Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks


I read the ebook edition of Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks in August of this year. Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks is a mystery novella approximately 106 pages in length. It's also the first book in the Moonshine Hollow series.

I was able to download Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon's website.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks.

Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks is a fun, fast read. One I enjoyed reading during the summer to pass the time. I'm not sure if I'll continue reading this series or not though.

The following is a plot summary for Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks from Amazon:
Zoey Mathers had everything going for her until one night she lost her biggest client, her job, and her reputation. Leaving her life up to fate, Zoey closed her eyes and pointed. She would serve out her career exile in the small mountain town of Moonshine Hollow where moonshine flowed as freely as a mountain stream.
Giving up the law to become a baker in Moonshine Hollow turned out to be the best thing Zoey had ever done. She was happy and enjoying life in her new small town. But Zoey should have learned the first time . . . one night can change your whole life.
After unknowingly crashing a battle between witches, Zoey accidentally becomes a witch herself. That’s all before Zoey stumbles over a murder victim and the town’s sheriff becomes involved. Now she’s trying to find a murderer, stop two old witches from playing matchmaker, and learning she’s way more than a mere accidental witch.
And that’s all before fate turns up one more sexy hunk of a twist.
I'm giving Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner

Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner made for an interesting read. Take two women writers, Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner, who've captured what it what it might be like to converse with famous, deceased woman writers (come back to life ever so briefly) over their favorite beverage of choice in unique locals. 

Good storytelling and writing by the authors. Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner is a short read at approximately 102 pages. This novella is perfect for anyone who has every tried envisioning what it might be like to have a brief interaction with a female author from the past.

Below is the plot summary for Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner from Amazon:
Essays on drinking with Dorothy Parker, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Erma Bombeck, The Bronte Sisters, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Margaret Mead, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mitchell, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Sylvia Plath, Ayn Rand and Virginia Woolf.
Facts about Dead Women Writers: 
Most early female writers used pen names because women weren't regarded as competent writers.
Margaret Mitchell wrote only one published novel in her lifetime, but Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and sold more than 30 million copies.
Emily Dickinson was so paranoid that she only spoke to people from behind a door.
Carson McCullers wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter at age 22. Her husband wanted them to commit suicide in the French countryside, but she refused.
Ambrose and Turner explore these and other intriguing facts about the most famous (but departed) women in literary history.
I am giving Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters and narrated by Erin Moon. 

Listening time for Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters is 5 hours, 4 minutes.

Innocent In Las Vegas is the 1st novel in the Tiffany Black Mysteries series. I felt like the main character, Tiffany Black, is like a Stephanie Plum knockoff from Janet Evanovich's novels... Tiffany has a grandma that lives with her parents and her grandma reminds me of Plum's Grandma Mazur. Tiffany Black also has an associate that reminds me too much of Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series. And, Tiffany Black is also in the process of becoming a private investigator.

As far as Innocent In Las Vegas goes, it is a light and fun read... I even laughed during certain scenes, but overall it was a flop in the end. The way in which the main character solved the murder was unrealistic. It seemed like she solved the murder without much substantial evidence from her investigating. Additionally, it also felt unrealistic that an unlicensed investigator could solve a murder almost entirely on her own. Especially when the police were all over this high profile murder case to begin with. Like how could the police not discover what Tiffany found and use it to solve the case themselves?
Below is the plot summary for Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters from Amazon:
A Cupcakes-and-Crime Caper
"I tell myself every day that I don't hate my job... But there's a reason I'm trying to leave the madness of the casino pit to become a Private Investigator."
"Winters will have you giggling into your book!"
Cupcake-loving croupier Tiffany Black is determined to leave her job at the casino for good. She's one small step away from acquiring her private investigator license and has her eye on the prize.
Accepting her first real case - investigating the murder of casino-mogul Ethan Becker - should be exciting. Instead, things spiral out of control, and Tiffany finds herself in over her head as she confronts secretive suspects, corrupt casino henchmen, and a bodyguard with a mysterious past.
Tiffany's poker-hustling Nanna and pushy parents want her to find a nice man and settle down, but Tiffany just wants to track down the real murderer before he finds her first....
I am giving Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. It's a mystery novel that is the 1st in the Spookie Town Murder Mysteries.

