Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bum Rush the Commons

Bum Rush the Commons by Joseph Starr is a cautionary tale full of action and espionage.  Set in the not too distant future, water is now at a premium.  The world is experiencing a freshwater shortage on a massive scale.  The American army has been scaled down to next to nothing, and China is the new superpower.  The Chinese government is willing to go to extreme measures to get a hand on some of America's freshwater supply, including using their military for a full scale invasion.

I enjoyed the idea of this story, although I felt that the author could have gone into a bit more detail about what caused the water shortage in the first place.  Also, if there were a worldwide water shortage I would expect more famine, yet other than having a scaled down military force, America seemed largely unaffected.

This story made me reflect a lot on how dependent we are on the decisions of our leaders.  A leader with the wrong motives can get a whole nation stuck in a hole that is very hard to get out of.  We need to raise questions about our leaders' actions, and never stop or settle.

This book is a quick read and a very interesting story.  I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about conspiracies.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Last Orphans

I was lucky enough to be offered an advanced copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I'd like to take a second to say that I am very impressed by the publisher of this book.  It is the first time that I have ever heard of Clean Teen Publishing, and I appreciate what they are doing.  They are offering disclosure about the content of their books, similar to the disclosure ratings you will see on TV or video games.  They do not censor the work, but tell you honestly what you are getting into before you get into it (such as this book contains drugs, violence, sex, foul language, etc), that way you can decide if a book is appropriate for yourself or your children before you read it.  Kudos to them for that.

The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris is an apocalyptic story in which all of the adults in the world have died sudden and violent deaths, leaving only children and teenagers alive. The survivors struggle to find safety, the older ones taking charge of the younger. Many parts of this story were very graphic and violent, describing in detail the deaths of the adults and bloodied corpses.  

The premise for this story is intriguing, making me wonder what would happen in such a world. Parts of it were very sad, as an adult with young children I couldn't help but think what would happen if my kids were in this scenario and it did pull on my heartstrings.  I couldn't help but think throughout the book, what is happening to the babies.  The young ones who are too young to walk or open doors, left to starve to death in the homes.  It was only alluded to briefly, closer to the end of the book, but it was a thought on my mind throughout the story. 

My favorite character in the book was Tracy.  This girl is tough as nails, doesn't take crap from anyone and is a hero.  I love reading books that have strong female characters who think for themselves.  Tracy is definitely one of these women.

This book had me gripped right to the very end.  It was fast paced, full of action and very descriptive.

I will definitely be reading the next part of this series to see what happens to these orphans.

The Peterson Gang: Unlikely Friendships

I recently had my first experience of reading a book that someone I know had written.  This experience really showed me how much an author pours their heart and soul into every book they write, putting a little piece of themselves on every page.  It definitely gives me a new appreciation for all of the work that authors do.

The Peterson Gang: Unlikely Friendships by Muriel Chesterton is a story that follows the lives of a group of friends that met in secretarial school after the war. I really liked this book because I found the characters genuine and easy to relate to.  They are normal people.  They laugh, cry, have adventures and obstacles, love and heartache.  I feel like I am sharing such a personal part of their lives and really get to know them.

My favorite character is Ben, I love how he is who he is, take it or leave it. He sticks to his guns even if his choices may not conform to what people expect of a young man his age. He doesn't want kids, and there is no changing his mind.  This was so interesting to read, because having three children myself I don't often get to think of how life is for people on the other side of the fence who have no children and no desire to ever have any.  I adored how Doris didn't try to to change Ben's mind, it shows how strong they both are by living their lives the way they want to live them and not how they are expected to live them.  I also enjoyed Ben's little quirks, like his neatness. A place for everything, and everything in it's place. It reminds me a lot of someone I know, and was a pleasure to read. 

I look forward to seeing what happens to the Peterson gang in the next parts of this series.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Little Prince

I love it when I get a chance to read a book that has been on my 'to-read' list for a while.  When I end up finishing the book, I usually end up thinking 'why didn't I read this sooner?'.  This is one of those books.  The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry is classified as a children's book, but I think that people of all ages can take away from this story.

