Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Dear Brave Friend by Leigh Ann Gerk #review #petloss #griefrecovery #humanesociety #kidlit #rainbowbridge #grief #petlosssupport #petmemorial #giveaway





Synopsis:

Written in the form of a letter from the dog to the boy, the letter shares relatable, real life examples of how the boy (and therefore anybody who has lost a dear pet) may be feeling and suggestions on what he can do to help himself get through this most difficult time. The letter also touches on simple acts of kindness that can follow the reader throughout his or her lifetime. The message in this story is applicable to young and old, girl or boy, and to any family pet that has stolen your heart


My review:

For anyone that has ever lost a pet, this book is a sweet story. It is meant for children but I think adults could read it and still gain the strength of it. As the synopsis says, it is written as a letter from the boy's beloved dog that has obviously just passed away. The dog helps the boy through his grief and beyond.

The author gave good advice in how to maybe honor the beloved pet by planting trees or flowers or donating the pet's items to the humane society. These were really great ideas and spoke to the author's years as a grief counselor for lost pets.

I had only two issues with this book. The first is in the middle of the book the story went off into a direction of  what it looked like in doggie (animal) "heaven". This was meant to let the reader know that all the animals 'there" are getting along and enjoying their time 'there."  I understood what the author was trying to do but, I felt like that might give a false illusion to children as we really have no idea what that might look like. Up until that point, the book seemed more nonfiction. I felt like this section could have been left out and still made the book fantastic.

My second issue was I would have liked to have seen this book more multicultural and girls put into the story or at very least make a girl version.   Maybe it could have been a brother/sister that lost the pet. I think it would make the book more rounded.

In spite of those two issues, I really did love this book and think it would be a great resource for children who are grieving the loss of a pet. I loved that there are pages in the back where a child could write to and draw about their beloved pet. A resource in the back is about a dog constellation that can be seen in the sky. That was a neat addition as well.

I would have given this book 5 stars if it had not been for the two items above. None-the-less, I am still giving it 4 1/2 stars.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. The views here are !00% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle


Where to find the author:

Picture

Meet the Author:

Leigh Ann Gerk MA, LPC has been in the counseling field for over eleven years. She is certified in Pet Loss & Grief Companioning and the founder and owner of Mourning to Light Pet Loss providing individual and family counseling for anyone grieving the loss of a pet. She currently offers 3 free pet loss support groups in Northern Colorado and is excited to branch out and offer more. Having grown up on a farm, Leigh Ann's childhood playmates included baby calves, horses, bunnies, dogs, and 32 cats that set up house in a boxcar that also served as her playhouse. This upbringing introduced her, at a very young age, to the human-animal bond and instilled in her a deep understanding of, and love for, this extraordinary relationship. Leigh Ann and her husband, Andy, live in Loveland, Colorado, and are the proud parents of identical twin daughters, Heather and Heidi. Their family is made complete by their first grandchild and their cherished therapy dog, Gracie. 
 website  ~  Facebook  

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the author of DEAR BRAVE FRIEND (1 winner) (open to Amazon.com customers) (ends Feb 12) 

Friday, January 22, 2021

The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson #WWII #familydynamics #historicalfiction




Synopsis:

Sometimes it is the people we think we know the best who surprise us the most.

1986, London: Klaudia is about to start high school. She’s embarrassed by her German father―he’s the janitor at her school, he has a funny accent and a limp. And when the kids at school taunt her by saying he was a Nazi during the war, she can’t dispute them with confidence. She’s never known exactly what he may or may not have done during the war. It is a period of time no one will ever discuss.

1995, Leeds: Eliza is in love. She has dropped out of university to pursue her passion―dance. But then talented artist Cosmo comes along and soon Eliza realizes that she might have room in her life for two loves. But can she really continue to lie to everyone around her? And why is she so afraid of the truth?

1930s, Germany: Two brothers are trying to fend for themselves during the chaos of the rise of the Third Reich. One brother rallies for the Fuhrer, one holds back. One is seemingly good, one bad. But history seems to tell a completely different story.

