Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Twelve Days of Christmas

Genre:  Holiday, Romance
Length: 212 pages (paperback)

Rating: 4 out of 5

Julia is bubbly and friendly while her neighbor Cain keeps to himself.  They are clearly opposites in every way.  When Julia confides in her best friend that Cain stole her newspaper, she decides to conduct a "kill him with kindness" experiment which she blogs about as a finalist for a new career.

She decides to make an effort to run into Cain every day in order to be nice to him.  Little things like propping his newspaper by his door and prepaying for his coffee appear to hit his irritation point.  She begins to call him "Ebenezer" on her blog.  Her readers are initially mixed on encouraging her to continue her experiment to saying he won't change.  Slowly Cain begins to open up and Julia feels herself doing the same.

The center of this story is questioning whether or not being kind to someone can have an impact on their life and those around them.

Rather predictable?  yes.  Overly cheesy?  Absolutely!  However, it's a fun and quick holiday read.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Charming Nightmare

Author: Marie Kammerer Franke
Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy
Length: 376 pages (paperback)
Sensitive Content: Violence, Sexual
Rating:  2 out of 5

Aylin wakes up, not certain what has happened.  She is a captive of an individual that is not quite human.  They are on the run, not certain what she is running from, not certain where she is.

She learns from Catch that she is from the past, roughly 40,000 years.  The Earth ended with a few years of her wedding.  A group of humans were saved, she wasn't one of them.  He was sent back to obtain an original human to help obtain a cure to a virus that is impacting the evolved humans, who are dying off fast.

She's swept into a whirlwind of activity from being a lab rat to constant fighting with Catch to causing issues for Elpis (the planet she is now on).  She's found that she's actually uncovering something much deeper than just the virus.

The story was difficult to follow.  Franke shifted from the distant past to the present to the recent past.  While she said she was inspired by Doctor Who, Bill Nye, Cosmos and a few other shows and books, all that I love, it was often difficult to follow the train of thought.

I honestly had a hard time reading this book due to all of the grammar and spelling issues.  Sentences are hard to follow as words appear to be missing.  Their/they're/there as well as your/you're are used as if they are the same.  Clearly this book needed an editor's or publisher's review.

This is the first of four books in her series.  I will not be picking up any of the others.

Who Gives A Crap

So...not a traditional review, but one that the family thought would be fun given that it is toilet "paper" and books are written on paper...

We have spent the last few years being aware of what we consume (bring into the house, not what just what we eat) and the longer term impact on the environment.  I have also instituted a guideline that when something comes into the house, something else needs to exit.  So, if a new pair of shoes comes in, an old pair needs to go out.  While our recycling garbage can volume has increased, we are down to one bag of actual garbage a week (sometimes every two weeks).

Now for our Who Gives a Crap review!

I came across this toilet paper on Pinterest.  I definitely didn't want the family towels (yes, totally gross), but I wanted to move away from the large sizes that we purchase at Costco and all of the waste that goes along with it.  I also wanted something that is kinder to the environment.  Along came Who Gives a Crap.  I love that it is made with bamboo and not trees.  I am also willing to pay a little more as they donate 50% of the profits to help build toilets.  I really like the fact that it is shipped to the house and I don't have to run out to get it and lug it home.  (OK, so maybe this one isn't the most environmentally friendly.)  It's soft and has no dyes!

If you are interested in trying it out, feel free to use our referral link to obtain $10 off your purchase (valid through March 2020).

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Girls' Guide to Wine

Author: Susy Atkins
Genre: Wine
Length: 144 pages (paperback)

Rating: 3 out of 5

A guide to wine, not to be taken seriously!  This fun little book is written by Susy Atkins, a wine editor.  In other words, someone who actually knows more about wine than me.

The author unapologetically dives into today's stereotypes of people who buy which types of wine.  She also shares some tips about buying wine online, by mail or at the store (clearly dating this book to its publish date of 2002).  I think my favorite part; buying your favorite bottle when no one will judge you and stay in to enjoy your evening.

The author intentionally doesn't take herself, or this topic, too seriously.  If you are looking for a true guide to wine, this isn't your book.  However, if you're looking for a quick read that will make you laugh, grab the book...and a bottle of your favorite wine...and enjoy!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Red, White and Blood

Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy
Length: 446 pages (paperback)
Sensitive Content: Sexual, Violence
Rating: 4 out of 5

Nathanial Cade has met his match with the Boogeyman.  While Cade has "won" every encounter, the Boogeyman continues to return with the knowledge of each battle he's had with Cade.  He always had the same pattern, but this time it appears that he is going after a specific target, President Curtis.

It is an election year and President Curtis is on the campaign trail.  A few Secret Service agents are introduced to Cade as he will be joining the grass roots tour of the middle states.  Zach also rejoins the campaign trail, which ignites questions on where he's been the last few years.  More importantly, why he fell from grace and how he's returned to it.

Bodies are piling up, many along the path of the campaign trail.  Several are also tied to the Curtis campaign in some way.  Will Cade be able to stop the Boogeyman for good this time?

A lot of time was building the backstory of Zach.  As with the first two books in the series, we also saw several flashbacks to Cade's earlier days, which helps us to understand his previous encounters with the Boogeyman.  Several characters from the first book also make a reappearance.

The author went into graphic details on how the Boogeyman killed his victims, more than I felt necessary.  However, I still couldn't put the book down.  It definitely didn't end the way I expected.  I am left with a cliffhanger.  I've scoured the author's site and there are no additional books in this series at this moment.  I"ll be keeping an eye out!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The President's Vampire

Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy
Length: 335 pages (hardback)
Sensitive Content: Violence
Rating:  4 out of 5

Nathanial Cade has been bound to the President, through a blood oath, to protect the country from the Other Side as the President's vampire.  A well established group, with footholds in high political positions in the White House and other government organizations, believes the end justifies the means.  They take this to a whole new level by replacing humanity with something else that is highly contagious.  Cade has seen these creatures before over the years, but they've evolved.  Cade and Zach, his handler, must figure out who is behind it, where the creatures are coming from and keep them from spreading.

Cade and Zach are forced to work with Graves, and take orders from him, something that Cade has issues with but he is forced to do based on his oath.  This in essence means that any order that Graves gives him, he has to obey, which puts a chink in Cade's plans to stop Graves and those behind the virus.  It appears that Graves and Cade have a past history together, and Cade has a very long memory that never forgets, but can't quite place where they've met before.

The characters continue to evolve from the first book in the series, both the individual characters and their relationships with each other.  The author also weaves in pieces of historical information which helps us understand why Cade acts a certain way.

After finishing Blood Oath, I couldn't wait to pick up this book.  It was an easy read and kept me in suspense for the majority of the book.  I honestly didn't expect the last few chapters to turn out the way they did.  The only downside to this book is the truly graphic nature of some of the scenes. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Winter Reading Challenge

As we've been thrown head first into colder weather I began searching for ideas to help keep the boys off electronics during snow days and at least part of the weekend.  It hit me: a winter reading challenge.

The boys are thrilled (not really)!  We are now discussing what the prize will be when the chart is completed.  The prize options have ranged from $5 to having control over what we do for a weekend.  We're still negotiating!

Want to join?  We'd love to hear your options for the challenge to help us as we select our books.