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Showing posts from October, 2014

Book Review: This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

When their mother dies suddenly, Easter and Ruby Quillby are all alone. Their father, Wade, left years ago, and their only grandparents live in Alaska, far from their home in North Carolina. They move into a foster home and 12-year-old Easter decides they will stay there until she turns 18 and can adopt her little sister herself. But it starts to look like they'll be shipped off to Alaska to live with grandparents they've never met. So when Wade shows up, they sneak away with him instead.

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash is sort of a road-trip story, featuring a dad and his two girls getting to know each other again. But it's not all a sweet story. Wade stole some money from a powerful man. So it's not just the police looking for Wade and the girls. There's a very bad man with a very bad grudge looking for them as well.

I loved this book. The story flows smoothly. The characters are honest and realistic, especially Wade and the girls. We get to hear from seve…

Week in Review

Good morning. I hope you had a fabulous week! We got our yard all decorated for Halloween this weekend. In our neighborhood, people put out almost as many decorations for Halloween as they do for Christmas!! It's a little crazy and a lot of fun. Here's a picture of my yard:



Reviews and Blog Posts
Last week, I celebrated my blogiversary with a giveaway and I chose the winners today. If you entered, be sure to check out the giveaway page and your email to see if you won!

I also wrote two reviews:
The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood
To the Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald

Reading
I participated in the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon but didn't get as much reading done as I had hoped. I read all of To the Breaking Point, which was 307 pages. But I only read about half of The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M.L. Stedman. I'm on page 143. My book club meets this week to discuss that one. And I have to read and review This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash by Friday! I need a…

Book Review: To the Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald

Silya Ramsay is living her dream as the principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company in Russia. But the company is not doing well. Natalia Novikov has resorted to auctioning her dancers off on Saturday nights to financial contributors to help pay the bills. Silya has been exempt from the parties so far, but one contributor is determined to have her for his own, offering to bail out the company in exchange for Silya.

To the Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald is an entertaining story of love and obsession. Before she's taken to the contributor's home to be his constant companion, Silya manages to get a text message off to her former lover, Grant Ketchum. Grant is an American operative in First Force, an organization introduced in the first book of the series, Into the Crossfire. Grant is still in love with Silya and immediately flies to Russia to save her.

The rest of the novel is a thrill ride as Grant tries to find and save Silya from the obsessive contributor. There's…

Book Review: The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

When Collette moves into 23 Beulah Grove in South London, she is on the run and just wants to blend in. The other renters have their own stories of why they're living in this dilapidated home, dealing with a repulsive landlord, and mostly trying to stay under the radar. Unbeknownst to all but one, a killer lives among them. We know this because the novel begins with one of the others talking with the authorities about the murderer. We just don't know who he is.

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood was described by Steven King as "scary as hell," but I'm not sure I agree. Disturbing, gross and suspenseful, yes. You definitely can't have a weak stomach reading this one; the gore factor is through the roof in several places. But while it is unnerving, it isn't edge-of-your-seat scary for the most part. There are several gripping scenes, but I found the focus of the novel to be more on the characters than the scare factor. And being someone who loves charact…

Week in Review

Good morning. It's a great day today! It's my 5th Blogiversary! I can't believe I've been reviewing books here at My Book Retreat for five years already. Time has flown by. When I started, my son had just started kindergarten and my daughter was only 2 years old! Now my son is finishing up at the elementary school and will be moving on to middle school next year. That's crazy!

I've reviewed over 300 books since I started on October 20, 2009. That's an average of 60 books a year. Not too shabby! I'm hosting a BIG GIVEAWAY for my blogiversary, so if you want a chance to win books or an Amazon gift card, enter the giveaway today!

Reviews and Blog Posts
Last week, I only wrote one review, but I had a couple other posts as well:
Review: Divided by David Cay Johnston (for Blog Action Day)
Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon starting line
5th Blogiversary Giveaway

Reading
I finished reading Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality edited by David Cay Johnston, …

5th Blogiversary Giveaway

Five years ago today, I started My Book Retreat as a place to write about the books I was reading. More than 300 reviews later, I'm still here! I may be writing less frequently, but I've managed to keep this blog updated fairly regularly along the way. I hope you've enjoyed reading my reviews over the years! I've certainly enjoyed getting to know many of my readers through their comments and blogs.

To celebrate this big event, I'm offering 5 GIVEAWAY PRIZES ~ one for each year I've been here. Three of the giveaways are books that are open to U.S. addresses only. I'm also giving away a $10 Amazon gift card and a $5 Amazon gift card; those are open to all of my readers. 

To enter, fill out a Rafflecopter below. You must choose at least one of the options within the Rafflecopter to win.

