The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up InThe House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Hoarding, suicide, family secrets this one has it all and a little bit more.

The Bird family has so many secrets that no one can know about and one of the largest is that Mama Bird is a full-blown hoarder complete with newspaper paths. There is one tiny area that contains a recliner where she sleeps, eats, lives, and corresponds with an online lover. But what does all this clutter really cover up? And why is Rhys’ room just as he left it when he killed himself? This is a fantastic book about a family creating it’s own tragedy in their own very special way. The last paragraph will leave you gasping as this book ends exactly the way it should!

Well worth the read!

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Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

VirginVirgin by Radhika Sanghani

Twenty something virgin trying to lose her V card.

V as in virginity.

Fun, lighthearted book that I probably was not the target audience for. But as I will read the occasional book that is out of genre such as Western, I’ll also read anything that looks to be interesting. Radhika Sanghani’s book has some definite laugh out loud moments and others that are cringe worthy compelling. In the end she gets exactly what she’s looking for and what she’s been trying to avoid.

Virgin was provided by Berkley Publishing Group on NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.

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The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

Serial killing…it runs in the blood.

This review is hard to write as everything I start to say gives away part of the plot.

What I can say is that this is one of those books that I didn’t want to put down.  You’ve got a douchey annoying protagonist with a temper and a generally bad personality.  You’ve got Matt’s hunky best friend to add romantic interest with Matt’s girlfriend Sam.  Then you have one of the creepiest characters I’ve met in a long time and that would be Edward Shank, Matt’s grandfather.  It’s a great read that you will be sorry to see finish.

The Butcher was provided by Simon and Schuster on NetGalley for an unbiased review.

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Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

Examination of reverse slavery in fictional modern day America.

Mr. Smith can write a good story.  The action is fast paced if sometimes a little implausible, i.e. almost everyone seems to be smoking hot which is OK for the fantasy factor in a book.  The basic story is Martin Grey, civil rights lawyer, beats notorious lawyer Damon Darrel in a hotly contested trial.

This sets up the book for Damon to befriend Martin and eventually initiate him into the manor at Forty Acres, a place of reverse slavery where black men are the masters and whites are the slaves.  This is a great setup that allows the book to progress.

Yes there are some inconsistencies but a little suspension of disbelief about how Martin is able to come out on top without being killed and you’ve got a great read.

The ending will make you realize you’ve forgotten to breathe for a few minutes.

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A Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride

Unrelenting, unapologetic violence set against a backdrop of rural meth and country justice.

A Swollen Red Sun details what happens when the law finds $50,000 in cash in a cat s*** filled litter box. This story is tightly written and incredibly well crafted. It also reminds one why you never, never, ever want to get caught up in a world where you are the hunter and the hunted.

Excellent sub-plots about maladjusted “love” put this at the top of my favorite summer reads for 2014.


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Full Contact: The Collection by Daniel Kucan

Daniel Kucan is a master story teller.  He has taken a violent world and filled it with poetry, nuance, and style.  The story follow’s Zach, a MMA champion, not only as he goes from place to place but also as he navigates the interior of your heart and haunts your psyche.  The stories are brutal and yet touching.  Cold and filled with heat.  Heartless and full of joy and love.  I laughed and at times I must have gotten a little dust in my eyes as I found them watering up.  I read this book over a month ago and I’m finding that I still think about it from time to time.  No matter what genre you usually read, I would highly recommend this book.

I received this book for an impartial review from the author.

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The Power of No by James and Claudia Altucher

ARC from Net Galley for a non-biased review.

Before you start reading this book make sure you learn to use the highlight and note function on your e-reader.  Or if you have a physical copy go to your local office supply store and see if they have gallon buckets of high-lighter.  I swear my Kindle glowed a little brighter when I was reading this insightful manifesto.

In a yes, yes world we are reminded of the power of no and how much we can accomplish when we learn to embrace no.  This is one of those books that I will read again and again.

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Full-Blood Half-Breed by Cleve Lamison

Maligned, rebel, fighting genius engages with the establishment for a one time smack down which ends up being the catalyst for all out war.

I received this book from NetGalley for an impartial review.

Wow, I hate to give a thumbs down on a book I received for free…BUT this one just didn’t do it for me. The initial promise of blended martial arts being used against the evil traditionalists was promising. Unfortunately it went down hill from there. The names of the characters and the various cults were contrived. The scenes and character building was shallow, relying more on telling than showing. The special power of what I started calling the “stoner look” which was used for mind control by the zealots was a little deus ex machina-ish. Those are the acceptable things. What I really didn’t like was that the characters often weren’t true to themselves…when they were they became very one dimensional. Some folk may like it – not me.


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Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock

Gun control or not to gun control?

When Barkley stops bathing, starts hearing voices, and buys a gun you can be pretty sure that the summer by the shore is going to be explosive.

When Matt, who’s senator father wants him to be a great kid, as long he’s able to campaign and not embarrass his politically power drunk mom, wants to buy prescription drugs from Barkley to get him through a soccer injury, you can guess this summer is shot.

When Claire’s mom has a stroke and her father becomes physically and emotionally unavailable, Claire has to assume responsibility for the household and her sister.   Claire starts getting email from an online stranger who “LOVES” her poetry blog.  She’s so excited to meet him face-to-face, but you guessed it, this summer is going to end with a bang.

It all culminates in an angsty teen drama that will keep you tapping your thumb on your Kindle for just one more page.

The characters are well drawn and the interactions between them are dead on.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley with no provision for a good or bad review.

Simultaneously published on Goodreads

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January 19, 2014 · 12:50 pm

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

This was a really well written book which I didn’t like or maybe I did.  I think I tend to agree with much of what Cathy writes here.

But in the same breath it was well written and as another reviewer wrote we all deal with grief in our own way.

What do you think?

Simultaneously published on Goodreads

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