Tuesday, March 14, 2017

RAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin

Rebekah’s Homonym List:
Break - Brake
Chews - Choose
For - Four/Fore
Pair - Pear/Pare
Rain - Reign/Rein
Rose - Rows

Book #4 in our Mother-Son Book Club

RAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin


Rose Howard has Asperger’s syndrome, and is obsessed with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, or the other things that make her different – not her teacher, not other kids, and not her single father. 
When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing.  Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.
Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view. 
223 pages


3.5 out of 5 *Stars*

This book took me to a place I had never been before.  Into the mind of a character with a form of autism, Asperger’s.  Because of this, it was a little hard to follow.  The book kept veering off track from the storyline and endlessly talking about homophones, also known as homonyms.  I get it.  I know why.  It’s because the book is written as if Rose is telling a story, and her mind is obsessed with homophones.  Even though I understood why, it still didn’t make it easier to follow.
At the beginning of chapter 3, Rose says “If you are not interested in homonyms at all, stop-reading here and skip to Chapter 4.” Of course my son took this literally and went ahead a chapter.  I read it, and sure enough it was all about Rose’s list of homonyms and her rules of what makes them. 
The story Rose takes us through is when she loses her dog, her best friend, the night of a hurricane.  She copes with the loss, with the struggle to find him, with the lack of understanding from her dad, and even her heartache, all in her own way, with the help of her best Uncle Weldon.  It was a quick read, and by the end, you learn to roll with the homonyms because you know that’s how Rose sees the world. 

“I look across the field again, and then up to the sky, which is a vast pale blue.  I remember the music festival, and the notes that soared above our heads.  I think about the homonyms soared and sword. They’re an interesting pair, because soared is a very nice word, especially when you imagine musical notes swooshing through the evening air, but sword indicates weaponry, so that isn’t a nice word at all. That’s one of the many things I like about homonyms. Most of them seem unrelated, some seem to be opposites, like soared and sword, but a few make lovely connections if you’re open to changing your perspective when you think about them.

I stand up, then squint my eyes shut for (fore/four) a moment, remembering the night (knight) with Uncle Weldon when the music soared (sword) through (threw) the air (heir/err), and the notes and the sky and our (hour) hearts were one (won).”

That’s a small glimpse to how the book is written.  Rose has such a beautiful heart, and once you learn to read past the homonyms, you can truly see that. 
In the book, you want to hate her dad.  I know that I did. Let me just say, it is hard being a parent.  We all do and say things we are not proud of, and it is way harder for a parent of a child that has special needs, especially for a solo parent such as Rose’s dad.  Rose was different, and it was hard for him to accept.  He would get mad at her easily over the things she couldn’t help; extra meetings at school, the extra attention that she needed, her unique way of thinking, or even her homophone list. He’s not perfect by any means, but by the time you finish the book, you know that he truly loved her as much as he could.

********************Young Reader Review********************
I didn’t enjoy there being so many homophones.  It was a good book, but it would have been better and easier to follow without so many of them.  It was hard to relate to the main character because of her Asperger’s, but I really enjoyed reading about her Uncle.  He was nice and had a lot of patience with Rose.  I would recommend the book for other kids my age to read.  It wasn’t my favorite, but it was still good. 

I also would recommend this book for any young reader.  The story is a little mundane for adults, but it’s a good book to show young kids that even though someone is different, they still feel and think the same way as everyone else.  You just have to work a little harder to understand them.  Good read!
Until next time…

Happy Reading, Everyone!!
For more on this book and where you can find it, click here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

CARPE DEMON by Julie Kenner

“Adventures of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom,” my butt! Let me tell you something.  I am a very proud soccer mom! I’m talking the type of soccer mom that takes her kids to play in competitive games, screams her head off, and is ready to jump any player that shoulder checks my kid.  (Not that I do, but it’s not like I don’t want to.) Anyways, I’m correcting a wrong about this book because Kate is NOT a soccer mom.  She was stereotyped as a “soccer mom,” even though neither of her kids are in the sport, because she is a stay-at-home mom.  Let me tell you something from someone who is BOTH.  They are both strong, determined, capable, and very very busy moms, but that doesn’t mean that they are automatically the same thing!!

Okay, that was my rant… Now onto the review.

CARPE DEMON by Julie Kenner
Book 1 in Demon Hunting “Soccer Mom” Series


Kate Connor used to be a demon hunter: Now she's a stay-at-home mom, a "glorified chauffeur for pep squad practice and Gymboree play dates." But when a demonic assassin shows up at her suburban home minutes before an important dinner party, the retired Hunter is forced back into action to save her town -- and her freshly baked mini-quiches -- from the invading fiend and his army of the undead.

Kate's husband and her two kids don't know anything about her demon-killing past -- and she wants to keep it that way. So while doing what supermoms do -- raising an inquisitive two-year old, dealing with a teenage girl's myriad of social issues, supporting an overworked husband running for county attorney, etc. -- Kate also finds time to unravel the mystery behind the sudden ghoulish invasion. It seems a master demon named Goramesh has come to town in search of an invaluable religious artifact secreted in a much-storied cathedral. But in order to obtain the relic, Goramesh must first find a suitable human subordinate.

3 out of 5 *Stars*

“I mean, really. Who need Pilates when you’ve got a town full of demons?”

