Review: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

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This is the story of a young boy Will and his agoraphobic mother Diane. They live in Thunder Bay, a port city on Lake Superior. At the time of the novel, neither Will or his mother have ever left the house, and thanks to today’s technology they are able to order everything to be delivered to their house. Diane created an entire world for Will and even homeschooled him.

The book begins with young Will deciding to venture outside the house. He soon meets a boy named Marcus and realizes that outside is not as dangerous as his mother thinks. As Will becomes more fearless, his mother’s fears intensify and the inability to protect her son if she can’t leave the house is at the core of this book which deals with issues of anxiety and mental illness.

Micheal Christie did a superb job at creating these complex, real-life characters, and a wonderful and complex story that captured really well the difficult relationship between mother and son. I really enjoyed this book.

“And how dearly we depend on the lone muscle convulsing in our chests. On the two flimsy balloons that so narrowly rescue us from suffocation. On the wobbly paté in our heads that preserves our very selves. all of it so ad hoc, so absurd, so temporary.” 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

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On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

The book starts with a small plane that falls in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 11 people on board. Scott, a struggling middle-aged artist, and a four-year-old boy are the only survivors. The crux of the book is finding out the cause of the crash and events that led to the disaster.

I really enjoyed reading this book by Noah Hawley. The first couple of chapters are suspenseful and impossible to put down. There is a great message about the ridiculous power of media covering tragedies. It does slow down a bit as it alternates between the aftermath of the crash and the lives of the passengers before the accident (the fall), but overall a great summer read.

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley is one of those great suspenseful books that you can read in one sitting. A fast-paced, page-turner that keeps you guessing until the end. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the genre.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on May 31, 2016.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch

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Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play. So begins The Hangman’s Daughter–the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller from German television screenwriter, Oliver Pötzsch–a descendent of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.

I should start by saying that this is not the sort of novel I’d gravitate towards, but the cover of this book had a lot to do with my decision to give this book a try and I don’t regret it a bit.

“because a rumor is like smoke. It will spread, it will seep through closed doors and latched shutters, and in the end the whole town will smell of it.”

This is the story of Jakob Kuisl, a hangman in the small town of Schongau, Bavaria. When some children are found dead, a local midwife is accused of witchcraft and arrested for the murders. Jakob and a local doctor believing in the midwife’s innocence set out to figure out the mystery. I’m not sure why the title of the book is the Hangman’s Daughter. She plays a part in the book but certainly not enough for a title. In any case, this is a very interesting historical mystery. Pötzsch really did a good job researching his family history and that period. I really enjoyed the illustrations in the book and the descriptions of the town and the people were excellent. It really transported me to that time. 

As for the mystery itself, I feel like many will be able to figure it out half-way through the book. It is still an interesting reading even though some of the torture scenes were rather graphic. Good pick for fans of historical fiction/thriller.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

 

Review: Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig

 

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Death Before Decaf  by Caroline Fardig is a Java Jive Mystery novel and the first book in a series.  Juliet Langley is a fun and believable thirty-year-old singer who is returning home to Nashville after her fiancée breaks up with her. She takes a job as a manager at a friend’s coffeehouse, Java Jive. On her first day at the job, Juliet gets into an argument with Dave (the cook) over some health code violations and next thing you know Dave is found dead in the dumpster. In order to prove her innocence, Juliet sets out to investigate the crime.

Although the book started out a little slow for me, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the mystery was not as easily to solve as I had first thought. Juliet is an adorable character and I’m looking forward to her next books.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: The Hypnotist by Gordon Snider (*TLC BOOK TOUR*)

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In 1906, San Francisco has reached the peak of its golden age. Fortunes have created a society that attracts European opera singers and cordon bleu chefs. It is a world defined by elegant balls, oysters, and champagne. But there are darker sides to the city as well. The Mission district south of Market Street houses tenements where shanties huddle together and rats plague the streets. And nearby sits Chinatown, an endless warren of dark alleys that offers gambling, prostitution, and opium, all controlled by vicious gangs, called tongs.

