Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TLC Book Tours: The God Daughter

                                                      The God Daughter
                                                          By Melody Campbell

Gina Gallo, can't get away from her connection of the mafia. She works in the family jewelry store, where she is a gemologist.  She tries very hard to hide the connection. But, when a incident happens she has no choice, but to tell her boyfriend, Pete the truth.  This is when the story gets interesting.

The story is a map cap ride, starting at the airport. She takes off her high heels. She is distracted just for a second, and the shoes disappear. You are probably asking what is the big deal about her classy, red shoes.  Well, it is a big deal when her family has hidden jewels in the shoes. 

Someone has taken off with her shoes. When she realizes what happens. She tracks down the person.  The story is a mad cap ride from beginning to end.  It is so funny, I couldn't stop laughing so bad, I would have wet my pants.

Unfortunately, I read God Daughter about a month ago. My memory is a bit fuzzy. But, like I said, I just loved this funny, short tiny novel. This was a fun ride with lots of laughs and adventure and suspense.  If you like chick lit, but even if you don't if you are looking for a book to escape and get away from it all.  To read something different. You will enjoy reading.

Because, this is not my usually kind of book. I wanted to read something different, light hearted and just to escape. Then you will enjoy reading. I hope you writes more novels( novella), about Gina.

Hope you will go to the other book stops at:

Thursday, January 10th:  Literally Jen
Friday, January 11th:  A Novel Toybox
Monday, January 14th:  All Grown Up?
Wednesday, January 16th:  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer – author Q&A
Friday, January 18th:  Books a la Mode – author guest post
Tuesday, January 22nd:  Susan’s Literary Cafe
Wednesday, January 23rd:  The Written World
Thursday, January 24th:  Good Girl Gone Redneck
Monday, January 28th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos - review/guest post
Wednesday, January 30th:  A Book Lover’s Library
Monday, February 4th:  Lesa’s Book Critiques
Tuesday, February 5th:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, February 6th:  TuTu’s Two Cents
Thursday, February 7th:  Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

TLC Book Tour: Unmarked Grave

An Unmarked Grave
By Charles Todd

Bess Crawford is up to her neck in surgeries, illnesses, and death.  She has seen many since working at the front in France during WW1.

When she and another officer come upon a body of a officer. Something doesn't look right to her.  But, she doesn't have the time to investigate further.  She becomes ill with the Spanish Flu.  

 She is recuperating back in England, at her parents home. when she realizes what she witnessed.  The officer that was killed by gunshot was actually a acquaintance of her father.   The officer served in her father's regimen.  

 The officer that accompanied, and witnessed the body with her in the tent  is found dead. Suspossely from suicide.  It doesn't make sense to Bess. Bess, knew him and he would not commit suicide and leave he's wife and child alone.  The talk was, he committed suicide because he was afraid he would succumb to the flu and die. 

Bess realizes the officer that they both found did not die from bullet wound, or disease.  But, was actually murdered, but why?  The officer that committed suicide.  It did not make sense either.  It just did not add up.    Something doesn't seem right. Between the dead officer, and the officer that witnessed the body. 

Then another body, this time a fellow nurse that she worked side by side with.   It just doesn't add up to Bess.  Bess does her own investigative work.

Then the killer is after her father, but WHY?  You will just have to read the rest of the mystery to figure it out yourself. 

My Review:  I haven't read a good mystery or suspense in years.  I am in need of a rest of literary fiction. I decided to try  a mystery.  I am glad I did.  This novel intrigued me, because it is a mystery, and also had a element of historical fiction.   I enjoy reading books that take place in the early 20th century, during WW1.

I thought I had it all figured out, then something else happened.  Unmarked Grave kept my interest the entire time.  The only thing, I need to keep pen and paper by my side to keep things straight. Other than that I enjoyed reading. 

I enjoyed reading the novel. I felt like I was actually in England. Between the battle front of France, and at Bess's family home in England. I just loved reading. I can't wait to read the others.  

