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Showing posts from July, 2014

Book Review: Identity Crisis by Jean Hackensmith

When Brian Koski is forced to resign from the police force, he goes into business as a private investigator. His first clients are Jeff and Melody Patten, who hire Brian to deal with a man who is stalking their daughter. Collin Lanaski insists that their daughter, Angela, is his own daughter, Courtney, who supposedly died in a car crash while he was deployed to the Middle East.

Identity Crisis by Jean Hackensmith is a great mystery that kept me turning the pages wondering what was really going on. This main storyline of Brian's attempt to keep Collin away from Angela, and his subsequent search for the girl once Collin actually kidnaps her, provided plenty of suspense. Brian's second big case, in which he searches for the long-lost daughter of an elderly couple, adds some variety to the novel, which was nice.

This is actually the second book in the B.K. Investigations series, but it definitely stands alone. I have not read the first book, which is evidently about the case that…

Week in Review and High Summer Readathon Recap

Good morning! I hope you've had a great week. I'm actually on vacation today, so this will be a quick post before I head to the beach!

Starting with reading this week, I participated in the High Summer Read-a-Thon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading. I finished reading  The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett. Then I read 104 pages in The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer. I'm hoping to read more of that on the beach this week!

C read The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. And M read Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel.

I did write one review, as well: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

Now it's time to hit the beach!

What are you reading this week? It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading too. You can also check out the younger version of It's Monday!

Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

On the brink of being kicked out of another foster home, 17-year-old Molly Ayer starts doing community service in the home of 91-year-old Vivian Daly. Her assignment is to help Vivian clean out her attic, but soon it's apparent that Vivian merely wants to look through her old things and remember her past. This past started with a young girl who was uprooted from Ireland to live in New York City with her family, and then soon after, loaded onto a train with other orphans bound for new homes in the Midwest.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline alternates between Molly's story in the present, and her interactions with elderly Vivian, and Vivian's story in the past, which shows how she came to be a widow living in Maine at the end of her life. Both stories are compelling and heart-wrenching, and the switching between them is easy to follow. There are many similarities between their experiences as orphans and as minorities of their time ~ Vivian was an Irish girl coming to Am…

Week in Review

It's Monday again! My work week is going to be crazy ~ at least for the first few days as we work toward a deadline on Wednesday. I'm still hoping to be able to relax in the evenings with a book.

Reviews
Last week, I wrote two reviews. One was a fun picture book called Harry and the Hot Lava by Chris Robertson. The other was a new contemporary novel called One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I really enjoyed both of them, so check out my reviews!

This week, I have one review scheduled for Tuesday. I hope to write another for later in the week too.

Reading
I finished reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. This was an excellent novel about the orphan children who were taken from the city in the early 1900s and put on a train to the midwest, where they were given to basically anyone who wanted them for whatever reason ~ whether to love as their child or to put them to work. I hadn't heard about this before, so it was definitely an eye-opening novel.

I'm now about halfway …

Book Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Jess is worn out. Overwhelmed. She is barely holding it together, actually. Her husband is gone, her stepson is being bullied, and her exceptionally bright daughter may miss out on an amazing opportunity because Jess is broke. Ed, on the other hand, is wealthy. At least for now. He's being investigated for insider trading, so there's a good chance that he's going to lose everything and possibly end up in jail.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes is the story of how these two very different people end up on a multi-day road trip with Jess's two kids and her huge dog. Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective, so we get to spend time in the minds of Jess, Ed, Nicky (the stepson) and Tanzie (the daughter). This actually works very well and doesn't get complicated. Each has their own voice and it helps to feel more connected to the characters by hearing what they are thinking.

This is my first Moyes book, but I doubt it will be my last. One Plus One is …

Book Review: Harry and the Hot Lava by Chris Robertson

As a mother, I am familiar with the game that has my children setting up obstacle courses in the family room, and then jumping from couch to pillow to cushion to chair and back to the couch without touching the shark-invested water, or perhaps lava, that is the floor. It's a fun game ~ until they try to play it at the grocery store!

Harry and the Hot Lava is a sizzling new picture book by Chris Robertson about a little boy with a big imagination who loves to play this Hot Lava game too. But with Harry, we get to see the lava of his imagination in shocking color throughout the book. In addition to Harry's wonderful face and gestures, Robertson uses text in various shapes and sizes to add a whimsical and fun feel to the book. He really takes the reader into Harry's imaginative world.

This is a wonderfully simple picture book with vivid illustrations that will definitely appeal to young kids, especially those with an imagination like Harry's.

Connect with Chris Robertson…

Week in Review

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a nice week. Work has been very busy but I got a lot of time for reading in the evenings, which was nice.

Giveaway
I have a giveaway running for a few more days. If you enjoy memoirs, check it out! It's a memoir written by Nelson Mandela's personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, called Good Morning, Mr. Mandela. I haven't read it yet, but it certainly sounds interesting. There aren't many entries yet, so check it out and enter today!