The little prince is a beautiful story, one I would love to share with my kids, and one that I would love to re-read myself.  I am interested in reading the French version of the story, to be treated to the beautiful prose in it's original form.
It is a great story, because you can take from it whatever you like.  It can either be a whimsical tale of a prince who flew to Earth then returned to his home to be with his flower.  Or it can be a story so wrought with meaning and emotions that it takes many readings to wrap you head around it.  I love a story like this, because each time you read it, you gain a new perspective on something.
As a parent reading this story, it puts the innocence and imagination of my children into the spotlight of my mind so that I can make sure I appreciate it more, and stop being so concerned with other matters of consequence.
Everyone should read this book.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Prayer Heeded

After finishing A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan last week, I had to pick up the sequel so that I could see how the story would end.  I must say, I was not disappointed!

In A Prayer Heeded, the story of Adam and Rania continues.  They must develop their relationship based on complete trust.  Rania's troubled past is always hanging over her like a dark cloud, and she is afraid to hope that Adam could be the one to save her from that.  If he is the one, he will have to have faith, something that is not easy for a former atheist to do.

This is a beautiful spiritual romance.  Adam and Rania are soulmates, but they have many obstacles that they must overcome in order to truly be together.  Adam must overcome his stubborn refusal to believe in things he cannot see.  Rania must put her complete faith in Adam, and after all of the abuse that she has been through, will she be able to do this?

Reading this novel left me with warm fuzzy feelings.  It is nice to read a story about all consuming love that is spiritual and emotional.  This book series has won numerous awards, and I am very glad to have had the chance to read it.  If the author has managed to be so successful on her first published works, I am very excited to see what kinds of things we will see from her in the future.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Silent Prayer

I was given a free ebook copy of 'A Silent Prayer' by Samreen Ahsan in exchange for an honest review.

Adam Gibson is Toronto's most eligible bachelor. He is rich, young, sexy, and a notorious womanizer. He sees Rania walking outside his office building, and is absolutely smitten. But Rania is different from all of the other women he has been with. She is not interested in any type of relationship, and her strong beliefs forbid her to have relations with any man other than her husband. She is modest and very spiritual. As she and Adam develop a friendship based on trust, they fall in love. There is a darkness to Rania however, that she is afraid to reveal to Adam. The story ends in a cliffhanger, to be continued in book 2.

It is so refreshing to read a love story where people remain true to their personal boundaries. There is still magnetism and attraction, the story is still steamy even though there is no sex. This is an amazing love story about two people from different spiritual and cultural backgrounds growing together. There are many spiritual/paranormal events that are left unexplained at the end of the story, presumably to be explained in book 2. Once I started reading this book, I truly had a hard time putting it down. I will definitely be reading book 2.

My only criticism is that the story ended in a cliffhanger. I enjoy books that are able to stand on their own and am not a huge fan of the 'to be continued' endings that seem popular right now. I understand why authors do it, it is just frustrating as a reader to have to wait to get your hands on book 2 to see what happens, especially if you are as engrossed in Book 1 as I was with this story.

I definitely recommend picking up a copy of this book so that you can see for yourself.  I can see why the author has won so many awards for this book series.  Book 1 is only .99 cents on amazon.com right now, I hope you love it as much as I did!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Aesop's Fables

I decided to pick up Aesop's Fables and give it a go.  I honestly thought that I was picking up a book of fairy tales, but was pleasantly surprised by the short quick and familiar tales that were in this book.

Description:  So many stories that we consider modern have their roots in Aesop's fables.  They truly are timeless.  This is a collection of tales that is appropriate for any age, the lessons that they teach are simple and useful in everyday life.

What I liked:  I recognized a lot of the tales, some I had heard or seen in children's picture books, others in movies, tv shows, cartoons, etc.  I had no idea that the stories were written such a long time ago.

What I didn't like: It was hard to read this in one sitting.  Because the stories are so short, I found myself either constantly re-reading entire tales or falling asleep after I had read a few of them.