Listening time for Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith is 7 hours, 56 minutes.

I enjoyed Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. It contains good writing, good characters, a good storyline, and it takes awhile to figure out whodunnit!

Below is the plot summary for Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith from Audible:
Abigail Sutton's beloved husband walks out one night, doesn't return, and two years later is found dead, a victim of a long ago crime. It's made her sympathetic to the missing and their families.
Starting her new life, Abigail moves to small town and buys a fixer-upper house left empty when old Edna Summers died. Once it was also home to Edna's younger sister, Emily, and her two children, Jenny and Christopher, who, people believe, drove away one night, thirty years ago, and just never came back.
But in renovating the house Abigail finds scraps of paper hidden behind baseboards and tucked beneath the porch that hint the three could have been victims of foul play.

Then she finds their graves hidden in the woods behind the house and with the help of eccentric townspeople and ex-homicide detective, Frank Lester, she discovers the three were murdered. Then she and Frank try to uncover who killed them and why...but in the process awaken the ire of the murderer.
I am giving Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith


I read the ebook edition of Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith a few months ago in August. Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith is approximately 63 pages in length and falls into the horror genre.

I was able to download Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith.

I liked the overall premise for Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith, but I didn't like the ending. The overall story line and characters were okay and so was the writing in my opinion.

The following is a plot summary for Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith from Amazon:
Matthew Macrae has been tending to the lighthouses of Pentland Firth, in northern Scotland, for over thirty years. His son, Rowan, will follow in his footsteps, just like Matthew followed in the footsteps of his father before him. Soon, Matthew will have to share with Rowan the dark secret that their family keeps.
The lighthouses must always shine at night because their light does much more than guide ships safely in…it also keeps a terrible evil out. 
When the storm of the century puts the lighthouses in danger, Rowan finds himself following in his father’s footsteps sooner than he thought, where he’ll come face to face with the greatest fear he’s ever known.
I am giving Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch


Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch is a book that has been in my 'to be read pile' for well over 5.5 years! 

In an effort to read some of my older books waiting to be read, I chose to listen to the unabridged audio version of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch and narrated by Coleen Marlo this fall... And I am so glad that I read this nonfiction book as I enjoy memoirs and reading about other peoples journeys of healing through reading books!

Below is the summary for Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch from Amazon:
“Nina Sankovitch has crafted a dazzling memoir that reminds us of the most primal function of literature-to heal, to nurture and to connect us to our truest selves." —Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us

Catalyzed by the loss of her sister, a mother of four spends one year savoring a great book every day, from Thomas Pynchon to Nora Ephron and beyond. In the tradition of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and Joan Dideon’s A Year of Magical Thinking, Nina Sankovitch’s soul-baring and literary-minded memoir is a chronicle of loss, hope, and redemption. Nina ultimately turns to reading as therapy and through her journey illuminates the power of books to help us reclaim our lives.
I'm giving Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight


I live in San Francisco's East Bay, so reading books set in San Francisco can be a delight! Additionally, I like contemporary romance novellas with happy endings set around the Christmas and/or New Year holidays. 

So with this in mind, I found myself drawn to the ebook edition of San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight as it has the criteria I listed above. 

San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight is a contemporary romance novella approximately 117 pages in length.

I was able to download San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight.

Initially, the start of San Francisco Serenade had me wondering if I was actually going to enjoy this novella at all. But once it hit its stride, I found myself laughing in parts and smiling in others. Overall, I loved this holiday themed, contemporary romance novella set in San Francisco with a predictable happy ending. The characters are fun and well developed. I enjoyed the storyline. The writing is pretty good; although some minor editing work is needed. This novella is a holiday hit with me!

The following is a plot summary for San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight from Amazon:
Romance sparks unexpectedly when two lonely people cross paths in a posh San Francisco hotel over the Christmas holiday.
Sabrina Parsens is a best-selling author attempting to erase her last holiday memory with an ex, and Vance Gale is a retired rock star who only wants to remain on the fringe of the festivities. When their common association of fame brings them together, they discover a bond of friendship that quickly catches fire. But will it be enough to heal old wounds and cross the barriers they both fight so hard to protect?