Into these disparate worlds steps Marta Baldwin, a young woman who has shunned her own social background to help the poor. She is confronted by a hypnotist, a man who hypnotizes young women from the tenements and delivers them to the tongs in Chinatown to work in their brothels. Marta escapes his hypnotic trance, but when her assistant, Missy, disappears, Marta realizes she has been taken by the evil man who confronted her. She seeks the help of Byron Wagner, one of San Francisco’s most prominent citizens. Marta finds herself drawn to Byron but knows his high social standing prevents any possibility of a relationship between them. This is confirmed when Marta discovers Byron having an intimate conversation with Lillie Collins, the daughter of one of the city’s most elite families. Marta is flushed with jealousy. However, Lillie defies social customs, and her rebellious nature fits naturally with Marta’s. Despite her envy, the two women become close friends. Marta is caught up in a whirlwind of opulent balls, opium dens and brothels, and police raids in Chinatown. She cannot deny her feelings for Byron, but she must save Missy and protect her new friends from harm. For lurking in the background is the hypnotist. He has become obsessed with Marta and will use all his guile to ensnare her. When he threatens those she loves, Marta is determined to stop him, even at her own peril. Will her boldness entrap her? If so, how can she hope to escape the man’s hypnotic embrace? Then the earth trembles, and Marta’s world will never be the same.

This was my first book from author Gordon Snider and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. Set in San Francisco in the early 1900s, Snyder did an excellent job describing old San Francisco and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The book tells the chilling story of a man who hypnotizes young women on the streets and delivers them to criminals in Chinatown. Marta Baldwin is a wealthy young woman who makes a living helping the poor on the streets of San Francisco. Both the hypnotist’s and Marta’s lives intertwine in an exciting and well-crafted plot. Snider’s writing flows smoothly and the characters are really well developed. I found this book to be a fun and easy read.

I received this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours and the author in exchange for my honest review.

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Helm Publishing

About Gordon Snider

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Gordon Snider has written three non-fiction books, including his latest, I’m Travelling as Fast as I Can, which takes a humorous journey to far-away-places around the world. When he moved to California’s Central Coast in 1999, he began writing fiction. The Origamist is his fifth novel and a sequel to his third, The Hypnotist, a very popular historical thriller that is set in San Francisco in 1906. The other novels include: Sigourney’s Quest, an adventure story about a woman’s harrowing journey across Tibet; The Separatist, a mystery/suspense novel set in modern San Francisco; and Venice Lost, an adventure/fantasy about a man who becomes lost in time in Venice, Italy.

Gordon has lived in California nearly his entire life. Home has ranged from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with stops in Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach. Currently, he and his wife, Fe, enjoy walking the beaches and observing the migrating whales from their home in Pismo Beach. It is, he says, the perfect setting for creative writing.

Find out more about Gordon and his books on his website.

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Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by A Daily Rhythm where anyone can play along.

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Today’s Teaser Tuesday sentences were extracted from Sarah McCoy’s historical fiction, The Mapmaker’s Children. I’m very happy with what I’ve read so far, so here is a little teaser:

“Mr. George be a man of forgiveness, mercy, and tolerance. I know he preaches them things to the white folk in New Charlestown, but do other towns hear them parts of the Gospel? Sho’ don’t seem like it.”

“My pa, long time ‘go, told me God gave animals a different kind of vision from us peoples. They ain’t got as many colors in their heads, so they ain’t confused as easily…”

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Summer Reading Programs

Summer is just around the corner and parents start wondering how to keep their little ones occupied during the summer months. My kids are no stranger to reading programs. Every summer our library system in Nevada runs some sort of reading challenge or activity for children.

This year we found Barnes & Noble’s version of a reading challenge called Imagination’s Destination.

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For every eight books your child reads and records in the Reading Journal, they’ll get one free book from B&N’s collection.

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This has been a great incentive for my kids who were less than enthusiastic about getting another plastic medal from the library. They are hoping to turn in as many journals as possibles in exchange for more free books. 😉

On Reading the Tough Stuff

Brilliant and well written. Reflections On Reading the Tough Stuff.

Book Guy Reviews

There are two reasons we read: to entertain, and to educate. I understand the generalization, but most, if not all motivations behind reading can adequately be loped into one category or the other.

Let me just say that reading for pleasure is my bread and butter. I do it everyday. I love Dan Brown, and Harry Potter. I read Stephen King, not for its artistic merit or intellectual weight, but for its gruesome plot lines and staggeringly detailed worlds. It’s bloody and explosive and awesome, and I love it. I’ll say the same for Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and the smattering of other best-sellers I consume. They’re wonderful pieces of escapism, but just that–nothing more.

72_1By the same token, reading for inspiration and enlightenment is equally important in our quest for knowledge. We should try to read the histories, biographies, essays, and fictions of the thoughtful and profound, in attempt to intersperse escapism with…

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Hello world!

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This is my first post on my brand new blog! 🙂 I’m very excited to start a blog. I love to read and I have been reviewing books on Goodreads and Amazon, but this is my first time posting my reviews on a blog.  I’m currently reading “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty, and I’ll be posting my review of this book shortly.

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