Angels Burning by: Tawni O’Dell

Angels Burning

From Gallery Books press release:

From Tawni O’Dell, author of the New York Times bestselling novel and Oprah Book Club selection Back Roads, comes ANGELS BURNING (Gallery Books; January 5, 2016; Trade Paperback Original; $16.00), a fast-paced literary thriller about a small town police chief who is forced to dig into her own shadowy past as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl.

When a girl’s body is found in a  fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Chief Dove Carnahan—a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years—is faced with solving the worst crime of her career. Dove identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notorious dynasty of redneck irascibility and petty criminals.  But when the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison—still proclaiming his innocence—his startling accusation will force Dove to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.

With countless accolades to her credit, Tawni O’Dell writes with the “fearless insights” (New York Times Book Review) she brought to the page in Back Roads and One of Us.  In this masterfully told psychological thriller, the past and present collide to reveal the extent some will go to escape their fate, and in turn, the crimes committed to push them back to where they began.

My Review:

The description of this story had me intrigued so I accepted this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I had never heard of Tawni O’Dell and I saw that her previous novel was selected as an Oprah Book Club pick.  I really did not know what to expect from this story other than it was marketed as a mystery.

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this book.  I don’t know if it was the writing style or the storyline, but I kept reading this book in hopes that it would get better.  I had invested my time to reading over 150 pages and I did want to see how it wrapped up, so I did not DNF it.  Had it not been a mystery, I probably would’ve put it down.

It has good reviews on Goodreads, so maybe this book just wasn’t for me.  If the storyline sounds like something you would be interested in, then give it a chance.  I have found that for the most part, I do not agree with Oprah’s Book Club selections so maybe it is just my preference of writing styles.

I gave this book 2 crowns.

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The Supreme Macaroni Company by: Adriana Trigiani

The Supreme Macaroni Company

I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a dinner and talk with Adriana Trigiani when this book was released in November of 2013.  Yes, I know, we are finishing up 2015 and I am just now reading it.  Let’s just chalk it up to life.  I absolutely love Adriana’s work and she is a very sincere, funny lady.

This is the 3rd book in the Valentine series and I have read and love them all.  I picked up this book the day after Christmas and within a day I was finished.  I could not put this book down.  I can’t remember the last time that a book has made me laugh out loud (to the point where my husband was trying to figure out if I was ok or not because I was laughing to myself while sitting next to him) and cry real tears.

I can not give away the storyline line because it is the 3rd book in the series but it does involve the same characters of a crazy Italian family.  One of my favorite scenes happens within the first few chapters.  The Italian family’s Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve.  The loud-mouth craziness that ensues during this dinner, had me thankful that it wasn’t just my family that has these issues!

Adriana has a talent for writing books that immediately draw you in and take you to wherever she wants her story to take you.  I can picture every detail in my head and that is the mark of a true storyteller.   I urge you to pick up this series if you haven’t done so already.

I gave this book 5 crowns.  I wish I could give it more!

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Lock & Mori by: Heather W. Petty

Lock & Mori

Confession:  I don’t think I ever read the real Sherlock Holmes stories and if I did, it was one and a very long time ago.  I do however, love to watch Elementary on CBS and have since it first aired in 2012.  So when this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, I was thrilled.

This is a YA take on Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty.  This story has it’s own mystery that Lock & Mori try to solve.  I liked the relationship between Lock & Mori although some reviewers disliked it because they felt like it was a case of “insta-love”.

I am going to go off on a bit of a tangent here and say that I don’t mind “insta-love” when it is done correctly.  I am a believer in love at first sight in real life and when it is done in books, as long as their are other aspects to the relationship, I don’t mind it.

Lock & Mori connected in a way that Mori needed to connect.  She is a young girl with responsibilities way beyond what she should have.  Lock provides a sense of security and a bit of reason.  I did enjoy this book and would pick up the next installment when it is released.

I gave this 4 crowns.