Would I recommend this?:  Absolutely.  I think that every person should spend some time with this book at least once.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


I received a free advanced copy of You by Caroline Kepnes as part of the Goodreads giveaways.

"You" is the story of Joe who is an obsessed, deranged stalker/serial killer.  He sees Beck, has an innocent interaction with her, and becomes absolutely obsessed with her.  He goes into stalker mode.  He follows her activities on facebook.  Steals her phone so that he can read her emails.  Obsessively checks her twitter feed.  Finds her address.  Watches through her windows.  Sneaks into her house.  Kills her boyfriend....

This story is told in the first person, so the main character is relating all of these events as if they are normal which adds to the creepy factor.  It is not a romance.  It is a view into the mind of a very sick individual.  He seems normal to everyone who meets him.  A real nice guy, innocent manager of a book store.

After reading this, I found myself checking the privacy settings on all of my social media accounts, making sure my curtains are fully drawn at night and double checking the locks on my car and house when I go inside.  This is an unforgettable, chilling tale.  I still have goosebumps.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

This book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been on my to-read list for such a long time, I finally decided to pick it up.  I wish I had done that sooner, I thought this story was fantastic.

The Hound of the Baskervilles had me terrified, the story had me guessing and every book that I read has me loving Sherlock Holmes more and more.

This story has Holmes and Watson investigating the death of Sir Charles.  His family has been plagued by the legend of the devilish Hound of the Baskervilles for generations.  The family fears the moor at night, they stay indoors so as to not tempt fate.  Sir Charles buys into the legend wholeheartedly, making all attempts to avoid the moor and making plans to move away from the area.  So why then is his dead body found out there late at night, the night before he is to move away?  Even more intriguing, why are there paw prints from a hound close to the body?  Holmes must solve this mystery before the heir to Sir Charles' fortune meets the same fate.

The Geography of Pluto

 I won a copy of this book as part of a giveaway.

The Geography of Pluto by Christopher DiRaddo is the story of a young man named Will who is a geography teacher living in Montreal. He is really struggling to get over the breakup of his relationship with his boyfriend Max. He makes half-hearted attempts at moving on, but can he? Will's mother is also facing struggles of her own. She is a cancer survivor, but the cancer looms like a dark cloud over them, always threatening to come back.  

While the story is about a young gay man, it is not a coming of age story.  I started reading this book expecting it to be a long drawn emotional tale about how a young man discovers himself.  I was presently surprised and very wrong in my original assumptions.  It is so beautifully written, I was captivated. It is about grief, love, and the beautiful city of Montreal. At times I found myself cheering for Will, other times he made me frustrated. It is definitely a story worth reading.  

The Man Within (Breeds #2, Feline Breeds #2)

I read the book The Man Within by Lora Leigh earlier in the month of August but didn't get around to putting my thoughts down until now.

Ever since she was a little girl, Roni has always been protected by her friend Taber.  He has captured her heart.  They are finally going to get together.  Then he brushes her off and never wants to see her again.  Her heart is shattered.  They spend months apart, then the news of the Breeds gets released.  She finds out that he is one.  Her father finds out as well when he sees the mark on her neck.  Her dad would do anything to sell her out, and he does.  This throws Roni back into Taber's arms, and his kiss seals the deal.  Even after months apart they are drawn to each other.  They are in a mating frenzy, chemically drawn to each other.  Nothing but pregnancy will make it stop.

This second book of the Breeds series felt a lot like rehashing the same things that happened in the first book.  There was not much of a plot and the mating frenzy had already been the main event of book 1.  There was the story line about Roni's father but even that I found weak.  All that being said, I did find it hard to put the book down.  I really do want to continue to read the series, I just hope that the other books have a bit more of a story to them.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Cheese Stealer's Handbook

***I was offered a free ebook copy of The Cheese Stealer's Handbook by Shoshaku Jushaku by the author in exchange for my honest review***

I have no idea what I just read. Was it autobiographical? I can't tell if this book is one long drug induced ramble or if the author is just brilliant. Did these things really happen? Right from the start I wanted to wring the main character's neck. He is such an irresponsible jerk! The entire time I was reading this book I was thinking to myself, how can anyone tolerate this person. Why can't he just get something right. Why can't he just make one good decision? Apparently 'Shoshaku Jushaku' means 'one continuous mistake', so I get it. Very clever.

