Category: GoodBook

Book Review: “A Pedigree to Die For” by Laurien Berenson

Book Review: “A Pedigree to Die For” by Laurien Berenson

What could be better on a Christmas weekend then a delightful, cozy mystery? Nothing, of course. “A Pedigree to Die For” was delightful from beginning to end. Melanie is a single mother with a very busy 4 year old son. As the story opens summer break is just starting and Melanie finds out that the summer teaching job she was counting on has fallen through. Then she gets the news that her Uncle Max was found dead, of an apparent heart attack, on the floor of the kennel where he and Aunt Peg raise Poodles for competition. Aunt Peg also informs her that their prize-winning stud dog, Beau, went missing the same night, and then she proceeds to recruit Melanie to help her in finding the dog. Along the way, Melanie learns more she thought she ever wanted to know about the dog show circuit and the Standard Poodle breed.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Being a cat lover, I wasn’t sure if a book with dogs would keep my interest, but the characters in this story were so engaging that I once I started I could hardly put it down. There is family discord and secrets, ruthless competitors, and a whole pack of Poodles to knock you over every time you enter the door. This book is first in a series and it’s a great start.

Who would enjoy this book: mystery lovers or dog lovers

What age is this book appropriate for: any age would enjoy this one, there are no sex scenes, bad language or graphic violence.

Alinefromabook’s recommendation: Definitely a THUMBS-UP! Get a copy and cozy up to a good read.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “In Search of Buddha’s Daughters” by Christine Toomey

Book Review: “In Search of Buddha’s Daughters” by Christine Toomey

This is a biographical book where the author travels across the globe interviewing Buddhist nuns. She has presented their stories here in a way that was absolutely delightful to read. Being a Westerner, raised in a conservative Christian community, the only exposure I’ve had to Buddhism was seeing them in the airports when I was a kid. I have, though, always had a curiosity about other religions and cultures, so this book seemed like a good way to learn a little bit about these women. I was not disappointed! Ms. Toomey traveled to Nepal, Burma, Japan, the West Coast, Britain and France to meet these women, some of them well-known for the lives they led before becoming nuns, others known only in their own communities. All of the stories were fascinating and along the way the reader gets an introduction to the Buddhist faith (turns out it is not a demonic cult as I was told). Even if you have no interest in being a Buddhist, there is much in these stories to admire and inspire you. These women are not weaklings locking themselves away in a convent, but vibrant personalities who, in some cases, have endured much hardship. Hats off to Ms. Toomey for this beautifully crafted book!

Who would enjoy this book? Those who like biographies, who have an interest in different lifestyles, cultures, or religions.

What age is this book appropriate for? Older teenagers on up. There is nothing really graphic, but there is a chapter where she discusses the sexual abuse scandals of recent years.

Rating: I give “In Search of Buddha’s Daughters” a THUMBS-UP. Definitely a good read.

This book is set to be released in March 2016. Thanks to NetGalley for making a preview copy available.

Happy Reading!

Professional Reader
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Book Review: “Finding the Way: From Prussia to a Prairie Homestead” by Alfred Wellnitz

Book Review: “Finding the Way: From Prussia to a Prairie Homestead” by Alfred Wellnitz

This is a powerful story of courage, perseverance, and good ole hard work. Karl is a young man, recently released from the Prussian army after fighting in the Franco-Prussian War. He has decided that he wants to follow some of his buddies and immigrate to America, where he can build a homestead and no longer be a peasant for a nobleman. With his family’s blessing he sets off on a journey he could never have imagined. He travels by ship to Baltimore where his money is stolen before he even gets through immigration. Karl meets up with Heinrich, another young Prussian who he met on the boat, and together they set off to make something of themselves. With a little help from fellow Germans they manage to find a place to live and jobs. After saving up some money they are ready to head west. They will make stops in Chicago, working at a meat-packing plant, and Deadwood, SD, running a saloon, before Karl can finally settle on his homestead.