All of these characters’ fates will collide in a novel that explores what we are ultimately willing to do for love. Saskia Sarginson hypnotically examines whether our identities are tied to where we’ve come from in a captivating mystery that shows how sometimes history doesn’t tell the true story.


My review:

The problem I tend to have with rating systems are when I waver on what to give the book. I liked this book but did I 'really' like it? The actual rating here should be 3 1/2 stars for me so, I'll go with that.


I have had this book on my TBR pile for at least 1-2 years. I initially picked it up because I liked the cover and the title. I did not know the premise other than I thought it was about a girl who was hiding a secret. I was right and wrong at the same time.


It turned out to be told by three (spoiler) seemingly four people. It tells the tale of family secrets, school bullying, and  living on the non-winning other side of WWII. The book is broken up into the 1930's-40's and present day.


This was a tough and emotionally rollercoaster ride for me. I read this book often with a lens of disgust of what happened to the Jewish people at the hands of German people at the time. I was looking at the book as someone who "might" have Jewish heritage but not sure. I was also looking at it from someone who has German in-laws.


The German's in the book told how they grew up and what they endured as children but then moved through 'The Youth Group' into adulthood. I had hope that one of the characters would be a rescuer but was disappointed and how his life turned out was shocking.


The twists kept me reading. The intertwined story eventually ending with yet another twist did too.

However, I also could see these twists coming before they ever did thus another reason for a lesser rating.


I found the daughter character in the book to be a bit whiney. I felt she needed to stand up for herself and not keep perpetuating lies. I felt she needed to come to terms with her heritage and know it was not her fault. (Commentary) Simply you cannot help what family you are born into, you can however use the information and live a life of positive and make things as good as possible.


The story was good but overall, still 3 1/2 stars.


Side note: The author mentions in the back that she has had some possible interesting family heritage that she does not know the full extent of (like me). She did a ton of research for this book and it is total opposite of what her possible heritage is. That intrigued me more than the actual story.


Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book for my own collections. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Dream It & Do It by Holly Sharp #Spotlight #Giveaway

 


Monday, January 18, 2021

Weekend Pass by Paul Cavanagh #newrelease #literary #fiction #giveaway

 

CategoryAdult Fiction (18 yrs +),  210 pages
Genre: Literary
PublisherNot That London Writer
Release date:   Jan 19, 2021
Content RatingPG-13 + M. Includes some f-words, religious profanities, and mature themes (addiction, adultery)

Book Description:

Who can forgive a mother who poisons her eight-year-old son? Even if it was an accident. Tasha thought she had everything under control – her family life, her career as a nurse – until her son got into her stash of painkillers. Now, during her first weekend home from drug treatment, she must come to grips with the damage she’s done and somehow pick up the pieces. Told from the points of view of four different family members, Weekend Pass is a story about the lies we tell ourselves and the people we love. And it’s about struggling to rise above the mistakes that threaten to define us.


My Review:

I do caution my readers that this is raw at times and definitely has triggers throughout, which you would expect.

I wanted to read this book because I personally know people who have gone through recovery of addictions and people who have lived with loved ones that are addicted.

This was a page turner that I simply could not put down until I was done. The whole book's scenario happens on a weekend visit home, thus the cover title, after a three-week stent in a recovery program. The realism touches on how family members react to the main character as well as how she deals with her own recovery. It is heart wrenching from both sides and tough to read especially if, like me, you have gone through such things.

I am not sure if the author just did his homework or has experienced addiction in some way, but the book talked about the character going to a recovery place and attending meetings like NA and AA. I like that the author did not try to gloss over the effects of addiction and instead made it in your face what it is. It showed how someone who would normally not do, drugs or alcohol in this case, can easily become addicted. It also showed how family dynamics can be effected before and after addictions. His story unfolded well and is worth the read.

 The only other thing I would like to mention is that I wished (even though I know this is a novel) there had been some resources added to the back of the book.