4_crowns

Winter Street by: Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Street

I received this book when I went to BookCon this year.  I was still in the mood for a winter read and grabbed this off my shelf.  It was perfect timing too, because each section was divided into days starting with Dec. 23rd and ending with Christmas Day (exactly when I was reading this book).

Kelley Quinn is the owner of the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket Island.  Every year, with his second wife, they host a Christmas party that is the event of the year!  This year, so many different things occur that the party may not happen.

I will not put spoilers into my review so this may seem lacking in detail.  Generally speaking, this book is about family, sacrifice, support and love.  I absolutely loved this book and am ready to pick up the next in the series because this does leave off with a cliff hanger.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

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The Gift by: Cecelia Ahern

The Gift

I am not usually a seasonal reader, however this year I was in the mood to read some books that took place during the Christmas season.  I purchased this book and read it almost immediately.  I love Cecelia Ahern but haven’t read all of her books.  I had a feeling that this would be a tear jerker and I was correct.

Lou Suffern is your typical workaholic that spends more time with his work family then he does with his own family.  One day, he takes notice of a seemingly homeless man that sits outside his office building and can’t get him out of his mind.  As he “befriends” Gabe, things in his life become more complicated.  Gabe seems to have the ability to move about extremely quickly and be in multiple places at once.  This is Lou’s dream.  Will he be able to fulfill that dream with Gabe’s help?  Will Lou decide that his family is worth more to him than his job?

I loved this book and gave it  crowns.

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Cookbook Review: Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 For Every Season

5 in 5

About Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 for Every Season -from Penguin Randomhouse

5 fresh ingredients + 5 minutes of heat = 165 recipes
 
Ridiculously easy from-scratch recipes to get you in and out of the kitchen in a flash every day of the week—now with sides and holiday dishes, too

The follow-up to the bestselling Michael Symon’s 5 in 5, this new book delivers 165 quick, easy, fresh recipes organized by season with an entire section devoted to making the holidays simpler than ever. Each chapter features inspired main courses as well as recipes for sides and 5 fun ways to celebrate the season, including no-bake summer fruit desserts and spiked drinks to warm up with in winter.

About the Author- from Penguin Randomhouse

MICHAEL SYMON is an Iron Chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and a James Beard Award Winner. He is the chef and co-owner of the acclaimed restaurants Lola and Lolita, located in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as Roast, in Detroit, Michigan.

My Review:

I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Michael Symon a few years ago and he is one of the nicest, most down to earth people I’ve met.  When I had the opportunity to get his latest cookbook and review it, I jumped at the chance.

This book is divided into sections by the seasons.  Chef Symon’s reasoning behind this is so that we will use the freshest of the produce available in each season and by doing so the flavors of our meals will be enhanced exponentially.

I love it when a cookbook introduces a recipe with a short paragraph either describing the dish or providing a quick companion story to that particular dish.  At the start of each season in this book, Chef Symon gives a brief commentary about that season and what it means to him.

Each recipe in this book is easy to follow and no more than a page in length.  The steps to follow are not long winded, making this cookbook useful for even the busiest of weeknights.  I can’t wait to get started.  I give this cookbook 5 crowns.

5_crowns

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double Down by: Gabra Zackman

Double Down

The 3rd installment of The Bod Squad is being released on January 11, 2016.  I was thrilled to be asked to read and review the newest title in this series.  I love this series for many reasons and its’ badass female characters definitely do not disappoint.  I am a fan of mystery books and I like some romance in my books as well.  The Bod Squad, it just the perfect combination of all of these.  Gabra does go a bit into the details of the romantic scenes, but they are not the entire premise of the book.

After a coded message appears in the sky in the middle of a wedding ceremony, the team sets out on a dangerous mission to revenge the death of one of their own.  Traveling to other countries and searching for clues, the team members are determined to rectify their current situation.  Each of the books so far, focuses on the love life of two different people.  All team members are included in each book, but the focus does shift.  I enjoy learning more about each member and their skill set.

I give this book 4 crowns.