There are some parts of this story that are quite funny, and the story itself is very well written. Any book that is capable of invoking such strong feelings of like or dislike towards the characters in my view is a win. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Prediction

**I was given a free ebook copy of The Prediction by the author Darren Sugrue in exchange for my honest review**

What if you could predict the date of someone's death?  What if that someone was a person you loved?  Would you try to stop it from happening? 

This is the dilemma that Daniel Gellar faces.  For his doctoral thesis, he created a mathematical formula that can tell what date a person will die on.  When he went to defend his thesis, it got rejected and he was forced to leave college and abandon his dreams. 

Twelve years later, one of the panel professors who had helped get him thrown out of college finds Daniel to tell him that one of the people he had performed his calculation on died...on the exact date Daniel had predicted.  He had also performed the calculation on his college girlfriend, and her time is coming near.  Can Daniel use this knowledge to save her?  Or should he let fate decide and use it as a case to prove his thesis once and for all?

This story had me gripped right from page one.  It was full of suspense and kept me guessing.  Sugrue does an outstanding job of reeling you into the lives of his characters.  I found myself rooting for Daniel, sharing the pain of Claire and John, and wanting to save Grace.  I am excited to see what else this author has in store.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dream Student

I was offered a free ebook copy of Dream Student (Dreams #1) by J.J. DiBenedetto after I had entered a giveaway for the book and didn't win.  It took me a few weeks to get around to reading it, but now that I finally have, here is my review.

Sara is a typical pre-med student, trying to balance studying, dorm life, having fun, and suffering through the most unimaginable nightmares.  At first the dreams don't seem so bad, she sees a boy that she feels an intense connection with.  They later meet at a club and it is insta-love.  But she keeps having these recurring nightmares of a man brutally murdering young girls and dumping the bodies.  She wakes up screaming and crying.  It isn't until she sees an article in the paper with the girl's picture that she realizes that her nightmares are really happening.  She is viewing someone else's dreams while she is asleep.  Sara and her friends must work together to stop the murderer before he claims his next victim.

The concept for this story is nice and interesting.  It is a cool idea that you could be a crime fighting dreamer.  I think that the author could have done a lot more with it than he did.  At one point Sara visits the sleep lab on campus and they run tests, telling her that the results don't make sense.  They hook her up to all of the probes and scanners while she sleeps, and as soon as her nightmares begin according to the tests it is like she became an entirely different person.  As soon as Sara leaves the sleep lab, there is no follow up with that.  I would think that the professors took an interest in the test results and would want to investigate more, but they don't.

Also, there is a lot of content in the book that is unnecessary and boring.  It is frequently mentioning class schedules, and minute details about how the characters are spending their days.  A lot of this could have been eliminated with absolutely zero impact to the story.  If the author had worked a little bit more on character development and a little bit less on minute details about the characters' class schedules and studying the book would have been more interesting.  As it was, it was still an interesting read, the story had a nice flow, and the pace picked up quite a bit near the end.  I'd be interested in seeing what the author did with the story line in the other books of this series.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Supermarket Guy 3: Supermarket Dominium

I received a free copy of The Supermarket Guy 3: Supermarket Dominium by Daren Doucet as part of the Goodreads first-reads giveaways.  Here is my honest review.

Acadou is a former supermarket giant serving a prison term for some crime or other that I assume he committed in either Supermarket Guy 1 or 2.  He's a large, muscular man running a crime empire from behind bars.  His foster son, Edmund, is running their supermarket empire and also secretly developping a mind control drug that is to be distributed en masse via the delicious Edmundo cola.  Anyone who drinks the cola will love Edmund and set our to destroy and throw rocks at Harold, who is owner of their rival supermarket chain.  Acadou has a religious conversion right before Edmund breaks him out of prison, and with his newfound faith cannot go along with Edmund's devious plans.  Acadou must team up with Harold, who is also a large, muscular idiot, in order to stop Edmund from controlling the world and causing a nuclear war.

