Books · Personal · Self Care · TBR

Overbooked

I love to read. I have ever since I was little. It was second grade when I began to read solo, but still would enjoy my mom reading to me. The books that captured my imagination as a little kid were: The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton, The Little House series, The Moomins series, and of course Dr. Seuss books.

Discovering Booktube was life changing. The first Booktuber that caught my attention was Sasha Alsberg. Her love of reading, books and wait she gets sent books to review? I want book mail. I created a book blog, read 5 books and posted reviews, then searched out companies looking for reviewers.

Fast forward 3 years and I have over indulged. I know I review not merely for NetGalley, but a number of other PR companies. I have a challenge saying, “No,” to requests since I’m already over my head in my ARC TBR, but that one that got away haunts the back of my mind. What if the book I decline to review, is my fave book for 2020?

I do need to be more selective and whittle down my TBR. I’m thankful to be a book blogger. I just don’t want to loose my love of reading because of it.

Book Review · Books

The Ancestor

An unknown man wakes up crusted in ice. After he frees himself he wanders in the woods and discovers civilization has changed from what he dimly recalls. He doesn’t recall who he is, but while trying to piece together the mystery of who he is, he discovers Travis. This other man looks so much like him it’s creepy. How is that possible?

Travis lives a simple life with his wife, California and their young son, Eli. He’s been in a funk being out of work, but glad there’s a job for him to start. Life in Alaska consists of fishing, hunting, beer, the bar and seeing his extended family. Hopefully this new fishing job will ease his stress.

When the unknown man and Travis meet it’s like looking in a mirror, minus one with a beard and one clean shaven. Travis befriends this stranger, who seems like he’s also, down on his luck. The two form a friendship.

Grayson, part of the police force and Travis’s best friend is leery of the uncanny stranger, but tries to give the unknown man the benefit of the doubt. Travis’s wife is a tad thrown off by the resemblance of this new stranger in town, but he’s super old fashioned polite. He’s quite the charmer.

How is this man connected to Travis? What is the unknown man’s fascination with Travis, California and Eli? Will his amnesia ever life to uncover the truth?

I received a complimentary digital copy of The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg, from Down & Out Books, care of the author and TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab your own copy get one quick from Amazon. To connect with the author, check out his website. This novel is a whirlwind of identity, family, brotherhood and the question we all face: do we always truly know those who are in our lives? This novel is fast paced, fascinating and a story you won’t soon forget.

Book Review · Books

The Grief We’re Given

Poetry is personal. It’s sharing your soul through words to describe life: every crumb, sparkle and devastation. It can rhyme, not rhyme, there are many varieties of poetry. I enjoy writing poetry myself. I find it soothing and calming for me. Plus, it gives me a history of what I have been going through.

The Grief We’re Given is a tour de force on grief. The author displays it in all its mishmash of beauty, horror, and hope. Grief is not a one size fits all emotion. Mr. Bortz handles this subject through his poetry with images that capture you. I felt like I was watching a movie as I read each poem. His descriptions are vivid, colorful and memorable. If you like to read poetry you might enjoy this poetry collection.

I received my complimentary digital copy of The Grief We’re Given by William Bortz from Central Avenue Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. Whoever thought that the topic of death and grief could be displayed so elegantly, with tender care found a gem when they discovered Mr. Bortz and his captivating poetry.

Book Review · Books

How To Make A Life

If you love family sagas then you need to go grab a stunning copy of How To Make A Life. This novel tumbles you first into Ida’s world, the old country, the Ukraine. Due to the first war she escapes off to America with her two young daughters, where she works to build a brand new life for them. Ida can’t wait to put away the horrors of the war behind her.

This novel touches on the tough subject of mental illness and how society has viewed it through the decades and how family members can view it very differently. Would you be strong enough to call it out when a family member may need help instead of keeping quiet since you speak out loud just may bring shame on the family?Another subject that is focused on is sisterhood. When is being a sister go from caring to usury?

Each chapter gives the point of view from a different family member through different eras. Join Ida, Bessie, Jenny, Ruby, Morris, Irene, Abe and others on their adventures through life.

