greatest authors' stories do not appeal to everyone. 
However, with some of her advice I tend to disagree. She downplays the notion that great writers need to also be great readers. I think this is absolutely necessary. Prasad also writes that she hardly ever reads for fun. If ever I got the chance to meet her, I would implore her to entertain the idea of reading more for leisure to help improve her writing skills. 

RecommendationThis little booklet is a nice attempt. The tone is conversational making it an easy read in one quick sitting. I do think we need to read all kinds of literature to help expand our minds - even if it's not top quality. I also think there's value in Ms. Prasad's perspective, and I appreciate her sharing it with me through the iRead Book Tour platform. 

Until next time ... Read on!

I received a free electronic copy of The Life and Lessons of a Young Author from iRead Book Tours. Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful. 

Sunayna Prasad has been writing since she was six. She continues to write fiction and non-fiction today and has even won a Pacific Book-Review award. She lives in New York, and when not writing, likes to create art and cook.

Connect with Sunayna.: WebsiteFacebook 

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Length: 325 pages
Published: 1985

I know there is much hubbub surrounding Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and its resulting Hulu television series. The book was published in 1985 and appears to have been popular from the start and even more so now with the recent show. I am certain Ms. Atwood does not need my approval or two cents, but, nevertheless, I will give it in this review. 

The Handmaid's' Tale is a dystopian/fantasy book set in the future that could very well be the present - if all hope was lost. In the book, people are segregated by class, and women are only regarded for their bodies and ability to bear children. The tone is dark, depressing, and plain ole sad. 

In one of my online book club discussions, someone smartly said: Every book is not for every body, but every book is for someone. Full disclaimer: I am not a fan of the dystopian genre. I find it to be an imagined future of hopelessness. My life and belief system is one based on faith, hope, and love, so I am often unable to connect with, view, or even imagine the world this way. Therefore, it's always a struggle when I attempt to embark on a dystopian novel. (I did enjoy Ready, Player One, though!) 

I prefer reading realistic fiction. I don't think a dystopian society can ever really happen, and I know many people believe part of Atwood's genius in this novel is displayed because she predicted so much at the time of publication that has come to pass. And, if I am honest, I can see where people get that; however, I don't believe we will ever get to a point where all will be lost. I think of ABC's television show, What Would You Do? It's a situational show that employs actors who play out these scenarios that can be pretty awful (e.g., someone being shamed for their sexuality, someone abusing animals, or stealing, etc.). The actors are placed in the real world where real people, none the wiser to the acting, witness these scenarios. With smart editing, we see situation after situation where no one speaks up, no one does the right thing. And just when you think we're a world full of Kitty Genovese onlookers, someone speaks up and does the right thing. (And this is the point where I usually start crying.) But I digress. I don't believe we will ever be in a dystopian society because I believe in humanity. 

So, on to the book. Overall, I found The Handmaid's Tale to be a skewed view of the institution of African American slavery in the United States that was co-opted for white women. And to add insult to injury, Atwood intentionally omitted characters of color in her fictional, future world. (Sorry, Ms. Atwood, we are here to stay and we aren't being shipped off anywhere else.) I nearly threw my iPad across the room when I got to the part about the Quakers' home that served as a station on the Underground Femaleroad. Seriously? Seriously. Furthermore, the premise of this Gilead Society seemed to mock Christianity, which did not resonate with, and often angered, me. The novel's conflict is somewhat intriguing, but I often got bored with the protagonist's stream of consciousness droning about her day-to-day life. It was a bit repetitive and morose. My sole motivation for completing this book was to discuss at my August book club meeting. 

RecommendationEvery book is for someone, and this book was not for me. If I want to read about women being forced to produce children for the benefit of society, I can just re-read Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad or read any of the thousands of novels that discuss a very real historical situation. And because of that history we know better and will do better as a society - dispelling this whole idea of a dystopian society! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.