Category Archives: New Books

“Only Child” by Rhiannon Navin

This is the first book written by Rhiannon Navin.  And its one that grips you by the heart right away, and doesn’t let go even after you finish reading and close the book.  In fact, I sat on my couch and cried into my lunch napkin!  And now I think you should read it immediately!

starting a book

Someone is obviously spying on me if they have these photos, but they are accurate!  “Only Child” centers around Zach, a 6-year-old boy whose life is interrupted by a school shooting.  He is stuck in a closet with his teacher and classmates while he listens to gunshots in the hallway.  19 people die that day.  Zach’s life is turned upside down.  He has nightmares, begins to experience anger and expresses it in ways he never has before, yet seeks to become a better person and help the adults in his life find the secrets of happiness and return to a happy and loving life.

There is so much more to this story that I wish I could tell you, but almost anything else I say would be a spoiler, and I just really want you to read this book.  I fell in love with this little boy, he was such a gentle soul, thrown into such strenuous circumstances, is without a strong voice, and is trying to regain himself in all this madness.  His strength of character is amazing, and his capacity for love and forgiveness is such a beautiful example. This book brought me to tears more than once, and I’m thankful I wasn’t reading it at the coffee shop because I probably would have made a scene.  I really hope you get a chance to read this book, feel all the feels, and are encouraged by this character to seek out happiness, forgiveness, to fight for love and to show sympathy.

You can follow the author, Rhiannon Navin, on Facebook here and on Goodreads here.

Only Child

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“The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn

 

Tiffany Haddish is one funny lady, and it’s hard earned humor. I’ve found that a lot of funny people have hard pasts. Humor is their armor and their survival gear. Its how they get through the hard things – if they can find something funny about their situation, their life, if they can find a way to make other people laugh through their story, then it isn’t so bad.

Tiffany has a lot of reasons to try to find humor in her life. Her father left when she was 3, her step-father tried to kill her mother, instead, leaving her a shell of her former self, and a mean, angry shell at that! Her mother vacillated from comatose to bullying and violent, always directed at Tiffany, who had to grow up fast and raise her younger half-siblings. She became a ward of the state and felt as though she was unworthy of love. Many of us have been there.

She’s honest about her poor decision making and bad choices, brutally honest, and it’s not a book for the young or faint of heart. I wouldn’t hand this book to my 14 yr old, or my mother. But I would recommend it to my bad*ss women friends who enjoy humor, and the ones’ who saw “Girl’s Trip”, or have seen Tiffany Haddish on Jimmy Kimmel or watched her comedy shows. She’s real, and her book is like listening to a TV or radio interview – she doesn’t sugar coat her story or try to make the bad parts seem better. She talks about her bad marriage, her crazy relationships, sex, love, abuse, assault, and her brief time as a pimp. Yes, a for real pimp. Her language is as colorful as a sailor’s and she makes no apologies. If this makes you uncomfortable, you probably won’t enjoy her book.

Overall, her story is one of survival, the power of overcoming, and perseverance. She followed her dream and went through really tough things to get there. She didn’t give up, she went through some bumps in the road, some detours, made decisions that might have put her off course, but who hasn’t done that? She may speak a language more blunt and coarse than you, but her story is inspiring.

Many who have gone through the things she has survived have not achieved half of the things Tiffany has, and many of them have not forgiven near as much. I have not been through nearly as much as she has, although I have some things I hold hard in my past, and she has easily forgiven much more than I have managed to forgive. I’m working on it, but she makes it seem so much easier, and she seems much happier for it. While I may not express myself as she does, she has far outgrown me in many areas of her personal life, forgiveness is one thing she’s attained, that many of us have not.

Kudos to her, and her happier, fulfilled life. This book leaves me invested in her future, and wishing her all the best!

You can find a radio interview of Tiffany where she talks about her book and some of the stories in it here.

You can find Tiffany’s Jimmy Kimmel interview here.

Jada Pinket Smith talks about Tiffany Haddish on Jimmy Fallon here.