Author Ginger Voight brings you holiday romance with a Christmas novella about star-crossed lovers who discover the magic of the holiday together
I am giving San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez



This time of the year it is fun to read holiday themed reads. So, I decided to read the ebook edition of The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez, which is a Christmas themed short story that is approximately 50 pages in length.

I was able to download The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez.

This is the first time I've read anything by author, Melissa Bourbon Ramirez. Her writing is engaging, funny, and good. I was impressed with this short story until its ending, which ended very abruptly in my opinion! The ending wasn't so much a cliffhanger ending... The ending just left many unanswered questions that could have been resolved/wrapped up by adding a few more details about the characters and the situation that lead up to the event that happened in The Lola Cruz Christmas Story.

Despite the abrupt ending to The Lola Cruz Christmas StoryI'd be willing to give Melissa Bourbon Ramirez another chance by reading one of her full length novels in the future as I thought her writing overall was good... It's just a matter of finding the time to do so with all of my other books to read!

The following is a plot summary for The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez from Amazon:
The Lola Cruz Christmas Story is a short, holiday prequel to Living the Vida Lola. Lola is summoned by a woman from her past and becomes part of her own Christmas story as she leads Margo Callaghan to safety
I am giving The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Light Parade by Shelley Coriell


Light Parade by Shelley Coriell is a holiday, mystery short story that is approximately 45 pages in length. I like mysteries and I also enjoy holiday themed reads, so Light Parade by Shelley Coriell fit the bill for me.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell.

I liked reading Light Parade by Shelley Coriell. I thought it was a good short story. The writing is done well. The characters and plot were good overall. The ending of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell was a little weak, but otherwise it was a good read. 

So if you like reading holiday reads this time of year, go ahead and give Light Parade by Shelley Coriell a try.

The following is a plot summary for Light Parade by Shelley Coriell from Amazon:
Detective Lottie King battles the clock and an unexpected Big Bad as she joins Colorado Springs Police in a race to find a bomb planted at a Christmas light parade where her Girl Power troop is marching. A Detective Lottie King Holiday Short Story that first appeared in New Shoes: Detective Lottie King Mysteries, Vol 2. Includes BONUS holiday recipes.
I am giving Light Parade by Shelley Coriell a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala



I do not recall how I discovered Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala, but this coming of age novel landed on my reading wishlist. I purchased a used copy of Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala and read it in November of this year.

I'm so thrilled that I read Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala. It is a children's coming of age story and I found it to be a magical read for me. I love the author's writing and storytelling. The characters are fun and interesting. The best part for me about reading Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala was the main character, 12 year old Talia. We see Talia let go of a recent painful event (her mother's death due to cancer) and learn to open up to second chances with the help of others during her summer stay in Churchill, Canada.

Below is a summary for Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala from Amazon:
A novel about one girl’s journey to the arctic, where she discovers the power of letting go of pain and opening up to second chances.
When twelve-year-old Talia—still reeling from the recent death of her mother—is forced to travel with her emotionally and physically distant whale-researcher father to the Arctic for the summer, she begins to wonder if the broken pieces inside of her will ever begin to heal. Like her jar of wishes, Talia feels bottled up and torn. Everything about life in Churchill feels foreign, including Sura, the traditional Inuit woman whom Talia must live with. But when Sura exposes her to the tradition of storytelling, she unlocks something within Talia that has long since been buried: her ability to hope, to believe again in making wishes come true.
A rich and poignant story about opening up—to new people, to second chances, to moving forward with life.
I am giving Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark


As an adult, I've always been somewhat curious about a few divination techniques. My primary interest has mainly been with Tarot, Cartomancy, and Lenormand readings. So, when I recently came across Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark, I decided to read it.

Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark is a short, fast read at 72 pages in length. It's a great book for beginners new to cartomancy and want a basic guidebook that includes the history of cartomancy, the meaning of each individual card, and how to do several 52 or 32 card spread readings.