I received my complimentary copy of How To Make A Life by Florence Reiss Kraut from She Writes Press, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own choice. I love the cover of this book. I have a soft spot for WWII books and this cover gives off the rustic, charming, 1940’s antique look. It makes me feel like I could walk right out onto the cover and be there with the characters.

Book Review · Books

Breathe Again

The death of a child is a road we don’t wish our worst enemy to have to travel down. Stacy Henagan takes our hand and walks us through this personal Hell. A beautiful daughter almost 1 years old. Cancer. Praying for a miracle, believing for healing and then that road you don’t want to go down, but are dragged down it kicking and screaming? Yes, Stacy has soldiered that painful road.

Stacy’s memoir of dealing with grief is no holds bared. It’s the kind that scrapes your heart so raw you don’t know if God will be able to heal it. She gives us that honest look at how her own faith morphed and changed. Stacy is a gracious host who shows us that even though that road beats you up, you can get through to the end and come out stronger.

Would your faith survive something like this? I, personally have no children of my own, but disease isn’t a prospector of persons. Tragedy touches us all at some point and we have to decide if we are going to weather our spiritual storm?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Breathe Again by Stacy Henagan from Thomas Nelson and Emanate Books, care of NetGalley and TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. Grab a stunning copy off of Amazon. Thank you Stacy for sharing your daughter’s story and your faith journey through weathering your own personal storm.

Book Review · Books

Those Who Prey

College is a time for freedom, to discover yourself, enjoy dorm life and take the classes that interest you. Emily was thrilled to go away to Boston, away from her home in the south. Dorm life wasn’t the greatest. College life was lonely, until a cute guy interpreted her reading at the local coffee shop.

Josh invites her to hang out with his friends Heather and Andrew. Emily is excited to meet new people and make new friends. Heather seems very nice and that she wants to become genuine friends. Emily gets invited to an event where she gets a glimpse into the group that her new friends are involved in. Heather isn’t religious, but hearing one of the leader’s speak she is transfixed. Who doesn’t want improve their life, to discover their spirituality?

Heather is Emily’s mentor of sorts and as Emily goes through the process of learning and growing it seems Heather becomes even more controlling. Emily brushes off the caution in her gut. Heather wants the best for her, right?

When an internship spot opens up through the group Emily wants to go since Josh is going. The only challenge is that Heather wants to go. Which of them will get picked?

I received my digital complimentary copy of Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett from Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This book will make a great conversation piece. This novel is a cautionary tale of sorts and an important one. I’m still processing my reaction.

Books

Author Q & A For: Lifeline To Marionette

A Q&A with Jennifer Waitte

Author, Lifeline to Marionette

 

Question: You have a journalism background, why did you choose to move into fiction?

Jennifer Waitte: My interest in creative writing actually predates my journalism career. When I was in grade school, I was always writing short stories and poems. In college, I originally majored in architecture because I loved architectural history and design, but I failed miserably in anything mathematical. I switched to English, and I loved English lit but worried about my career options as an English major. I switched again to journalism after deciding I wanted to focus on editorial and feature writing for magazines, and eventually be a magazine editor. All through college and my early journalism career, I continued to write fiction, mostly short stories. Overall, I just loved writing features about interesting people. As a result, my novels are character-driven stories.

 

Question: What themes in Lifeline to Marionette do you most want to highlight and why?

Jennifer Waitte: The effects of societal pressures, the hopeless trap of drug addiction, and the damage caused by exploitation are the primary themes that are the backbone of the story. It is also a love story, albeit a dark one.

 

Question: What character do you hope most resonates with readers and why?

Jennifer Waitte: Definitely Alaina Michelle Sekovich. I want my readers to sympathize with her and cultivate compassion for her as they come to understand the disparity between what she is (a celebrity) and the pressures she faces, and who she is, which is a lonely and misunderstood young woman. Ultimately, I want readers to find her damaged yet endearing.

 

Question: Please describe your writing process.