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Bloodmoon (Cover Reveal) #bloodmarksaga by: Aurora Whittet

AuroraWhittet_Headshot_2015

This gorgeous redhead has done it again.  This is Aurora Whittet.

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired child in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Today, she has completed her first trilogy with the Bloodmark Saga. She is a national award-winning graphic designer in her day job. Aurora lives with her family in Minnesota.

I am pleased to help her reveal her cover in the conclusion of the Bloodmark Saga: Bloodmoon.

And here it is:

Bloodmoon_Cover

Aurora’s cover designs are always stunning in their simplicity and intriguing in their symbolism.

Synopsis of Bloodmoon:

Just months shy of her claiming at Carrowmore and fulfilling a centuries-old prophecy, werewolf Ashling Boru has stepped into her role as the Crimson Queen. She finally has the support of her pack and her love for Grey is stronger than ever.

But it’s not easy being queen. Ashling’s guardian, Baran, has been captured by the Dvergars, a family of evil wolves who will stop at nothing to possess Ashling’s power and destroy everything—and everyone—she loves. Ashling must unite the clans and build an army to stand against the Dvergars before it’s too late. Unfortunately, the Dvergars also have armies of the darkest creatures the world has ever known.

Shadows loom, growing ever larger as generations of pack secrets begin to unfold. Ashling’s people, the humans they protect, and Old Mother Earth herself all hang in the balance of Ashling’s choices. Will Ashling have to forsake her true love to save the world? And will she have the strength to do it?

Bloodmoon is the thrilling conclusion to the Bloodmark Saga.

Congratulations Aurora on completing your first saga!

BloodmarkSaga_BookCovers

You can preorder a signed copy of Bloodmoon here.  It will be released on March 20, 2016, In honor of Ostara, the Spring Equniox.

You can purchase Bloodmark, the first in the saga, here.

You can purchase Bloodrealms here.

Check out the site for the saga at:

Bloodmark Saga Website: http://www.bloodmarksaga.com

 

 

The Grownup by: Gillian Flynn

the grownup

About The Grownup from penguinrandomhouse.com

Gillian Flynn’s Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story, published for the first time as a standalone

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

“The Grownup,” which originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.

About the Author from penguinrandomhouse.com

GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the runaway hit Gone Girl, an international sensation that has spent more than ninety-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been published in forty languages. Gone Girl is a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox. Flynn’s previous novels, Dark Places and Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, were also New York Times bestsellers. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and children. 

 

My Review:  This is the first thing I have ever read by Gillian Flynn.  I watched the movie adaptation of Gone Girl and thought it was interesting.  It is my understanding that Gillian Flynn’s books are twisted and slightly unexpected.  The Grownup, although a short story, is exactly what you would expect from her.  I can’t say that I particularly liked this story but it wasn’t bad.  I am not sure if I would pick up another book by this author as I find that there is something disturbing to me about her stories.

I gave this 2 crowns.

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The Five Times I Met Myself by: James L. Rubart

The Five Times I Met Myself

Synopsis from http://www.booklookbloggers.com:

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.

About the Author:

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms as well as Book of Days, The Chair, Soul’s Gate, Memory’s Door, and Spirit Bridge. He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest. Website: http://www.jameslrubart.com Twitter: @jameslrubart Facebook: JamesLRubart

It took me about 70 pages to get into this book.  Once I finally did, I liked it.  It reminded me of a mix of Ww. Paul Young’s The Shack and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with a bit of The Time Traveler’s Wife thrown in.  I do not really enjoy books that deal with time travel because I find them to be confusing, however, this book wasn’t so bad.  I liked the Christian elements that were added to it.  It was an interesting premise.

To classify this as a sci-fi/ fantasy book might be a bit far fetched.  There is an element of “time travel” but not in the Doctor Who flying in the Tardis type of way.  The time traveling done in this book was done through lucid dreaming.  Brock is able to control his dreams and talk to the younger version of himself in major periods of his life in order to try and change his future.  Brock and his friends are Christians, so God and prayer are discussed throughout the book as well.

I gave it 3 crowns.

3_crowns

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 < http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”