Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Review: The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

Betty was planning on spending Christmas alone, but then she received two uninvited guests.  One was a dog whom she thought belonged to her backyard neighbor, someone she did not get along with.  The other was her stepgranddaughter running away from home.  She did not want a dog and she did not want her stepgranddaughter to be in the middle of a fight with her mother.   The dog and the granddaughter teach Betty some valuable lessons on judging others before she truly meets them.

I give the story five stars because it was easy to relate to and the characters were very likeable.  Carlson did a great job expressing neighborhood dynamics when a new neighbor moves in.  Neighbors were afraid.  They didn't go out of their way to meet him, but then, neither did he.

The story is set around Christmas, but it's not so much a Christmas story.  It can be read any time of the year.

I read this story for pure pleasure via the Kindle app on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: Anna 2026 by Lucas Morgan

Riley's wife is missing and he's on a mission to find her.  She was arrested and sent to a sealed off part of the city.  The government claims it is because she took drugs, but Riley knows better.  He will do anything he can to regain Anna.

This is the story of a dystopian society where the government tries to protect people from themselves.  Are they really doing that or is there an ulterior motive?  What does the title Anna 2026 mean?  No, it's not the year the book is set as I originally thought!

I thought the story was okay.  It went by quickly.  It was a well written story, but I'm finding more and more these action stories are not my taste.  The end was sad, but sort of expected. If you like these types of stories you will probably enjoy this one.

I read this story as a review request using the Kindle app on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: Dented Cans by Heather Walsh

The story of one family's life with a frugal father.  The Sampson family is known for their cheapness.  The father loves to buy dented and unlabeled cans at discount prices.  Sixteen year old Hannah knows her family is not normal.  She can't wait for the day she can get away.  Her fourteen year old brother, Ryan, is on the fast track to nowhere getting by by doing the bare minimum.  Her eight-year-old brother, Ben, prefers to talk in sound effects and eat only chicken nuggets.

The major part of the story takes place in Disney World.  None of the siblings want to go, but their father makes them enjoy a vacation in October in this Orlando hot spot.  The entire time they are there they argue over what to eat (the peanut butter sandwiches their parents made each morning), what to ride, and what to do.  What the kids do not know is the secret their parents have been holding all their lives.

I found the narrator, Hannah, to be a major brat.  All she does is complain.  She complains about her father being frugal and buying dented cans (which is something to complain about).  When their house is being fumigated for termites she complains about having to share a room with her brother.  She complains about going to Disney World for the second time.  She complains about having to watch a Disney movie on the plane ride to Orlando.  What she should be thankful for is that her cheap father decide to shell out money for the headphones.  She complains that going to Disney World is the worst thing in the world.  Um no.  My gosh, what an ungrateful little brat.

She complains about the dumbest things, in my opinion.  She complains about five people in their party being troublesome for the Disney World employees working the rides.  Give me a break!  I come from a family of five and we've never encountered trouble or anxiousness when dividing up the family for rides.  She calls the Magic Kingdom infantile.

I was ready to give this book a low rating when the ending came along.  It is surprising to say the least.  It did change my feelings on wanting to smack Hannah for being so negative about Disney World, but it did provide me with some feelings of sympathy.

I read this book as a review request via the Kindle app on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I've Read 
In Alphabetical Order by Author's Last Name

Friday, May 17, 2013

XM Attack

I'm starting a new XM Attack on my XM Attack blog.  Well, actually I started yesterday, but I didn't post it until today.  I'm not going report here every time I put up a post there, don't worry about that.

What is XM Attack?  It's what I call my intense listening to sattelite radio.  I subscribe to XM and when I started XM and Sirius were rivals.  Each day I listen to one channel for an hour.  I record what I've listened to and my thoughts on the channel.  It's a way for me to discover all the channels XM has to offer.  With a new channel lineup implemented May 9, I decided this was a good time to do another one.