Enter the U.S. giveaway here. There will be three winners. The first winner will get an ARC of Natchez Burning. The second winner will get a copy of The Enchanted Life of Ada…

Wonderfully Wicked Readathon

I'm joining in the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon this week. It started on Friday, but I've only had a bit of time to read this weekend. So I'm hoping to catch up more during the week. Here's what I'm hoping to read this week:
1. To the Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald ~ read 307 pages; completed 10/21 2. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman ~ read 142 pages; not completed 3. This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (if I have time) ~ didn't have time!

I'll keep this page updated with my progress. Follow along with the readathon at #WWReadathon on Twitter.

Book Review: Divided by David Cay Johnston for Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day, and I am joining with other bloggers from more than 100 different countries around the world to talk about inequality. Inequality is a theme that is at the heart of many of the previous Blog Action Day themes. In the past we have talked about water, food, human rights, and other topics that should be equal to all, but certainly are not.


Since this is a book blog, I decided to review a book about inequality. There were many to choose from. In the end, I went with a book that is a collection of excerpts from other books, speeches and articles: Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality edited by David Cay Johnston. He brings together writings of leading scholars, activists and journalists to provide a deeper look into inequality in the United States.

Divided is split into seven sections: Overview, Income Inequality, Education, Health Care Inequality, Debt and Poverty, Policy and Family. The first two sections take up almost half of the book, which makes…

Week in Review

Good morning. I hope you had a nice week. Mine was pretty good. I started a literature circle with a group in M's 2nd grade class. We're reading Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. The kids seem to like it so far.

Reviews and Blog Posts
Last week, I wrote two reviews:
Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin
A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan

Both were quite good so be sure to check out my reviews!

Reading
I read Palmetto Moon last week, and then started reading Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality edited by David Cay Johnston. I'm reading this one in preparation for Blog Action Day, which is this Thursday, October 16th. On that day, bloggers from over 100 countries around the world will all be blogging about the same topic: inequality. I'll be reviewing Divided, and sharing my thoughts on inequality. If you feel strongly about inequality of any kind, consider signing up to blog with us!

Kids Reading
Last weekend, we watched the movie How to Train Your Dragon. C the…

Book Review: A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan

Literary agent Jo Donovan is in charge of a highly successful agency representing some great talent. Widow of a talented and well-regarded author, Hugo Donovan, Jo has made a name for herself and is much sought after. But when a would-be author begins stalking her, insisting she must read his manuscript and take him on as a client, things start to go wrong. Soon, her clients are attacked, and Jo is reunited with an old flame who is now a police detective in charge of her case.

A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan is a mystery that encompasses the world of publishing. Rogan brings us into the everyday happenings of a literary agency, the roles people play in choosing and promoting books and authors, and the dangers that arise when authors are rejected. The mystery was well-done, keeping me turning pages from beginning to end, and not giving away the truth until it was finally revealed.

As much as this is a page-turner, I found it a bit of a slow read ~ for a good reason. The writing s…

Book Review: Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin

Living in a wealthy family in Charleston, SC, in 1947, Vada Hadley doesn't have a lot of control over her own life. On the eve of her marriage to a man she doesn't love, she finally breaks free and runs away to a small, rural town called Round O, where a teaching job awaits her. Here, she finds love and friendship, but also heartache as she tries to hide from her past, and prays that her father and fiance never find her.

Palmetto Moon: A Lowcountry Novel by Kim Boykin is a historical novel about Vada growing up and finding out what really matters to her. Living in a boarding house, waiting for the school year to start, Vada quickly falls in love with Frank, the owner of the town's diner. But their love is strained when Vada gets a message about a friend in trouble. Frank wants to help her find her friend, but he also wants to protect her more than she would like.

Vada also finds friendship in this town in the form of Claire, a young widow living at the boarding house with…

Week in Review & FrightFall Readathon Recap

Good evening. I am writing this pretty late in the day because I had it all written up earlier, and then hit some button and it all disappeared!! I have a new computer now and am still getting used to the keyboard. Hopefully this time I'll get through the whole post without deleting it!

Reviews and Blog Posts
Last week, I participated in a readathon, so I never got around to writing any reviews. I now have two books ready to review, so I just have to find time to write the reviews.

Reading
I participated in the FrightFall Readathon last week. It was hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading. I finished reading A Dangerous Fiction: A Mystery by Barbara Rogan. Then I read The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood. That was a great choice for the readathon, which required at least one scary read. Although, it was more gory than scary.

Now I'm going to start reading Palmetto Moon: A Lowcountry Novel by Kim Boykin, which I'm reading for a book tour on Friday.

Kids Reading
The kids …