I plan to load the rest of the mystery series on my nook.

FYI, if you are interested you can also add a few previous mysteries of the  Charles Todd team to your ereader devices. They are on sale for a reduced price on Amazon and BN.  I am sure you can also find the same on google store.

Charles Todd are a mystery team by mother and son. They both reside in the United States.  You can visit their website here.



Thank you TLC Book Tours for allowing me to review.  You can come to the other book stops listed below:


Tuesday, January 8th: JulzReads
Monday, January 14th: Peppermint Ph.D
Tuesday, January 15th: Speaking of Books
Wednesday, January 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, January 18th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, January 21st: WildmooBooks
Wednesday, January 23rd: Layers of Thought
Thursday, January 24th: Reading to Know
Friday, January 29th: Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, February 6th: Bookworm Meets Bookworm
Thursday, February 7th: Ace and Hoser Blook

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Unbroken: Book Review

By Laura Hilderbrand

Unbroken took me a long while to finally review. I would like to thank the publicist of Random House for a review copy.  But, also for donating a copy for our temple, Temple Emanu-El, silent auction.

 Louis Zamperini is from a close Italian family.  The family for health reasons moved from New York to California.  Since the age of 5, he has challenged family, and authorities.  He would be caught smoking cigarettes, drinking at age 8,  He was untamable, out of control.

But, he's brother Pete was the total opposite. He was trust worthy, with good manners. Where Pete did things but was never caught where Louis was always caught.

Louis, would steal food  from neighbor's windows, damaging property, police were at the Zamperini's door step every day, this was a frequent stop for the police.

He's parent's especially his mother would get other's to snich on her son. She would feed them and his friends would tell her what Louis planned to do.

Louise did not have any ambition, or cared about school.  He was bullied all the time from other kids in school.  
At age 14, his life turned around. He's brother talked to the principle to allow him to race on the track.  From there he's life changed, for the better. 

He was treated differently from the other kids, and the neighbors, and the teachers.  He was respected by he's fellow students.  He was rallied around from the entire town. Instead of hating him, they cheered him on at the track.  He then started racing for the pre-Olympic trials.  The entire town cheered him on at the train station. That is all the town talked about was the upcoming Olympics, and Louis.

Louis went to the Olympic games, and did meet Hitler. He shook his hand.
He did not win the games, but became the youngest competitor.  The next  time Louise was picked for the team.  But before the games were to start the war was raging on.  The games were called off.  t How heart breaking.  All that work and he prepared for the games. How would you feel after all that training, and then told the Olympic games were called off.

After some time he joined the air force. He was stationed at Hawaii.  Many times, he's fellow military friends were shot down, and killed in the Pacific.  There was talk that the Japs, slaughtered, mutilated and tortured fellow Americans.

Then on May 1943, his superiors asked him to volunteer for a mission on the Green Hornet with his friend Allen Phillip, and several others to go on a mission.  When you are told it is volunteer, you don't ask questions.


Unfortunately the Green Hornet was not equipped adequately without supplies, and provisions.   The B-24's should be equipped with a compass, radio, flashlight, knife, scissors, whistle, and radio transmitter.  The plane had none of these items. 

 The tarp should have a sun tarp, blue on one side yellow, on the other.  Blue, is to signal, yellow to wave in distress.The planes parts were borrowed all the time.  The mission was doomed from the start.  The plane went down most of the crew were killed.  The few who survived was Francis McNamara, and Allen Phillips, and Louis Zamperini.

You can't drink salt water because that makes you more dehydrated. The had to hunt for food from a spear.  The food was birds they caught or fish, but it was raw meat.  They did not have anything to cook with.  The sharks were surrounding their raft every day.  The raft kept loosing air.  They kept trying to blow air in the raft. Somehow the raft stayed afloat for that many over 40 days. 

Unfortunately, McNamara died. But before he died he became a hero for Louis and Allen.

