Saturday 22 October 2022

Send Her Back and Other Stories by Munashe Kaseke

Send Her Back and Other Stories by Munashe Kaseke
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Send Her Back and Other Stories by Munashe Kaseke is an interesting look into the lives of immigrant women both in the United States and in their own countries. Each of the stories in this book are from the woman's perspective and tell their stories of hope, struggle, sacrifice, success, and failure.

I enjoyed the open, honest writing style and the no-holds truth these women faced in their everyday lives. The author addressed difficult issues relevant to immigrant women. Each story was unique and interesting in its own way. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their horizons.

I listened to the audio of this book. The narrator was engaging and authentic. I enjoyed listening to it

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

See allof my reviews

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've been on a WWII kick lately. I love reading about the every day people who went above and beyond to help their to become unsung war heroes. It gives me hope for humanity.

The Ways We Hide is a historical fiction story based around true events. Fenna had a good, but hard life. She went through many hardships and overcame them to do great things. Her story is one of love and loss and courage to endure. I enjoyed her story, her tenacity, and her unwillingness to give up on those she loves.

This was my second book by this author, and I've come to enjoy the writing style and storytelling.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley.

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I chose to read this book partly because I love James Patterson and partly because I love Dolly Parton. I was quite intrigued by the matchup of these two and felt I had to find out what this duo could produce.

Run Rose Run is the story of a young, talented singer trying to hide from her past. I loved the characters, and the story was quite charming. This was a quick, easy read. Somewhat predictable, but entertaining nonetheless. Overall, I would probably read more books from this pair of authors.

I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Kelsea Ballerini and Ms. Dolly Parton herself, and I have to say, the narration was my favorite part of the book. If I had been reading a physical copy, it would not have been nearly as engaging.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

See all of my reviews

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I knew I wanted to read this book as soon as I read the description. I love the idea of an antiheroine, a girl who started with nothing and stole her way up to the top.

Vanja is a great character. You want to root for her even though you know, and she knows, what she is doing is wrong. The rest of main characters are eccentric and fun, which makes for a great story. I would have liked the curse to be a bit more of a main plot in the story, as it seemed to just be sort of an afterthought, but overall, this was a great read.

This is the first book I've read by this author, but if they are all this well-written and entertaining, I'll most definitely be reading more.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mickey7 by Edward Ashton

My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mickey is an Expendable. His job description literally is to be expendable. I love the idea of this and the reasoning behind it. There are some jobs machines just can't do as well as humans, but these jobs could be potentially dangerous for said humans…so, what do you do?

I liked Mickey as the narrator of the story. He's a bit quirky, funny, and a loyal friend. My only question is what happens next? I love a good standalone, but I really want to know what happens to Mickey and the colony on Niflheim.

I love that this book is set so many years in the future after so many advances in science and technology, but the basis is just humans doing what humans do best…Hostile takeovers, killing anything that they don't find useful, and destroying beautiful worlds to fit their own agenda. It's humanity.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

See all of my reviews

Friday 21 October 2022

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers is a quick, easy read. I looked at this book initially because I listen to the author's podcast, but the premise caught my attention and I decided to give it a try.

The book started slow for me but picked up quickly. I enjoyed following Margot as she delved into a cold case everyone seemed to want to forget. Dealing with her personal issues while trying to work and find out what really happened to her childhood friend was challenging, but the author wrote it in well. The ending was a surprise for me, so that's always a bonus. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime thrillers.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

See all of my reviews

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Other Birds is an enchanting story about love, loss, and finding yourself. Zoey is an 18-year-old following the memory of her mother out into the big world, truly on her own for the first time. She finds it's not always easy, but along the way of finding out who she wants to be, she meets up with an engaging cast of characters who love her just as she is. This is a gem of a book I'm glad I had the opportunity to read. The writing is whimsical and the setting of the book was magical. I want to go to Mallow Island and see it for myself!

This is my first book by this author, but I am definitely going to check out her others. I would recommend this book to everyone.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

See all of my reviews

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy


I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
My rating:  4/5 stars

My oldest daughter grew up with iCarly and Sam & Cat, so I've seen most of the episodes. I always thought they were entertaining and fun, something we could watch together. It's sometimes hard to remember while you're being entertained by the TV that those are real people with real lives and real problems. I chose to read this book partly because I love biographies/memoirs but also partly because of Jennette McCurdy and her tie to those shows.

It's heartbreaking to see how she grew up and the love she had for her mother who was so obviously (to anyone on the outside looking in) abusive. She was a great actress, but absolutely hated it. In this book Jennette was open and honest about her childhood, teens, and early adulthood. She managed to take this horribly sad and disturbing story of her life and turn it into something positive for herself. I'm sure she will always struggle with her body image, but she's come a long way and has so much to look forward to in the future.

I listened to the audio of this book. Jennette read it herself, which made it all that more amazing. Thank you Ms. McCurdy for sharing your story and for being an encouragement to others going through similar struggles. I wish you all the best.

See all of my reviews

You'd Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

You'd Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?

This book was much more emotional and real than I had expected. I laughed…I cried. Seriously. I don't remember the last time I cried with a book.