Below is the summary for Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark from Amazon:
If you’re curious about the art of playing card divination, all you need is a deck of normal playing cards and the information in this short taster guide. We have included a variety of examples in the Spreads sections, ranging from simple yes/no readings to full tarot style spreads that allow you to unravel knotty problems or forecast the week or year ahead. You will find a selection of the most common card meanings in the Interpretations chapter, as well as tips to combine cards and interpret patterns to find deeper nuance and spark your intuition. The basic skills provided should give you a useful foundation if you want to progress in your divination studies or simply amaze your friends and family with your uncanny fortune-telling ability!
I am giving Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Karma Cards by Monte Farber


I am enjoying the Karma Cards by Monte FarberKarma Cards by Monte Farber includes 36 planet, sign, and house cards plus a 96 page guidebook.

I love the book! It's short and to the point on how use the karma card deck... Plus, gives further details about astrology in general for those that want to know more about the twelve astrological signs, the planets, and various houses associated with astrology.

As far as the karma cards go, they are a nice size, rectangular-shaped card printed on nice card stock. There are 12 each of the planet, sign, and house cards.  

The karma cards are mainly used to ask the outcome of a particular situation or the action one needs to take in a given situation depending on what the querant wants to know. Additionally, one can obtain the answer to what action one can take in a situation and its outcome. 

Each karma card contains the answers to the outcome and/or action steps one should take written on the face of each card, which I like immensely... This way I don't have to look up the answers in the book that comes with this card deck or memorize the answers for each card.

Below is a summary for Karma Cards by Monte Farber from Barnes & Noble:
Find out what your future holds with this brand-new edition of the hugely popular Karma Cards oracle deck!Want to know about your love life? Career prospects? Finances? The answer to every question lies in these amazing cards, created by astrologer Monte Farber and already embraced by hundreds of thousands of seekers. How do they work? Shuffle the Karma Cards; lay a Planet, Sign, and House card side by side; and read across the red or blue panels. Every response features three levels of information: spiritual, mental, and physical. They can guide you through everyday decision-making, and even more important, help you contact and communicate wisely with your “Higher Self”—that part of our being that actually chooses to undergo certain experiences in order to explore our full potential. Accompanying the 36 full-color cards is a 96-page instruction book with advice on centering yourself, visualizing the situation that concerns you, phrasing your query, and more.
I'm giving Karma Cards by Monte Farber a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Bookish Quote of the Day!!


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka


I had the paperback edition of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka in my 'to be read' pile for roughly 7.5 years before I finally read this novel last month. I don't remember how I first came across this novel, but the title certainly captured my attention. The storyline sounded interesting, so I decided to read A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is the first novel written by British author, Marina Lewycka. I learned from Wikipedia that A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian has won or been nominated for the following awards:
The novel won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at the Hay literary festival, the Waverton Good Read Award 2005/6, and was short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, losing to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin. Over a million copies have been sold in the UK.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian started off really well! I felt captivated by the story, the writing, the humor, and the characters. Things seemed to grow a bit stagnant for me about a third of the way into this novel as the storyline didn't seem to be progressing and felt stuck in a rut before picking up again at about the halfway mark. 

There were many different aspects in this novel that made for interesting reading. Take two estranged sisters, Vera and Nadezhda, that reconnect in an effort to protect/save their elderly, widowed father from a young, sexy, gold digging woman after their father's money and also for her chance to become a British citizen though marriage for both herself and her son. 

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka also touches upon life in Ukraine during the cold war for not only Vera and Nadezhda's parents, but also for Vera as well. Nadezhda is not born until after the family leaves Ukraine. The immigration experience is touched upon as well in this novel.

Dysfunctional family life, family idiosyncrasies, and family secrets also seem to be themes within A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian as well.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka is definitely a multilayered novel. There's so much more going on within its pages than I've shared within my review. I almost wish that I had a book group to discuss this book with other readers.

Below is the plot summary for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka from Goodreads:
"In this comic first novel, two estranged sisters living in England discover that their addled elderly father, a Ukrainian war refugee and expert on tractors, is planning to marry a young, enormous-breasted woman who sees his modest pension as her ticket to capitalist comfort. The sisters put aside their differences, and embark on a spirited campaign to save him from boil-in-the-bag dinners, slovenly housekeeping, and such extravagant purchases as a broken-down Rolls-Royce. In the midst of these machinations—which include long-winded letters to solicitors, venomous gossip, and all-out spying—Lewycka stealthily reveals how the depredations of the past century dictate what a family can bear."
I am giving A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!