They learned to survive because of survival techniques, and Louis being street smart. There was not much food on the raft, the elements of heat, and salt water. 

There was a difference of all three men.  Louise was a survivor, and was resourceful, and determination, and a rebel, and took challenges.  He never gave up.  Allen's background came from he's religious background, and he's faith in g-d. McNamara, unfortunately, gave up and was did not have a strong up bringing.

After the men were out to sea over 43 days, they were spotted. This is what they were afraid of the Japs. At first, they were treated very well.  Then, when Louis came on the worst of the worst, by the name of the " Bird".  He was the worst overseer.  He dehumanized them, they lost their dignity.  He was hot headed, and unpredictable. One minute he was kind, and wanted to be your friend the next, he would whip you, and beat you to a pulp.

It looked like the Bird was after only Louis.  Because he was a famous American, the Bird was after him, every chance he got.  The took revenge after American forces won a victorious battle.  They would kill POW's, whip them, mistreat, and do terrible things to them. 

I could not turn the page as I was reading it was too unimaginable.   The torture was terrible, and I could not imagine human beings doing such terrible things to others.  It was just too inhumane, and unthinkable to anyone that has a heart and soul.

The Japanese wanted to embarrass the U.S. Government. The Japanese would broadcast someone that was alive that the U.S. government reported that the prisoner was dead.  Another instance the POWS were starved. The Red Cross was sending food.  But the Japanese were stealing it, there were fruits and vegetables that they were suppose to be supplying but never received them.  There was a time, that it looked like the Japanese were going to give the food to the POWS. It was a propaganda ploy.   They gave them the food, then took a picture with them receiving the food.  But, then the food was snatched from them. Can you imagine, with them being so hungry.  I cried for them as I was reading.

By the end of WW2 there were 132,000 POWS from the US, Canada, Holland, Australia.  36,000 died, of the 34,648 Americans held by Japan.  12,935 more than 37% died.

When Louis came home he did not want he's family to see how emancipated he was. He stayed on at the VA hospital a bit longer.  Louis finally came home.  But, after he was home for some time.  The family saw that he was suffering from PTSD.  Louise had a hard time coping, and he would drink.  He met Cynthia, she was from a wealthy family. They married and had a child.  But, after a time she could not take it any longer. Louis says she saved him. She enticed him to go to a Billy Graham revival meeting. Once he went, he went home and took all the bottles of liquor and threw it down the drain.  He never looked back.

My Review: I usually summarize the book and give a review without spoilers.  But, this time I could not help myself. Since, I loved Unbroken so much.  I am still thinking about Louis, and WW2. I think most of us, forget about the fighting in the Pacific. I did not know about Louis story.  I did know about the atrocities the Japanese did to us.  The inhumane treatment from the Japanese.

I don't know what was worse, being stranded on a raft or being a captive of the Japanese.  Louis he went from one thing to another in his life.  I am glad he found his life, and was able to forgive.  He is a inspiration to us all.

I read Unbroken, at the end of 2012.  Because if I read it before the end of 2012, I would have picked Unbroken as the best book I have read all year.   I picked up Unbroken two or three times, and not enjoying it at all.  It could have been my mind set at the time.  

 This time I did enjoy it, it did take a bit to get immersed in the story about page 100. But after I past that, I totally liked reading. This is a hard story to read, but it is a important part of history.  I recommend Unbroken to most everyone .   If you liked Seabiscuit, the author's other novel, you will like reading, Unbroken.  The title fits very well with Louis.

Our book club will be discussing it next week.  I will be posting our discussion then.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Best Book Pix of 2012


          First, I would like to tell you what draws me to a book first, I hate to say is the book cover.  I  
          judge a book by it's cover, thanks to the illustration and publicity departments. There are many
          out there. My favorite is,  Night Circus.