This was the story of Emory, but also of her brother Joey. Their lives are so intertwined that Emory can't seem to separate them. As she watches him go down the road of addiction and everything that comes with that, as his life unravels and everything it touches, all she wants is to be able to fix him, fix herself, and be seen. Maddie, her older sister is the perfect one, Joey is the bad one, and Emory is the good one, the invisible one.

What I took away from this story is that addiction is hard on everyone, not just the one addicted. Life is hard. We mess up. Sometimes a lot. But we have to pick ourselves back up and try again. Because in the end, it doesn't matter that we messed up, but that we didn't give up.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Thursday 11 July 2019

Book Beginnings: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader

Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

You can find more information and how to participate on your blog HERE!  

"My father was a king and the son of kings. He was a short man, as most of us were, and built like a bull, all shoulders.  He married my mother when she was fourteen and sworn by the priestess to be fruitful."

Author:  Madeline Miller
Genre:  Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

My Thoughts
This is the second book I've read by Madeline Miller, and I highly recommend both (Circe was the first!).  I love stories about the Greek gods, and this one was captivating.  

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Life Will Be the Death of Me:...and you too! by Chelsea Handler

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly Meme hosted by The Purple Booker where you share two “teaser” sentences from your current read.

Find out how you can participate Here!

"I define me. No event or person does this. I define me. I decide who I am and how I’m going to behave, and I choose to be better. To look more carefully, to trudge deeper. To think about other people’s pasts and not judge someone for doing or handling something differently than I would. To understand my limitations, my shortcomings—that is my growth edge."

Title:  Life Will Be the Death of Me:...and you too!
Author:  Chelsea Handler
Genre: Nonfiction/Autobiography/Memoir

In a haze of vape smoke on a rare windy night in L.A. in the fall of 2016, Chelsea Handler daydreams about what life will be like with a woman in the White House. And then Donald Trump happens. In a torpor of despair, she decides that she’s had enough of the privileged bubble she’s lived in—a bubble within a bubble—and that it’s time to make some changes, both in her personal life and in the world at large.

At home, she embarks on a year of self-sufficiency—learning how to work the remote, how to pick up dog shit, where to find the toaster. She meets her match in an earnest, brainy psychiatrist and enters into therapy, prepared to do the heavy lifting required to look within and make sense of a childhood marked by love and loss and to figure out why people are afraid of her. She becomes politically active—finding her voice as an advocate for change, having difficult conversations, and energizing her base. In the process, she develops a healthy fixation on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, through unflinching self-reflection and psychological excavation, unearths some glittering truths that light up the road ahead. 

Thrillingly honest, insightful, and deeply, darkly funny, Chelsea Handler’s memoir keeps readers laughing, even as it inspires us to look within and ask ourselves what really matters in our own lives.

My Thoughts
Chelsea Handler's books will keep you her or with her!  In this book, she shares some very personal stories and opens up about a tragic event that shaped her life. 

Thursday 26 April 2018

Q & A with Christina Weigand

Sanctuary of Nine Dragons 
Palace of the Twelve Pillars #3
by Christina Weigand 

Joachim banishes Brandan to prison island of Hyogo. His infant son, Prince Airyn disappears from his cradle. A chain of events is set in motion that will pit brother against brother, friend against friend, parents against children as Brandan and Joachim struggle for control of their sanity and their very lives.

With Brandan declared dead and his son missing Joachim sinks into despair and anger, where those close to him fear he may never return.

Is Brandan really dead and if he is, who is manipulating the Mantion and enemies of Crato?

Can Maeve save her country and her husband from the tentacles of evil pervading the land

ebook, 362 pages
Published February 7th 2014 

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords

Read It & Reap:  April 26, 2018

Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania, returning there after a short sabbatical in Washington. Currently, she’s working on fantasy novels and inspirational writing. Through her writing, she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

When she’s not writing, she’s active in her local Church as a, Bible Study, , volunteering at her daughter’s school helping the children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing. 

Connect with Christina 
Goodreads * Website * Twitter * Facebook

Q & A with Christina Weigand

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
King Brandan: King Brandan returns to the Palace of the Twelve Pillars even more cocky and sure of his place than when he disappeared. He makes some bold, selfish moves that will get him banished from the palace. We see even more of his disdain for his brother and wife.

As he travels on the prison ship the beginnings of a different perspective begin to emerge in his field of vision, but when his ship is wrecked and he is presumed dead Sidramah is able to fully infiltrate his person and a Brandan who is wholly evil emerges. He is worse than Waldrom he makes Waldrom look like a nice person as he ravages the lands starting with the Mantion, leaving a trail of death and destruction in his wake.

King Joachim: The kidnapping of his infant son and the disappearance of his brother finally pushes Joachim over the edge. As he sinks into despair he rejects Asha and his family. He embarks on a journey to find his son in spite of the odds against a successful journey.