 

 

 

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Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

Spectacle

 

“Spectacle” is the second book in the Menagerie series, (Find the review of “Menagerie” here) and follows the story of Delilah Marlow, the small town Oklahoma girl who finds herself gone from paying visitor at the infamous Menagerie, to a caged prisoner, expected to perform IN the Menagerie, although she doesn’t remember what happened to put her in this position. She fights the imprisonment, with disastrous results, and when hurting her does not bring about the desired results, the Menagerie handlers begin hurting other cryptid prisoners to force Delilah to revert to the monster that put her in her cage.
“Spectacle” details the journey of the ending of the Menagerie as it had been, and a new dawn for the cryptids held prisoner there. While this does not last, they are given a small taste of what freedom might look like for them and have gained enough self-respect that even those raised in captivity yearn for the feeling, and are dangerous in their pursuit of this right. While the Menagerie seemed like hell on earth, things can almost always get worse, and The Savage Spectacle becomes the cryptids new home, and lower level in the hell they are becoming reaccustomed too. While bars, cages and malnutrition seemed unbearable before, permanent electronic collars that can be used in varying degrees to take away cryptids powers, limit their locational movement, take away their voice, and even paralyze them with the touch of a remote now seem much worse. No sunshine, no wind, no freedom and no bargaining with the handlers. While Delilah was able to give hope to the cryptids while in the Menagerie, and coordinate their efforts, is there any hope when even she is confined by her collar and cannot even speak?
I loved this continuing story, and am so looking forward to the continuation in the third book, “Fury”, out in October, 2018. I’m a big fan of Rachel Caine, if she needs an early reader and/or reviewer, I’m willing to volunteer! 🙂

Fury

For a quick teaser of “Fury”, click here.

 

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Artemis by Andy Weir

Artemis

 

I loved Andy Weir’s first book, “The Martian”, it was more humorous than I expected, and “Artemis” is like that. The main character, “Jazz” (Jasmine Bashara), has lived on the moon in Artemis since she immigrated there with her father from Saudi Arabia when she was six years old. She grew up there, and although she could have been a master welder, and has “so much potential” according to her father, a devout Muslim, she has become a bit of an outlaw. Her official title is Porter, however, she is actually a smuggler, and she uses her job as a porter to deliver smuggled goods that are banned on Artemis. Flammable goods, light drugs, cigars, etc., but she does have standards, no heavy drugs, and no guns! The one law enforcement officer on Artemis, Rudy, has been trying to catch her red-handed for years, and his main goal in life seems to be catching her so he can deport her to Earth/Saudi Arabia. Of course, Jazz wants no part of Earth or gravity sickness, nor any of the things it would take to get her to acclimate to Earth again. She just wants to be rich. She currently lives in what is not so fondly called a coffin, as it is only big enough to sleep in, not to stand up in, she doesn’t have a private bathroom or shower, and she wants to make enough money to get a place she can walk in and have a private bathroom. (without working for her father). In her goal to become rich, she takes a job above her smuggler status and gets in over her head. She can lose her citizenship on Artemis, she’s being chased by Rudy, her father is now in jeopardy, there has been a double murder, and unbelievably, the entire citizenship of Artemis is in danger, and a mob hitman from Brazil is on the moon, in Artemis, and chasing her. Andy Weir does not disappoint with this novel. It is just as good as The Martian, and it would make a fun movie to watch.

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“The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz

TheCrookedStaircase

 