The author prefaces this book to give warning that it is very tongue in cheek and humorous.  Which it certainly is.  It is amusing, but not funny.  The story reads much like an outrageous cartoon where improbable things are constantly happening and the scene is changing so frequently that you feel like it is giving you ADD.  The plot was OK, not spectacular, but not bad either.  Some things about the characters may have been easier for me to understand if I had also read the first two books in the series, but I don't feel as though I missed much.

My one major criticism for this book was the editing.  There are quite a few mistakes that were missed.  Also,  when the scene changes, there is no separation on the page.  You end up reading another few paragraphs before you realize that it is talking about a different group of people in a different place!  Overall this book delivered on the promise of humour and entertainment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Edge of End

I received an ebook copy of Edge of End by Suren Fant from the author after I entered the giveaway for a physical copy of the book and did not win.  At first I had received an unedited copy, but a few days later the author emailed me to provide the final edited copy of the novel, which is what I am reviewing here.

Edge of End is a story about a man named Jonarhan who wakes up in the desert with no memory.  He stumbles into a town that seems completely abandoned.  He has some weird visions which lead him to a certain house in the town where he finds a woman named Elizabeth.  They realize that they are trapped in the town surrounded by supernatural beings, and if they want to survive they must escape as soon as possible.  The town is crawling with demons who will do anything to stop them from leaving.  Jonathan and Elizabeth fall in love, and will not leave the town unless they go together.

The story here is interesting.  It isn't amazing, it is just interesting.  If I were to review the story itself and nothing else, I would give it a 3 star rating.  Good, not great, not bad.  Worth a read if this is your kind of thing.  The love aspect between Elizabeth and Jonathan was a bit ridiculous, they would have passionate kisses seconds after brutally maiming a disgusting demon.  Also I felt the character of Elizabeth could use some work, she seemed dull and stupid at times, running off to get killed and having Jonathan come and save her.  I prefer stronger female characters who have a brain and use it.

The reason I am giving this book 2 stars instead of 3 is because of the writing+grammar (yes, even the edited final copy had many mistakes).  If a really good editor were to get a hold of this book it would be much improved.  So many times when reading a sentence, I would think to myself 'no one actually uses that word!' or find the same adjective used to describe something 3 sentences in a row.  It is so distracting when you are trying to read something, I kept trying to correct what I saw to be mistakes, thinking 'it would work much better if the author had phrased it like this'.  I shouldn't have to do that when reading a book.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Medicine Walk

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Richard Wagamese' novel Medicine Walk from the Goodreads First Reads giveaway. 

When Frank receives a letter of summons from his father, he expects only more disappointment.  He has learned not to expect much from his alcoholic father, but when he goes to visit Eldon this time, he learns that his father is dying.  After a lifetime of drinking, Eldon knows the end is near, and would like Frank to accompany him on a journey to his final resting place.

As they make their way through the rugged landscape of beautiful British Columbia, Eldon finally shares some of his long kept secrets with Frank.  He reveals what led him to start drinking, what became of Frank's mother, and finally how Frank came to live with the old man who has raised him as a son all these years.  

Medicine walk is a story about love, courage, pain, regret and forgiveness.  It made my heart ache.  At times I hated Frank's father, then at others I felt compassion for him.  It is a great story and very beautifully written.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Inquest (Destroyer #1)

Inquest by DelSheree Gladden is a story about a young girl named Libby who will destroy the world.  An inquest is a talent unlocking ceremony that each person must attend on their 16th birthday to reveal which of the 7 possible talents that person possesses.  Having more talents means that you have a more prestigious place in society.  At Libby's inquest, it is revealed that she has all 7 of the talents, naming her Cassia, the Destroyer, who it is fated will bring an end to the world.  Libby and her freind Milo must work together to improve her talents and stay safe from the Guardians, who are out to kill them. 