If you want to check out the post it is here: XM Attack: (((75))) SiriusXM Pops

I love XM radio.  It's not for everyone.  It's a pay service, a subscription, so if you don't listen to radio that much then it's not your worth your while.  I love radio, so this is great for me.  Plus, I get baseball.  Baseball is my favorite sport in the entire world.  I'm not always near a TV to watch my Atlanta Braves.  Having XM I can listen to the radio broadcast.  It is the home team's broadcast so it's not always Atlanta, but it's better than nothing.  If I had the online service I could get all Atlanta broadcasts but I don't think it's worth it unless I have a smart phone or a tablet.  It's good because even though I live in SC I don't always have access to the radio broadcast.  I don't know.  Reasons like Clemson is more important, Sunday football is more important, I even think they broadcast Greenville Drive games on the radio.

More importantly, XM is about variety.  You can't always guarantee that in terrestrial radio.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: Harry Potter: Page to Screen by Bob McCabe

Emotional! If you are a fan of the movies you will truly enjoy this book. Being a part of the fandom while the movies were being made makes it that much more special when I read about it. If I read a book on the making of Star Wars it would be cool, but I wouldn't feel the emotion because I wasn't alive when they made the original three. I was born in 1982. But, with Harry Potter I was there with the anticipation of the next book, the next movie, the next whatever. When I look at behind the scenes pictures it reminds me of those times what I felt then and what's gone. This isn't the making of one movie or even three movies. This is the making of 8 movies. This is ten years of filmmaking. As of right now that's 1/3 of my life. That's a little less than half of the main actors' lives. I think that's what really hits. We watch many of the actors grow up in these movies. Many movie series don't span such a wide era that we truly see something like this. And even series that do span that much time don't do it consecutively or with the same cast and crew. Some crew has changed, like directors and a certain headmaster, but for the most part it is the same people.

This book details so much about the filming, the locations, the creatures, the costumes, the behind the scenes. I'm sure there is plenty more that can be written. It would fill volumes. This book contains a lot and enough to satisfy. The pictures are brilliant. Behind the scene pictures, concept art, close-ups of pieces that we don't see clearly enough in the movies. We see the extreme detail taken on EVERYTHING and by everything I mean everything. This book is a must read for the movie fan.

Opening this book I felt like Hermione picking up her "light reading" in Sorcerer's Stone.

I am a little disappointed music was not mentioned!

I read this book for pure pleasure.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: Against the Odds by J. Abrams

I'm not into romance novels like this so maybe I'm not being fair, but I am reviewing compared to what I like to read.  That's all I can do.

The whole thing is so cliched it's not even funny.  We have the tall, "dark", and handsome bachelor (he's actually white, while she's the dark one).  The two instantly fall in love.  It's all perfect.  Even the bad stuff that happens is perfect.   Everything happens so quickly.  It's a rush to get it all in one story.  It's not believable.

Raine is a model from Atlanta who divorced her husband Jerome and moved in with her best friend in Roswell, New Mexico.  Her best friend and her best friend's husband own a ranch.  Living on the ranch is Hayden, an extremely tall man with great abs.  Raine instantly falls head over heels for him.  She's the narrator so we know what she's thinking, but we don't know what Hayden's thinking.  We find out later that he also fell in love with her the moment he saw her.  The couple does fight, but the fights are so cliched and "perfect" trying to get that hint of suspense but it just doesn’t work.  I know what's going to happen before I turn the page.  The story is very predictable.   

Everything that happens in this story is so perfect.  All the answers fall into place.  It's too easy.  Everytime Raine and Hayden run into  a "problem" the answer comes to quickly and too right. It made it hard to want to read the story. 

Another negative is the story is full of telling and not showing.  It even skips to Hayden's point of view (third person and not first like with Raine) to tell us instead of showing us.  It's irritating and does little for the story.

The book does get a lot of good reviews on Goodreads so perhaps it is just because I'm not into the "I love you more than the world" straight romances like this.

(If you compare this to my other reviews it seems I have a lot more to say when I don't like a book than when I do).

I read this as a review request via PDF on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Review: Echoes (Glenbrooke #3) by Robin Jones Gunn

After getting dumped by her fiance, Lauren joins the online world thanks to her brother getting her a computer.  Her first correspondence, again thanks to her brother, is with a man who calls himself KC.  After a few misdirected emails meant for her brother, the two continue the conservation and begin a fulfilling relationship through the wires.