Ok, y’all, this series….this, is awesome. I have loved Dean Koontz’ work for a long time. I believe the first book of his I ever read was “Watchers” – a great blend of a tantalizing plot and just enough scary, then on to “Lightening”, which not only grabbed my by the heartstrings, but made me use the phrase “Mulepuke” for a good 3 months, and quandry paradoxes for quite some time. “Sole Survivor” and “Life Expectancy” are more of my favorites….then I met Jane Hawk. I can’t say Jane knocked out my top 3, but they have definitely expanded my number of top favorites. My family gave me “The Silent Corner” for Christmas, the first in this series, and I devoured it. Sometimes when a book is written about a strong female lead, they must make her almost unhuman to be strong, but in this case, Jane is just a person – a strong person, but a person with weaknesses, a person with a background that gives her an edge over us “normal” everyday people, but she’s so much less powerful than those she fights against. Its a David & Goliath story from the very beginning. In the true Dean Koontz fashion, through “The Silent Corner” and the second book, “The Whispering Room”, people from different places come together in coincidental ways, and lend each other support during Jane’s journey. She must keep herself safe, alive and hidden, protect her son’s location and identity, and those who hide him, protect any who support or assist her, while seeking out the head of the snake while they use seemingly endless resources to track her down. You don’t think of all the ways you can be seen in such a digital age, but Jane has too – and if she doesn’t, or she forgets, for even one split second – someone usually dies. She’s on a mission to prove that her husband’s suicide wasn’t of his own volition, and that many other people in particularly strategic or influential positions haven’t died of natural causes. But will anyone believe her? Does anyone want to believe her? To believe that they can be controlled by such a large high ranking deception by a large group who could potentially control the course of the world? Well, I don’t know yet, because this is an ARC, and it doesn’t finish Jane’s journey – I’ll be waiting with baited breath for the fourth installment, “The Forbidden Door”, and praying that Mr. Koontz will randomly ask me to be a preview reader of this latest gem.

 

(I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Release date May 8, 2018)

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Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of  A Girl and Her Books.  The host for May’s Mailbox Monday posts will be Martha at Martha’s Bookshelf.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Books that came in my mailbox this week:

They Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty from Putnam Books/Amy Einhorn Books – Release date – June 14, 2012

“Ellen O’Farrell might be described as unusual – she’s a hypnotherapist, she’s never met her father, she was raised by her mother and her mother’s two best friends (it was like a lesbian commune, except they were all straight), and she can’t seem to sustain a long-term relationship (okay, that’s more normal than we want to admit).

So when Ellen meets Patrick, a man she likes – who actually seems to like her back – she can’t help feeling optimistic.  But after Patrick tells Ellen he has something he needs to talk to her about, she fears the worst.  So when he tells her his old girlfriend is stalking him, she thinks, Is that all?  Actually that’s kind of interesting.  She’s intrigued.  She’d love to meet this person.

She doesn’t know that she already has.”

Fearless by Eric Blehm from Random House/Waterbrook Press – Release date – May 22, 2012

“When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kish Mountains of Afghanistan – but he was ready: In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he had written, ‘I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.’

But long before Adam Brown became a member of the elite SEAL Team SIX – the counter-terrorism unit that took down Osama bin Laden – there was a fun-loving country boy from Arkansas whose greatest goal had been to wear his high school’s football jersey.  an undersized daredevil, prone to jumping off roofs into trees and off bridges into lakes, Adam was a kid who broke his own bones but would never break a promise to his parents…until he grew older, and his family watched that appetite for risk draw him into a downward spiral that eventually landed him in jail.

The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey from Penguin Group/G. P. Putnam’s Sons – Release date – May 2012

“This book is for you if:

  • You crave adventure (or enjoy a nice game of croquet)
  • You like pirates
  • You don’t like pirates. (A couple of them take a real thumping in this story.)
  • You’ve ever wished your rotten older siblings would disappear in a mysterious accident, then found yourself regretting it when they actually do.
  • You met your best friend when he tried to cave in your skull with a cannonball.
  • You’ve ever fallen in love at first sight…with a person whose father is plotting to kill you.
  • You want a story with humor, high adventure and heart…and sometimes all three on the same page.”

The four books on the top of my Mailbox Monday stack this week are a win from  The Hogarth Press, and included I Am Forbidden, The Kissing List,  The Watch, and The Dead Do Not Improve, along with a book bag.

I  Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits – Release date – May 2012

“An extraordinary novel about the Satmar, the most insular Hasidic sect.  This affecting story of two sisters – one who believes and one who rebels – is profoundly moving and completely absorbing.”