The author obviously did a lot of research about life in 1800’s America, as the descriptions of the various places our heroes find themselves in put the reader right in there with them. The story is inspired by the experiences of the author’s family members when they immigrated, which also lends authenticity to the story. I found Karl’s story to be quite inspiring. Even though he has his money stolen, then gets conned out of more, he never lets his dream fade. He has to take on some pretty disgusting jobs in the process but continues to keep his “eye on the prize”. This would be a good book for history buffs and also for anyone he needs a little inspiration to keep going. I think it’s important to read this type of story so that we can be reminded of the kind of spirit that made this country so great in the first place. This book would also be appropriate for teenagers on up. I’m giving “Finding the Way” a definite thumbs-up.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: “Try Not to Breathe” by Holly Seddon

Book Review: “Try Not to Breathe” by Holly Seddon

Ingenious storyline! Everybody in this book is in the midst of a personal crisis, in fact, part of the mystery of the story is will they survive. But the larger question is, Who raped Amy and left her for dead? So what’s going on that makes this book great?

Amy is a 30 year-old woman who has been in a vegetative state since she was attacked 15 years earlier. She has been hospitalized and unable to communicate since the day she was found in a local park. She exists in a special ward of the hospital where she has a friend. Jacob comes to visit her almost daily. Jacob and Fiona have been married for a couple of years and are expecting their first child. Fiona doesn’t know about Amy but her presence in the relationship is causing a lot of friction between her and Jacob. Then one day, somebody new visits with Amy; her name is Alex. Alex is a journalist whose life is in the dumpster, she’s an alcoholic with liver disease, she had a miscarriage, lost her job and all her friends, and her husband left her for another woman. Alex is desperately trying to hang on to a shred of a career as a freelancer and she’s been assigned to write a story about the research going on in the hospital ward where Amy resides. With a little encouragement, Alex decides to do her own investigation into what happened to Amy. This decision will change lives. If you want to know more, you need to get a copy of the book.

One of my favorite things about this story was that the characters were so flawed. Alex has so many close calls that you wonder if she will even survive to tell the story she is unraveling. Jacob is at rock bottom in his marriage because he can’t seem to move past Amy. Fiona is caught in the middle without even knowing it because Jacob refuses to reveal his secrets. The author does a wonderful job of presenting the story from varying perspectives, with the narrative being told alternately by the different characters. This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend that you get a copy when it is released early next year.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: “Twist” by Roni Teson

Book Review: “Twist” by Roni Teson

Sometimes I read a book and at the end I find myself envying the author’s imagination, because I have been so engrossed in the story they have created. This is one of those books.

The story opens with Luke meeting Beatrice for the first time. Beatrice has recently moved in with her Aunt and Uncle, and Luke’s father is Uncle George’s best friend. It’s love at first sight for our two teenagers, but after one spur of the moment afternoon together, circumstances will keep them apart for months.

Beatrice’s mother has died and her father is on the run from the FBI. Understandably, Beatrice is confused by the situation and no one will tell her what her father has done or when she will see him again. Suddenly, her father reappears and Luke ends up beaten nearly to death, while Beatrice is forced to return to Seattle. Will these two ever have a chance to be together again? Will Luke regain his memory? Will Beatrice ever learn the truth about herself and her father?

This book lives up to its name as the story twists and turns from beginning to end. I couldn’t help but root for Beatrice and Luke as these kids navigate the challenges thrown at them. The author’s style is very approachable and easy to read. While this book is about teenagers, and would be a great read for that age group, as an adult I enjoyed it tremendously. There was plenty of intrigue and the romance part was not overdone or frivolous. I particularly appreciated the author’s description of Luke’s recovery, which seemed very realistic and true to life. I am highly recommending this book and hope it will get the attention and readership it deserves.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: “Dangerous Brains” by Erik Hamre

Book Review: “Dangerous Brains” by Erik Hamre

An incredibly gripping thriller! I read this book in record time because I just had to know how it was going to end.

Someone has created an artificial intelligence which is breaking through the firewalls of every electronic device on the planet. The U.S. government has in place a directive which says that if an intelligence breaks through the nuclear warhead control systems than a series of nuclear bombs attached to GPS satellites will be detonated in the atmosphere, creating an EMP wave which will knock out all electronics and send society backwards 200 years.