Overall, 4 stars for a great book.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book from the author. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle




BUY THE BOOK:
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Release Date Jan 19, 2021
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Meet the Author:

Paul Cavanagh is a Canadian author whose debut novel, After Helen, won the Lit Idol competition at the London Book Fair in the UK and was published to rave reviews in the United States, Canada, and the British Isles. He’s been compared to Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler for his ability to be at turns funny and moving while exploring the paradoxes of modern family relationships. He lives in London, Ontario (not be be confused with that other London). Weekend Pass is his third novel.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook 
 
Tour Schedule:

Jan 12 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 12 - Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
Jan 12 - Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
Jan 13 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / giveaway
Jan 14 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 14 - Cheryl's Book Nook – book review / giveaway
Jan 15 – Westveil Publishing – book review / giveaway
Jan 18 – Welcome To MLM Opinions Reviews – book review
Jan 18 - Reading Authors Network – book review / giveaway
Jan 19 – RebeccaReviewedIt – book review / giveaway
Jan 19 - Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 20 - Books Beans & Botany – book review / giveaway
Jan 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 22 – taketwolu – book review
Jan 22 - Stephanie Jane – book spotlight
Jan 25 – The Bibliophilic World – book review
Jan 25 - Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 26 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Jan 26 - Instagram: All Booked Up Reviews – book spotlight
Jan 27 – I'd Rather Be At The Beach – book review / giveaway
Jan 28 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 29 – My Fictional Oasis – book review / giveaway
Jan 29 - Sadie's Spotlight – book spotlight
Feb 1 – Corinne Rodrigues – book review / giveaway
Feb 1 - I'm Into Books – book review / giveaway
Feb 1 - Book Corner News and Reviews - book review / giveaway
 

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Friday, January 15, 2021

#Spotlight The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes #Giveaway

The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes Banner

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery: Police Procedural
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 294
ISBN: 978-1-947915-56-5
Series: A Vic Lenoski Mystery; Pittsburgh Trilogy #3 || Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Synopsis:

After a house fire hospitalizes his partner and forces him onto medical leave, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police detective Vic Lenoski starts a desperate search for the woman who set the blaze. She is the one person who knows what happened to his missing teenage daughter, but as a fugitive, she’s disappeared so thoroughly no one can find her.

Risking his job and the wrath of the district attorney, Vic resorts to bargaining with criminal suspects for new leads, many of which point to North Dakota. He flies there, only to discover he is far from everything he knows, and his long-cherished definitions of good and bad are fading as quickly as his leads. His only chance is one last audacious roll of the dice. Can he stay alive long enough to discover the whereabouts of his daughter and rebuild his life? Or is everything from his past lost forever?

"The mystery plot itself is riveting...a captivating and emotionally intelligent crime drama." — Kirkus Reviews


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Sometimes you walk into a room and what’s inside changes your life forever. That sense stopped Vic just inside the doorway. A woman with skin the color of dark amber lay on the only bed, her bandaged arms shockingly white among the shadows. She was reflected in a large window in the far wall, the outside sky as black and still as the inside of a tomb. He smelled disinfectant and blood. Numbers and graph lines flared on grey-eyed medical monitors. Somewhere in the vast empty spaces of the hospital a voice echoed.

He’d never visited a burn ward.

Never had a partner so close to death.

Never thought a room could seem as hollow as he felt inside.

The feeling was so disembodying that when he reached the bed and looked into the woman’s face, he half expected to see himself. But it was Liz, her forehead and knobby cheekbones smeared with ointment, eyebrows and eyelashes burned away. A bandage covered her left earlobe where her favorite earring, a small gold star, usually sat. It seemed like every breath she took pained her.

He wanted to take her hand but the bandages made it impossible. “Liz,” he said softly, her name almost lost among the beeps and clicks of the monitors. Liquid dripped into a tangle of IV tubes at the back of her fist.

Her eyelids fluttered.

“Liz. Doctor told me I could talk to you.”

Her eyes opened. He watched her pupils widen and narrow as they absorbed the distance to the ceiling and distinguished shadows from feeble light.