Reviews
Last week, I managed to write one review (I was hoping to write two). The one I completed is for The Curtain Call Caper by Christy Barritt and Kathy Applebee. It's a fun middle-grade detective novel.

Reading
I finished reading Identity Crisis, a detective novel by Jean Hackensmith. That review will be up next week for the book tour.

Now I'm about halfway through Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I'm really enjoying it and am disappointed I won't make it to my July book club di…

Book Review: Curtain Call Caper by Christy Barritt and Kathy Applebee

Gabby St. Claire is extremely excited about the upcoming school play. She and her best friend are determined to make the most of it, even though the high school kids will likely get all the big roles. They just want the chance to be in the show. But it seems like someone, or something, is trying to make sure the show does not go on. Could it be a student or a teacher trying to sabotage the show? Or is it a ghost? Gabby decides to get to the bottom of it and save the show.

The Curtain Call Caper by Christy Barritt and Kathy Applebee is a spin-off of Barritt’s adult Squeaky Clean Mysteries series about crime scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire. I haven't read that series, but I will definitely check it out. Gabby is an interesting character, at least when she's in middle school. It would be fun to see what she's like as an adult!

A bit of a klutz, Gabby is a kind girl and a good friend. Unfortunately, she has to deal with middle grade cliques and all the challenges that go along …

Book Giveaway: Good Morning, Mr. Mandela: A Memoir by Zelda la Grange

Here's your chance to win the first book written by a close confidante and member of Nelson Mandela’s inner circle. From the publisher:
Tender, heartfelt, and intimate, GOOD MORNING, MR. MANDELA: A Memoir tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s long-time personal assistant and “honorary granddaughter” Zelda la Grange. In this revealing book la Grange pays tribute to Nelson Mandela as she knew him—a compassionate teacher who taught her the most valuable lessons of her life. La Grange introduces readers to the Mandela who was as kind and generous as we all imagine, but who was also stubborn and surprisingly human. She also gives us insight into Mandela’s relationships with fans and contacts, both famous and infamous: from Queen Elizabeth, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt, Bono, and Morgan Freeman to Muammar Gaddafi. I will be reviewing this book later this summer, but for now, the publisher has graciously offered a copy of Good Morning, Mr. Mandela to one of my readers (U.S. add…

Week in Review

Good morning. I hope you had a great week, and if you're in the U.S., a great holiday! We spent the afternoon and evening of the 4th at a local amphitheater, watching the NC Symphony and then fireworks. It was a lot of fun, although very hot since we were out in the sun for hours. Then we went to a great pool party on the 5th. It was a nice long weekend.

Reviews and Posts
Last week, I put together my June Month in Review post. I actually managed to do it within the first few days of the month!

I also published a review of Honolulu by Alan Brennert, a wonderful historical fiction novel.

This week, I have two reviews and a giveaway planned, so be sure to check back or follow me on Facebook to keep up with my posts!

Reading
I finished reading One Plus One: A Novel by Jojo Moyes, and I really enjoyed it. I hadn't read anything by her before.

Now I'm reading Identity Crisis, a very suspenseful detective novel by Jean Hackensmith. It's one of those books where I want to ju…

Month in Review: June

Here's a recap of my reading and reviewing for June. This is also a look at the first half of 2014. It's hard to believe the year is half over!! I have a very different focus this year than other years, with the majority of my books falling into the middle-grade fiction genre. My son's participation on the Battle of the Books in the spring really had an impact on my reading! I also notice I have been reading about half of my books for review and the other half just because I want to read them (or for book club). I am enjoying this mix!

BOOKS READ IN JUNE: 5
REVIEWS WRITTEN IN JUNE: 4

Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester - reviewedEyes Closed Tight by Peter Leonard - reviewedThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - read and reviewed Insurgent by Veronica Roth - read and reviewedCodename Zero by Chris Rylander - readThe Curtain Call Caper by Christy Barritt - read Honolulu by Alan Brennert - readYEAR-TO-DATE TOTALS:

Total Books Read: 30
Total Reviews: 25


Historical Fiction: 4
Mid…

Book Review: Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Growing up in Korea in the early 1900s, Regret longs to escape her future as an uneducated subservient wife and daughter-in-law. She finds a way out of this life by becoming a "picture bride" to a man in far-away Hawai'i. But when she and the other brides arrive in their new home, they quickly learn that their new husbands are not the prosperous, young men they expected.

Honolulu by Alan Brennert is the story of Regret, who renames herself Jin, and her life in Hawai'i throughout the first half of the 20th century. It's also a story of immigration to the islands, particularly by the Koreans and Japanese at that time, and the struggles they faced in this new land. Jin and her fellow brides live a very different life than they would have lived in Korea. They have much more freedom and opportunity, but it certainly isn't paradise. They must work hard and overcome many obstacles to become successful.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It's very long and encompas…