        There are so many different books how do you judge which one was your favorite. Just like the movies.  They are so unique and different and have good and bad merits.  It is hard to judge which one is the best. But, this year I am able to tell which one is my favorites.  Some are suspense, literary, historical( my favorite genre), memoir.  I am not going to classify, just tell you my favorites are in bold print.  But my one time favorite has to be drum roll please.  Is Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.      
  historical( my favorite genre), memoir.  I am not going to classify, just tell you my favorites are in bold print.  But my one time favorite has to be drum roll please.  Is Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.  
Other favorite historical mystery is Attica Locke's Cutting Season.
Favorite Jewish read is a toss up and a tie between  Jami Attenberg's Middlesteins, and Joshua Henkin's, World Without You.

 Favorite Book Club pick was another toss up between,  Paris Wife by Paula McLain, and Little Bee by Chris Cleave. But, one more Story of Beautiful Girl.  The three are great for book club discussion and lots to talk about.

  Suspense novel, with social justice was Walk in the Sun by Corban Addison.
My fun summer reads was Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple and the other a surprise debut author, Liza Klaussman's Tigers in Red Weather.  Tigers is a sort of Literary mystery with lots of twists and turns.  Non fiction is  Train in Winter and Killing Lincoln.   
The book that had the biggest impact with me is the novel, Cutting Season.  I never thought about how a African American heritage looks at things with distate in this country before. Until you read Cutting Season.. How would you feel going to the plantations of the south? When a Afro- American's perspective.  The novel opened my eyes. 
The book I savored and waited to read had to be Paris Wife. I absolutely loved it, and savored the scene.  The author knows how to play with words, and her prose was beautiful. My favorite scene was the literary circle of friends of Ernest Hemingway in Paris at Shakespeare and Co.  I just loved it.  Or when his wife had to tell him she lost all his manuscripts on the train.  The anticipation of him loosing his cool never came. 

The shortest book to read this year was the God Daughter.  It was a short and sweet novel.  A good book to get away from it all, and just have fun with it.  The longest novel is Flowers in the Blood.
My favorite relationship in a novel again, was Paris Wife.  I could see Hadley and Hemingways going at it, hot and heavy.

There is not any books that I read from someone's recommendation this year.  Most of the books came from publishers. But, next year I have a few I will read from a recommendation of friends.
My favorite review that I blogged about was Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. There was lot of things to talk about on my book blog.

The book that I am highly anticipating and have waited for two years to read, was and is Unbroken.  I set the goal, and did it. I finished it today, January 2nd.  It gave me a lift, and the new year came in with a bang.  I makes your day, when you are reading a good book and lifts your spirit
There are a few books I would like to get to read for 2012 it has been sitting there for a couple of years, hopefully I will get to it, is Lace Reader. I would like to get to Margaret Atwood, we'll see if I get to it.   I did that with Bean Tree it took me ten years to read, and finally got to it.   I love to blog about books that have been out there for years.
I am going to add a few other things:
Favorite discussable book for a book club are Paris Wife and Forgotten Garden.  There is just so much to talk about.

My favorite book club discussion was Paris Wife with Professor Campbell.  He was awesome.  You can read about him and our discussion here.  The other favorite was Dovekeeper, we learned so much about that time period.  The Dovekeeper peeked my interest for our next community read, Rav Hisda's Daughter. The topic of magic, woman, mystic, Talmud, and amulets.  Rabbi Debbie will be speaking.

The two books I would like to get to for 2013 is Sutton, Chaperone, and When She Woke  by Hilary Jordan, and Brain on Fire.

The one novel I am anticipating to read is,
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. It will be published this month. I was lucky enough to receive the review copy a couple of weeks ago.  I have her other two novels, Remarkable Creatures, The Girl with the Pearl Earring.
I love fiction that is rich in character, and rich in history. Here is the article on NPR
I would like to try and get back to read mysteries and suspense for a change.   I have not read those in years, but it is time for a change.  All I have been reading is depressing books without a solution.  I need a change.  I have never read David Baldacci and Jeff Archer.  I am going to try if school doesn't get in the way.  But, I do have many authors that I still have to read that were sent to me.