Kraut has assembled a team of experts to try and stop this new intelligence. As the clock ticks down to detonation of the bombs, will the team be able to find a way to destroy it? This story is full of twists and turns as the investigators undercover clues, hit dead ends, and continue to persist till the bitter end. One of the things that made the story so compelling is that it is set in 2015 and the technology portrayed is very realistic. The reader can easily imagine these events taking place in the not too distant future. This story is fun to read but also a wake-up call for Americans that technology may also have a very scary, dark side if not managed properly.

If you’re looking for a mystery, you will enjoy this book. If you’re a sci-fi fan, you will enjoy this book. I have previously read “Tuna Life” by the same author and I think this one surpasses it in its creativity. This is definitely a 5 star book.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: “Ten Days in a Mad-House” by Nellie Bly

Book Review: “Ten Days in a Mad-House” by Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly was a female journalist in the late 1800’s. At the time, female journalists wrote about the home and society gatherings. Nellie set a new standard for investigative journalism, often writing about the plight of working women of her day. One of her assignments was to pretend to be insane and get herself committed to the Woman’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell Island in New York. She spent ten days locked away and the result was this book. In it she exposes the substandard conditions and brutal treatment of the women who were incarcerated there. Nellie’s book led to a grand jury investigation of the facility and the eventual improvement of conditions.

This book is a relatively short read and the edition I have included two articles at the end which she wrote about working conditions of women. Though the subject matter is very unpleasant, I nevertheless enjoyed the book. I found it shocking how easily the doctors she encountered wrote her off as insane. Our current mental health system is far from perfect, but in comparison to what she describes, has improved immensely. This would be a good choice for history or journalism buffs alike.

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Short Story: “Daughters” by Nathan Walpow

Short Story: “Daughters” by Nathan Walpow

A quick, little story to thrill and chill you! This first person story is about vengeance. The storyteller never gives himself a name but identifies himself as someone who delivers vengeance on wrongdoers. One day his estranged daughter appears at his door seeking vengeance of her own. The two of them join forces to right the wrong of her mother’s death. At just 14 pages this story moves quickly but will keep you guessing. Definitely worth the time!

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Book Review: “The Lake House” by Kate Morton

Book Review: “The Lake House” by Kate Morton

This is a new favorite for me. Everything about this book was beautifully crafted, from the cover to the last page.

Sadie is a police detective in London who’s being forced to take leave because she talked to a reporter about an active case. She decides to visit her grandfather who has moved to Cornwall following the death of his wife. One morning, while out jogging with her grandfather’s dogs, she comes upon the Lake House. Her curiosity piqued, she learns that the house was vacated by the owners 70 years previously after a family tragedy. The only son of the family, only 2 years old at the time, disappears during a party and no one knows what happened to him. Since she can’t go back to work yet, Sadie decides to launch an investigation into the mystery of Theo’s disappearance.

As you’ve probably guessed, I loved this book. There’s mysteries within mysteries. The characters are complex and appealing. Sadie, in particular, captured my imagination. She’s a skilled detective but vulnerable to her emotions and haunted by her past, a past she must come to terms with during her investigation. This story is more than just a mystery though. It’s a journey into the heart of relationships and commitments, and how one choice can reverberate through time. There is a richness to this story that made it a true pleasure to read and I highly recommend it, not just to mystery lovers, but to all lovers of good fiction. Thank you to Kate Morton for enriching my reading experience with this wonderful story.

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Book Review: “A Monster Chase” by Marion Stahl

Book Review: “A Monster Chase” by Marion Stahl

I found this book very disappointing. From the description, I expected this to be a story exposing a major problem, physician prosecution, in the healthcare industry. While the book did tell the story of one physician who was maliciously prosecuted, the story itself was not well written enough to be worth my time. The writing was choppy and many of the conversations between characters just didn’t flow well or make sense. The characters had no depth and the descriptive passages were written in a very juvenile way. This book is a good idea but not well executed.

Happy Reading!

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