After a year, Lauren decides it is time to meet the man behind the emails.  Is she ready to risk losing her heart again?

I love how the characters in this series are intertwined together.  Their story doesn't end when their book does.  I am reading this series out of order, but it's still easy to follow and I don't feel like I'm spoiling early books by reading later ones.  The story is self-contained in one book, but it also branches out into others, if you know what I mean.  What I'm saying is the book can be read stand-alone, but it is also connected to other books in the series.

I read this book as a review request from Blogging for Books using Adobe Digital on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Book Review: Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols

The prodigal daughter returns home in this poignant tale of love and redemption.  Mary Bridget has had tragedy in her life which lead to her taking the wrong turn with her boyfriend.  Somehow, her life has ended up on the wrong side of the tracks and she wants out.  Her out is running away and becoming a nanny for a widowed preacher's family.

This is the story of two people needing each other.  No, not Mary and the preacher, though the preacher does need help.  Rather, it's his daughter, Samantha, reaching out for help and it's Mary Bridget who comes to her rescue.  In doing so, she helps herself get closer to God and find her way back home.

There are three points of view going on in the story and Linda Nichols did a good job of intertwining them.  We have Mary Bridget's story, her boyfriend's story, and the preacher's story.  Mary Bridget is the main character and the other two stories help push hers along.

I really enjoyed this story and it has compelled me to look at other books written by Linda Nichols.

I read this book for pure pleasure using the Kindle App on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can playing along!  Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

  • It was evenings like this when Lauren felt as if she and Jeff were already married.  They would drink their french roast together from oversized mugs, sharing their favorite hazelnut coffee creamer and talking until the early hours, planning their future together.
    P. 16 Echoes (Glenbrooke #3) by Robin Jones Gunn

    Friday, May 3, 2013

    Book Review: One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

    One Step too Far.  An appropriate title. This story takes things one step too far.

    Emily Coleman seems to have it all.  She's the favorite twin.  She gets all the attention from her mother.  She's married.  She has a kid.  Yet, one day, she walks out to start her life all over.

    Emily ran away from something hard.  She didn't want to deal with it.  She just ran away.  Running away doesn't make it go away.  What is it?  You'll have to read the book to find out.

    I never felt attached to the characters.  I didn't feel any emotion towards Emily or Caroline her sister.  There was nothing attaching me to them.  There didn't seem to be any character development.  One day Emily's this and the next day she's that.  Nothing's really there to show how she changed.  No progression.

    Overall, I think the story was pretty weird.  Two timelines went on, one with the present of Emily having run away and the other of Emily and Caroline growing up, Emily getting married, and everything that went along with it.  At first it was hard to follow, but as I read on it did get easier.

    I read this book as a review request from netgalley using Adobe Digital on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Book Review: When Strawberries Bloom (Lizzie Searches for Love #2) and Big Decisions (Lizzie Searches for Love #3) by Linda Byler

    The second book in the Lizzie Searches for Love trilogy deals with Lizzie growing up.  She's teaching school now and dealing with her father's failing health.  She is also questioning her feelings for Stephen.  Is he the one God wants her to be with?  Is she the right person for a relationship?  Is she growing up?

    I enjoyed this book better than the first.  It felt more Amish.  With Lizzie growing up she has the same worries and concerns, but they're coming at her and she's dealing with them in more mature ways.  She's also finding out a lot about herself.  Her sisters find their husbands and it leads Lizzie to wondering if she will ever have that kind of love herself.

    The third book in the trilogy deals with Lizzie getting married.  Is she ready?  Is she the type of person who should get married?  Does she want to?  Does she want children?  These are the questions that run through her head.  Lizzie has to learn to grow up.  She has to learn to be a better person, the kind of person God wants her to be, the kind of person she needs to be for her husband.

    Putting the whole series together I really enjoyed it.   I'm not sure there was enough meat for three books, but I did enjoy going through Lizzie's life as she matured and found love.

    I read this as a review request from Netgalley using the Adobe Digital program on my laptop.  The book was actually a compilation published with all three books combined.  As I have already read and reviewed the first book I did not do that here.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.