I picked up this book when it was on a free promo for Kindle.  I could not put it down!  I think I *may* have stayed up half  the night because I had to know what would happen next.  I can't wait to pick up the next book in the series!  If you enjoy books like The Hunger Games or Divergent, definitely give this one a try.

Monday, June 9, 2014


It's bedtime!  Swimmy by Leo Lionni is a beautiful story about a little fish whose school gets eaten by a large tuna.  He is the only survivor, and strikes out to find a new group of fish to swim with.  When he finds them, they are afraid to swim out because they do not want to be eaten by larger fish.  Swimmy shows them how to work together so that if they stay as a group they will be safe from large predators.
This book has beautiful illustrations and gorgeous language.  Also, when reading stories to my children I love a book that leaves an opportunity for further discussion without being in your face or preachy with lessons.  This story was a great way to discuss using teamwork to overcome obstacles.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tempting the Beast (Breeds #1)

It is so hot outside, so what better way to enjoy then relaxing with a steaming hot book?  Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh is the first novel of the Breeds series.  The idea is that a group of evil scientists and government officials worked on genetic experiments crossing animal and human DNA.  Their goal was to create ultimate soldiers, and they performed all kinds of ruthless tests on their subjects as part of their experiments.

In this first book of the series, we meet Merinus Tyler who is a reporter.  She wants to do a story on Callan Lyon, one of the survivors of the experiments whose DNA is crossed with that of a lion, in hopes of exposing the whole sordid affair.  Marinus ans Callan meet, and some sort of weird hormonal reaction occurs between them, throwing them both into a mating frenzy. 

Mating Frenzy:  uncontrollable need to have sex all day long, the urge is calmed somewhat when orgasm is achieved by both parties but returns again shortly after.

There is one part of this book that irritated me a bit.  Throughout the first half of the story, Marinus is pissed that she can't control what is happening in her own body and is required to have sex with Callan to stay sane.  She finds him attractive and certainly enjoys having sex with him, but there is no emotional spark between them.  Then out of the blue she is saying she loves him, and has loved him since the first time she saw his photo.  I don't buy it.  If she loved him so much right from the start, the author could have done a better job in that regard, as it was it seemed like an afterthought added in half way through the book.

The idea of this book series intrigues me, and the sex scenes were ok, but please remove all instances of the word uterus from the entire book.  It was a bit of a mood killer.  I will read more books of the series because I am anxious to see what happens with the Council and all of the other Breeds that are out there.

If you like naughty sexy books, a bit of action and government conspiracy, give this book a try!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pride and Prejudice

Ahh the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Miss Bennet.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the most romantic stories I have ever read. 
Miss Bennet is the daughter of a gentleman, and forms an opinion of the proud Mr. Darcy based on bits of gossip ans his demeanor at various social gatherings they attend.  These opinions are quite prejudiced, and not at all based on facts.  When Miss Bennet gets to know the real Mr. Darcy she falls in love.  Sigh. 
I think one of the reasons I love this story is because it manages to be romantic and get your heart racing without overwhelming you with sex.  I was easily transported to the past where etiquette ruled, ladies celebrated their entrance into society, and people spent much time sitting around and talking. 

I adored this book and highly recommend everyone give it a chance.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Big Honey Hunt

Tonight's bedtime story was The Big Honey Hunt by Stan and Jan Berenstain.  It was a cute little story about a bear family that runs out of honey in their honey pot.  Instead of buying more at the store, Papa Bear takes his son on an adventure to find some wild honey.  The see a bee, and follow it from tree to tree looking for the honey tree.  Along the way they encounter many wild animals, and then finally they find the honey tree.  Unfortunately all is not well, and they get chased away by a swarm of angry bees.  In the end, they buy some honey from the store.
The story is cute, and the whole idea behind these early readers is to get kids reading, which I think this accomplishes.  There is a lot of repetition and rhyming.  The illustrations are nicely done.  My daughter enjoyed it, and I didn't mind it.  All in all a cute story, and one I'm sure we will read again.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


So I decided to start this blog to organize my thoughts and share my love of reading with the world.  I adore all genres of books from children's picture to literary classics to sleazy romance.  I hope you enjoy my musings!