He rejects Asha and his family swearing that he can and will do it on his own, leaving Maeve to rule the country.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
My publisher MuseItUp has cover designers working for them. Charlotte Volnek was the wonderful artist that designed the cover for Sanctuary of Nine Dragons. She stepped in when the artist of the first two books left the company and did a wonderful job of matching the cover to the first two books in the series.  Shortly after I signed the contract I received a Cover Art form and an Author Info sheet. With these two pages the publisher and artist were able to create a cover for the book. Once it was designed then it was sent to me to approve or make suggestions for changes. I was amazed at how well the artists were able to capture the essence of the story without actually reading the book.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
That’s a hard one to nail down. A few times I have been fortunate enough to go on a writer’s retreat. While there the writer’s stayed in cabins in the woods and when writing we had the choice to write outside in nature or inside one of the many buildings that were on the properties.  I love to write outdoors in the woods or in a park and unfortunately don’t get to do it very often, so I settle for my Dragon’s Lair or if I’m lucky a nearby Starbucks or library.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Read and Keep Writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I started out wanting to be a nurse, but after seeing the movie Jaws and having nightmares I decided that it wasn’t for me. My next idea was a journalist. I always enjoyed writing and thought that it would be a good fit for me.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I really have no preference and will read either one depending on what is available.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Teleporting and Reading minds. So I could get to another place quickly and so I could know what someone is really thinking.

What book are you reading now?
Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, Shivers by Heather Beck and Angels and Patriots  by Salina Baker.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Q & A with Effie Kammenou

Waiting for Aegina 
The Gift Saga #2
by Effie Kammenou 

Book Two in The Gift Saga: The continuation of Evanthia’s Gift … 

In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows. 

Evanthia's Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood. 

Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth. 

Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published January 6, 2017

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  April 19, 2018

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women. 

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category. Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog,, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

Member of Women's Fiction Writer's Association & Romance Writers of America

Connect with Effie Kammenou
Goodreads * FacebookTwitter

Q & A with Effie Kammenou

Tell us a little bit about your main characters. 
In the first book of the saga, Evanthia’s Gift, the main character, Sophia, goes from her teens to adulthood. During this span of time, the reader is introduced to her four childhood friends, who she has remained close to.

In Waiting for Aegina, all five of these women make up an ensemble of main characters, with Sophia being in the center of it all.

Each one will have life choices to make and struggles to overcome.

Sophia’s happily ever after is challenged by revelations and events from the past she needs to come to terms with.

Demi battles her mother-in-law for her husband’s attention, and wonders if his affection for her has dimmed.

Amy’s past comes back to haunt her, threatening her marriage and career.

Donna thought she had the perfect life when she married her high school sweetheart. But his drinking, insensitivity and cruelty to a son who doesn’t live up to his standards, sends her family’s life spiraling down a tragic road.

Mindy lost the love of her life when she chose a blossoming and successful career as a dress designer over the demands of her lover. Wondering if she’d made a mistake, she searches for love and thinks she’s found it with a possessive and volatile man.

What was your inspiration behind Waiting for Aegina?
I knew I wanted to make this saga a trilogy. The first book was partly inspired by the death of my mother. Sophia’s life was inspired by the time period in which I grew up, and this is where Sophia’s friends came into the plot. Amy and Mindy were based on my own speculation of the direction a couple of my friends might have taken with their lives. They didn’t, though, and I know this because I’m still friends with both of them. It was my ‘what if they had gone on to do what I thought they would when we were in high school?’ theory. The beginning of the book happens right after the five women leave their thirtieth school reunion. I’d reconnected with a large group of friends at my own and, because of that, I wanted to write a story about lifelong friends and the loyalty they shared with one another.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
My cover designer is Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Designs. I commissioned a photographer in Greece to shoot the cover photo. I was very specific about what I wanted—five grown women on a Greek beach together. The photo had to convey the closeness of their relationship and the lightness of the moment. Ioanna Chatzidiakou captured the moment exactly as I had imagined it.

My process is to simply sit down and write. I have a general idea in my head of the story. The details come as I begin to develop the characters and the plot. That’s usually when my research on the finer details begin. I’m more concerned about getting the story out of my head the first go around. After that, I go back several times and rewrite and refine before handing it over to my editor.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
Where I write or the ideal spot to write? It’s a running joke in my home. We have a home office, which I’ve completely monopolized. God forbid my husband tells me he’s working from home!

I keep telling my family I’d like to write the next book on a remote Greek island in a little house by the sea, all alone and undisturbed. Yes, I’d miss them, but when I’m at the computer I don’t come up for air!

What is the best writing advice you have been given?
The best advice was to start writing. Don’t worry about the grammar or sentence structure. After the story is down on paper (or computer) go back and make it sing!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actor. I don’t remember ever saying I wanted to do anything else. I went to college as a theater major. I didn’t have the drive and nerve I needed to pound the payment and take all the rejection. Today, although it’s still hard to break in, the opportunities are greater and with social media it’s easier to make connections.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I would want to have the ability to speak every language. I love to travel and I also enjoy speaking with people from different countries and cultures. I would like to be able to converse in each one of their native tongues.

What book are you reading now?
I am very fortunate to have an advanced readers copy of The Hallowed by Jaci Miller. It’s the second book in a paranormal trilogy. I loved the first book and the second is just as compelling.