The Kissing List by Stephanie Reents – Release date – May 2012

“Written with sparkling prose, witty dialogue, and unforgettable characters, this inventive debut follows a group of over-educated twentysomethings desperate to find meaning and connection in a world that seems to offer ever-diminishing returns.”

The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya – Release date – June 2012

“The first major novel about the Afghanistan War.  Told from the perspective’s of a wide cast of characters, this powerful and gripping novel authentically re-creates the chaos, intensity, and immediacy of war.”

The Dead Do Not Improve by Jay Caspian Kang – Release date – August 2012

“A fiercely original debut novel – at once hilarious, moody, and inventive – that tears through the streets of San Francisco with a tale of murderous intrigue, hippie detectives, and an MFA student on the run.”

I also got a few e-books this week:

The Remaining by D. J. Molle

“In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: SUBVENIRE REFECTUS.  TO RESCUE AND REBUILD.”

In Deep Voodoo by Stephanie Bond

Start with bad mojo, add a pinprick of revenge, and watch things boil over…
A woman receives a voodoo doll of her lying cheating ex-husband as a gag gift at her divorce party, and vents her frustration by stabbing it with a pin. But later when he’s found stabbed to death, she doesn’t have to be told she’s managed to land herself In deep voodoo!”

Angel Sister by Ann H. Gabhart

“It is 1936 and Kate Merritt, the middle child of Victor and Nadine, works hard to keep her family together. Her father slowly slips into alcoholism and his business suffers during the Great Depression. As her mother tries to come to grips with their situation and her sisters seem to remain blissfully oblivious to it, it is Kate who must shoulder the emotional load. Who could imagine that a dirty, abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong would be just what the Merritts need?”

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

“Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes.

Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well-walls of fear, rejection, unworthiness.

A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith … of pride; a marriage only God would conceive!  Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.”

I Have a Secret by Cheryl Bradsha

“It’s been twenty years since PI Sloane Monroe has returned to her hometown of Tehachapi, California, but when a former classmate is stabbed and tossed overboard during the high school reunion cruise, Sloane isn’t about to allow a murderer to run free in her own backyard. But in a town where everyone is harboring secrets, how many more men will die before she discovers the truth?”

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Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of  A Girl and Her Books.  The host for April’s Mailbox Monday posts will be Cindy from  Cindy’s Love of Books.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Books that came in my mailbox this week:

The Divorce of Henry VIII by Catherine Fletcher from Palgrave Macmillan (won from a ShelfAwareness contest)

“In 1533 the English monarch Henry VIII, married to Catherine of Aragon, fell madly in love with lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn, the future mother of Elizabeth I.  No easy matter, procuring a divorce involved strenuous lobbying of the Pope in the exalted halls of the Vatican.  Henry’s lobbyist-for-hire in Rome was a wily Italian diplomat named Gregorio Casali who drew no limits on skullduggery – including kidnapping, bribery, and theft – to make his king a free man.

Set against the backdrop of a Rome recently sacked by the Spanish army and at the height of the Renaissance, winner of the Rome Fellowship Catherine Fletcher draws on hundreds of previously unknown Italian archival documents to revel the extraordinary true story behind history’s most infamous divorce, which led to the creation of the Church of England and changed the course of history.”

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson from Hachette Book Group (also a win from ShelfAwareness)

“The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future.  Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between.  But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.”

Books I got this week on my Kindle:

Rot & Ruin by Jonathon Maberry

“In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James

I’m sure most of you have heard about these books, as I have, they’ve been all over social media outlets and news stations.  I had avoided them just because they didn’t really sound like my style of book.  Finally a couple of my good friends from college told me they were reading them, so I finally agreed to read them.  I’m refraining from final judgement here, because I’m only 15 chapters through the first book.  So far, I’m not impressed, and in fact, I dislike Christian Grey.  One of my friends has assured me that she felt the same way, but the books got better, so I’ve agreed to continue on with them.  If you have any opinions or thoughts, I’d be interested to hear from you!

What books made it into your home this week?

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