Jennifer Waitte: I spend a lot of time thinking about my storyline and my characters’ personalities, motives and actions before writing. I develop an outline first, so I know where the story is going, and then I go back and work on different sections solely based on what I feel like working on. I don’t write beginning to end. Lifeline to Marionette takes place over a short period of time, which is two weeks. The sequel, The Fifth Language, also takes place over a short period of time, which is about a month. In both books, readers learn about my characters’ lives, but the actual plot unfolds over a short period of time. 

 

Question: Are there any writers or specific books that influenced you as you were writing Lifeline to Marionette?

Jennifer Waitte: There is one book that truly inspired me to start writing again, and that was The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, by Cherise Wolas. It’s a brilliant, well-written story about a writer resurrecting her writing career. What influenced me while I was writing Lifeline to Marionettewas not another novel, but music. I have a Lifeline to Marionette playlist, and each scene/situation in the story is a certain song or a collection of songs. The main character was inspired by a song. 

 

Jennifer Waitte is an award-winning journalist, editor and author. She is a graduate of California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

For 15 years, Waitte worked as a writer and editor for numerous lifestyle, equine and equestrian sporting magazines. She has won many awards for her writing, editing and editorial direction.

 

Waitte is an avid equestrian. She competes in the sport of long-distance horse racing and dressage. She lives in Napa, California, with her husband Barry. They own Tamber Bey Vineyards, a boutique winery located in Napa Valley.   

Connect with Jennifer Waitte at JenniferWaitte.com, Facebook.com/jenniferwaitteauthor and Instagram.com/JenniferWaitte.

 

Lifeline to Marionette will be available at Amazon.

Book Review · Books

Let The Willows Weep

What’s it like to have your own mother hate you? Birddog knows. Her mother always favored her older brother, Denny and other brother, Caul. The one solace she has is her dear father. He’s a miner who works hard, but shows love even harder, giving Birddog the sense of safety her mother won’t. Thankfully her brother, Denny is her protector and one of her best friends.

When the unthinkable happens to their father, Denny is forced to grow up sooner than he’d probably like. The challenge is he gets the same kind of work his father did. This doesn’t go over well with their mother. With miner work comes the comfort of the bottle and Denny starts to pull away from Birddog.

Birddog try’s her best to warm up to her mother, but any praise from her is fleeting, often filled with caustic words. After she doesn’t have the safety of her father, Birddog gets sick and the local town doctor asks her mother to comfort her. There is no comfort provided in their shared grief. Birddog’s mother’s hate just seems to gather more intensity like a storm brewing.

One day while visiting her father’s grave she happens upon Samuel and Dig. They both befriend her. Samuel is the local caretaker of the cemetery. Dig is his special needs younger brother with a heart of gold. Dig gives Birddog a new nickname. Daisy Girl. Daisys are the flower of choice for her father’s grave. The new nickname is a pleasant change. While getting to know Samuel her broken heart begins to heal. Will Birddog ever discover a love of her own?

This novel is lyrical, gut wrenching and powerful. I can’t fathom my parents hating me as deeply as Birddog’s mother does her. She’s a tomboy while her mother is all about appearance and the finer things in life. As soon as I started this novel I was transported back in time, when your station in life isn’t always easy to move on up from.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Let The Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell from TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are of my own accord and at will. Go grab a gorgeous copy off Amazon and to connect with the author, check out her website. This novel is a top favorite of mine this year. If you’ve also, read this novel I would love to discuss it.

Book Review · Books

Loving Well In A Broken World

Being empathetic in today’s world is not popular. Author, Lauren Casper shares how she learned to show more empathy. She provides different examples from her life from fostering to adoption, to listening to those of other ethnicities, to realizing how a rebuke from her younger years helped her gain more insight. Lauren also, includes different Bible stories that show empathy in action.

This book made me think of times I’ve been rebuked by family and how at the time it can raise your shackles, but looking back you can see their reasoning. It also, made me think of how by being raised in a certain community you may be biased to a particular viewpoint. Hearing views different from your own is an important step into learning how to be empathetic towards others who are different from you.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Loving Well In A Broken World by Lauren Casper from Thomas Nelson, care of TLC Book Tours and NetGalley. The views are mine and my choice to post. To grab a copy off Amazon and find out more about the author. This book is a good read, but if you aren’t a Christian there may be some Christianese verbiage to wade through.