Seven Riddles to Nowhere By: A.J. Cattapan


Book #59 for #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

This book was one of the books sent to me from Beverly from the Books n’ BLoggers swap.  This is a middle grade book that is similar in feel to The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  It is a quick read and entertaining.

It is about a young boy who participates in a scavenger hunt that was set up for heirs of an estate.  If the heir solved all seven clues, they would receive the fortune.  Young Kameron does not speak in front of adults in public places, so he enlists the help of his friends so that he can save his school from closing.  They travel through the churches of Chicago looking for the answers to these riddles.

There is some religious elements in this book but I wanted a bit more background story about Kam and why he doesn’t speak.  I guess if I were a middle grader reading this book, I wouldn’t even notice that there is no back story for Kam.

For what this book is, I give it 4 crowns.



Under the Tuscan Sun By: Frances Mayes



20th Anniversary Edition with a New Afterword

Twenty years ago, Frances Mayes–widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer–introduced readers to a wondrous new world when she bought and restored an abandoned villa called Bramasole in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. Under the Tuscan  inspired generations to embark on their own journeys–whether that be flying to a foreign country in search of themselves, savoring one of the book’s dozens of delicious seasonal recipes, or simply being transported by Mayes’s signature evocative, sensory language. Now, with a new afterword from the Bard of Tuscany herself, the 20th anniversary edition of Under the Tuscan Sun brings us up-to-date with the book’s most beloved characters.


FRANCES MAYES is the author of four books about Tuscany. The now-classic Under the Tuscan Sun–which was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years and became a Touchstone movie starring Diane Lane. It was followed by Bella Tuscany and two illustrated books, In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home. She is also the author of the novel,Swan, six books of poetry, and The Discovery of Poetry. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

My Review:

This is one of my favorite books and I can’t believe it was first published 20 years ago.  This memoir and the movie adaptation are my “go-to” when I want something uplifting. Frances Mayes has written the story of her spontaneous purchase of a house in Tuscany and the days following with the renovations.  Her descriptions transport you to that house and that town with those people whom you want to befriend.

Her afterward in this 20th anniversary edition just reminded me how much I loved this story.  Frances Mayes has a way of making her words- dare alla luce- give to the light. If you haven’t read this yet, please give yourself a gift and read this!

This is a 5 crown read!


I received the 20th anniversary edition of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Promise Kitchen By: Peggy Lampman


Published on September 27, 2016

Description from Netgalley


My Review:

From reading the description of this novel, I figured this is right up my alley.  It sounds like something I would devour and enjoy.  Unfortunately, I found this book to be a bit slow.  I wasn’t too invested in the characters and felt that they were given very little depth.  The food element in this story was lacking for me and some of the descriptions of slaughtering animals were thrown in and a turn off.

This story line could’ve been really good if it was developed more.  The book itself was long but the emotional connection to the characters was missing for me.  I was disappointed.  I was given an E-ARC of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this 2 crowns.

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They Were Christians By: Cristobal Krusen


Synopsis from Goodreads:

What do Abraham Lincoln, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Louis Pasteur, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. all have in common? They all changed the world–and they were all Christians. Now the little-known stories of faith behind twelve influential people of history are available in one inspiring volume.
They Were Christians reveals the faith-filled motivations behind some of the most outstanding political, scientific, and humanitarian contributions of history. From the founding of the Red Cross to the family crisis that drove America’s favorite president to his knees and cracked his religious skepticism, the fascinating stories of these faithful history-makers will inspire, encourage, and entertain readers of history and biography.

My Review:

Book #58 for #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

Ok, just looking at the cover and title of this book, most of you are probably wondering what I was doing reading this.  I don’t enjoy historical reads and non-fiction isn’t my either.  However, the author of this book is a family friend and I was asked to review it.

I read and enjoy Christian literature so that was the surprising part for me when reading this book.  What surprised me the most is how much I enjoyed each chapter.  It didn’t feel as if I was reading a history textbook or a religious doctrine.  This was beautifully written and it flowed seemlessly with some autobiographical connections from the author.  It taught me more about the lives of some of the historical figures that I knew a bit about and also about the lives of people I didn’t know much about.

Christobal’s writing style is beautiful and easy to read.  This easily could have come across as “preachy” or boring but it didn’t.  I am glad that I read it.  If you want to know more about some of our historical figures and their views of Christianity, then pick this up.

I gave this 5 crowns.


Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by: Claudia Gray


Book #57 in #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

I received this ARC at BookCon last year and finally picked it up after listening to the first installment.  I immediately had to continue on with the story and listened to this on audiobook as well.

This second book was just as good as the first one and had a bit of a mysterious element attached to it.  Again, the cover design is amazing and it mimics the story line perfectly.  The next book in the series comes out November 1st and I can not wait.  This was narrated once again by Tavia Gilbert and she did a splendid job.

I gave this book 5 crowns.


Snow White A Graphic Novel By:Matt Phelan


Description from Netgalley

Blameless by: Gail Carriger


Book #56 for #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

This is book #3 in the Parasol Protectorate series.  This takes place right after the aggravating end to the second book and we are focused a bit more on Alexia in this story.  She is desperately trying to put the shredded pieces of her life together and we follow her on that journey.

This took me a while to get through but it was a good story.  I think I was annoyed with some of the characters in this book.  I hope the last two books of the series picks up the pace a bit.  This was my least favorite so far.

I gave this 3 crowns.


A Thousand Pieces of You by: Claudia Gray (Firebird #1)


Look at this cover!!!  It is so gorgeous!  I received an ARC of the second book in this series and in order to read that I had to read the first.  I listened to this on audiobook and it was narrated by Tavia Gilbert.

I do not normally read this genre of book.  This is a YA inter-dimensional travel, sci-fi-ish book so I was very skeptical.  I am so surprised about how obsessed I became by this story.  I absolutely loved it and didn’t want it to end.

Now, I’m not sure if I enjoyed it so much because I thought the way in which Tavia narrated the story was brilliant or not.  If I read it, would I have felt the same way?!  I don’t know.  Tavia used accents and differentiating pitch ranges for each of the characters and it was so well done.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something that will fully immerse you in another dimension.

I gave this book 5 crowns.



Murder in Missoula By: Laurence Giliotti


Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

Brooklyn by: Colm Toibin


Book #55 for #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.

I won a copy of this book from Goodreads and had finally decided to read it.  Well, I listened to it being read.  I find that I am a sucker for listening to Audiobooks when the characters in the story have accents.  I know that I would never be able to read it the same way.

This is a story about a young Irish immigrant who comes to America more specifically Brookyln, looking for a better life.  Stereotypical? Yes.  Based loosely on events that really happened after World War II? Yes.  Although this is a fictional story, the fact is that after the war, many immigrants came to American looking for a new life.

This is the story of Eilis who was sent to Brooklyn by her mother and sister in order to learn all she could about the business world.  We learn of her struggle with homesickness and the turmoil of living in a boarding house with other women who had immigrated here. We hear in short tidbits about the rough relationship between the Irish and the Italians that had come to the same neighborhoods to work.

The story was good and narrator, Kirsten Potter, was excellent.

I gave this book 4 crowns.