“Vic?” A hoarse whisper.

“I’m here.”

She turned her face to him. “You got me out.”

Relief rose in Vic’s throat. “Yeah. But the house didn’t make it.”

“Cora Stills?”

Vic squeezed his eyelids shut and rocked on his heels. He didn’t know where to start. Cora Stills. The one person who knew something—anything—about his missing teenage daughter. Liz on her way to arrest her. Instead, Liz, handcuffed to a radiator pipe as flames lathered and stormed through Cora’s house. Cora’s burned-out car found two days later on a crumbling stone dock next to a deserted warehouse, the Allegheny River emptying westward.

Cora, alive and moving through that tomb of darkness outside the window. Free.

“Vic…” Liz said something more but he couldn’t make it out.

He bent closer.

She forced her words from somewhere deep inside, and as she spoke, he knew this was what she saved through all the fear and pain to tell him. “Someone told Cora I was coming.”

***

Excerpt from The Things That Last Forever by Peter W. J. Hayes. Copyright 2020 by Peter W. J. Hayes. Reproduced with permission from Peter W. J. Hayes. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Peter W. J. Hayes

Peter W. J. Hayes worked as a journalist, advertising copywriter and marketing executive before turning to mystery and crime writing. He is the author of the Silver Falchion-nominated Pittsburgh trilogy, a police procedural series, and is a Derringer-nominated author of more than a dozen short stories. His work has appeared in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Pulp Modern and various anthologies, including two Malice Domestic collections and The Best New England Crime Stories. He is also a past nominee for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) Debut Dagger Award.

Peter can be found at:
www.peterwjhayes.com
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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Giveaway!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Peter W.J. Hayes. There will be 4 winners for this giveaway. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and two (2) winners will each receive one (1) physical copy of The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes (US Only). The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through March 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler #memoir #funny





About:

 In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice

My review:

I have had this book on my TBR for awhile and took it off my shelf two days ago . I am glad I did.

Amy Poehler is funny but more importantly candid about her life. She writes about her boys, post-partum depression, marriage, divorce, drug use, sex, SNL, and Parks and Recreation.
She tells of hard work and much appreciation for people who give her a chance. She name drops everywhere!

This is a 3 1/2 star book but I popped it up to 4.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book for my own collections. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle

Friday, January 8, 2021

Review: M.C. Plays Hide & Seek by Eva Grayzel #selfhelp #cancersurvival #kidlit @EvaGrayzel @iReadBookTours.




About the book:

M.C. is a cancer cell who shares just enough information about the nature of the disease to promote dialogue and minimize fear. The scary part of cancer is the unknown. Learn about doctors who look for cancer. Understand feelings children experience and learn ways to cope. Empower children with knowledge and how to make a difference. 

My review:

Cancer is a subject that is hard enough for adults to deal with but with children, it is downright scary. This book is guide that helps children unmask the scary part or at least one would hope so.

The book introduces M. C. a gender neutral character who tells what it does in the body and how hard it is to find it. M.C. shares the different kinds of doctors and what they do to try to find it. M.C. gives basic information and is a conversation starter for feelings for children. It does not go much further than that and gives symptoms or what a patient might look like. Maybe it was not supposed to. Again, it only let's children a glimpse of what it really is.

The only thing I did not like about the book is that M.C. looks pretty much like s green booger from the nose in human form. I am not sure this was the way to go but then, how do you make a cancer cell look like to a child? Hmm?

Otherwise, I liked the photos and illustrative ideas to try to help children and maybe, even an adult too.

Overall, I am giving this book 3 1/2 stars.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. The review here is 100% my own and may differ with your opinions. ~Michelle

Where to find the author:


Eva Grayzel is a motivational speaker, storyteller, and cancer survivor. When her children were five and seven years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. Their fear of losing her was deep, real, and suppressed. When she got a second chance at life, she created the Talk4Hope book series to help children understand cancer and make it less scary.

website ~facebook ~ instagram

Giveaway:

FIND IT HERE