This was a cute book.  Not one to jump out of your seat for, but still good nonetheless.  I have to be honest here though.  This book took me weeks to get through.  Not because it was a bad book or hard to read.  In fact, it wasn’t bad at all.  It just never seemed to grab my attention.  Whenever I had free time, and I had the option to read this book, watch a show, or play a game, the latter two always won out.  It was only the threat of my library putting a hold on my card because I had had the book way too long, that made me buckle down and finish it.
The concept behind the whole storyline was intriguing, but it was the main character that I enjoyed reading the most.  I could relate to the main character, Kate, so much and it felt like I was reading about my own life, well… apart from the being raised in the Vatican to hunt demons thing.  However, her sarcastic remarks about motherhood really hit home. 
“Besides, the comings and goings of demons weren’t my problem anymore. Nowadays my problems leaned more towards the domestic rather than the demonic. Grocery shopping, budgeting, carpooling, mending, cleaning, cooking, parenting, and a thousand other “–ings.”  All the basic stuff that completely holds a family together and is taken entirely for granted by every person on the planet who doesn’t happen to be a wife and stay-at-home mom. (And two points to you if you caught that little bit of vitriol…”
“I don’t like being wrong, and frankly, I’ve gotten used to being right pretty much all of the time.  I’m the mom, and Mom is always right.”
Then there’s the adventure in having a toddler, and their ability to hear “Holy Shit,” and turn it into “Holey Sheet! You got holey sheets, Mamma?” Or the “parking” your kid in front of the television to babysit for a time, and deeming them “not warped yet.”  Been there!
Every quip that drew me in wasn’t about the demon hunting, but the adventures of being a mother.  That’s probably why it took me so long to finish the book.  What draws you in to make you finish a book like that, when I have my own motherhood adventures every day? Drastic library fines, that’s what.
Once I hit the halfway point for this book, finishing it became easier.  It always kept me guessing.  At one point, I swore that I knew what was going on, only to be thrown for loop and then another after that.
Overall, I would recommend reading this book.  Its fun and when you want a light hearted read to sit back and enjoy, this is perfect.  I might even try the second book in the series to see how Kate’s story continues.  However, that will have to be after I finish all the other books I have and are due back at the library.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to leave to take my kids to soccer practice…

Be sure to come back for more honest and entertaining book reviews!

Happy reading, everyone!!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

HALF A CHANCE by Cynthia Lord (Adult & Young Reader review included)

It was unknown to my ten year old son when he picked up this book that I had taken four years of photography in school and had majored in the subject for three years in college.  Therefore, when the girl started talking about backgrounds, subjects, lighting and F-stops, it was easy for me to follow right along with her.
Here’s the third book in our Mother – Son Book Club!

“I’m here. Where are you?”     ~    “I’m here!”

HALF A CHANCE by Cynthia Lord

2016 Mark Twain Nominee


When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera's lens, as her father has taught her -- he's a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he's judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough.

As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn't want to see: his grandmother's memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.


2.5 out of 5 *Stars*

I have to be completely honest here… I don’t believe there was anything about this book that will stay with me.  It was a quick and easy read, I’ll give it that, but it lacked the emotion that I like to feel when being drawn into a new book.
It centered on a girl, Lucy, who was desperate for more love and attention from her father.  So desperate that she entered a photography contest that was being judged by him, so he could see how truly good she was.  In turn, he would find her more fascinating than the things that kept pulling him away across the world.  
Teamed up with new neighbors that quickly become her friends, she checks off all the topics for the photography scavenger hunt, each chapter being labeled a certain category, and ends up learning more about life, sorrow and the ordinary beauty that surrounds us every day.    
“Even in the midst of horrible things, there are little bits of wonder, and all of its true.”
By the end of the book, after Lucy helped a family of loons as well as getting to know Grandma Lilah and her family, Lucy understood exactly what her father meant when he spoke those words.
With this book heavily dipped into the world of photography, you can only imagine how descriptive the scenes became.  As Lucy positioned her camera for a shot, she took into count the lighting, the background, the subject, the smell, and the overall feeling the picture brought forth in people.  This book captured all of that, and made it easily flow.  I never felt like a scene ran on too long to incorporate all of the information.
It was the plot that had me so unengaged. I know that there was supposed to be a profound message, and I got the meaning, but I had to dig deep to find it.  The story focused so much on the photography aspect and not enough on the emotion and action behind the camera.  It’s no surprise if someone believed that’s all the book had to offer; shutter speeds and backlighting…

************************* Young Reader Review ***************************

There’s not too much I have to say about this book.  I had a hard time connecting with it because of how much it talked about the photography.  I didn’t understand why it had to be like that because it made me lose track of what was going on with the characters. 

However I did like when they went to go visit the loons. It felt as if I was right there with them.  However, because of this, the part that I disliked the most ALSO included the loons. I won’t give anything away, but I will just say that it’s sad. 

I’m not sure that I liked the book too much, but I didn’t hate it either.  It was just a book.
Thank you.


Overall, I just didn’t connect with this story. It was a fast read that was cute and had great scenic descriptions, but I was constantly asking, “Why was the scene written, did it even need to be in there?”  I couldn’t help but analyze the book.  It was written in a way where getting lost in the story was nearly impossible.  I would probably direct someone to a more entertaining read, if asked.  Harsh, but true.
Until next time…

Happy Reading, Everyone!

“Goodbye isn’t the worst thing in the world. Sometimes it’s simply time to go.”

For more on this book and where you can find it, click here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

THE PLAYER by Kresley Cole

Lets start off this 2017 New Year with a good one! What better than one by my favorite author!?!

THE PLAYER by Kresley Cole


In this searing stand-alone installment of the erotic Game Maker Series, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole brings readers a tale of a man wracked with dark desires and the beautiful young woman who could sate him at last.

A madman with a shadowed past . . .

In the City of Sin, Dmitri Sevastyan finds her, Victoria Valentine--sexy, vulnerable, and in need of a protector. Obsession takes root deep inside him. Despite a history tainted with violation and betrayal, he will stop at nothing to possess her.

A grifter with nothing to lose . . .

Descended from a long line of con artists, twenty-three-year-old Victoria, a.k.a Vice, needs the score of a lifetime to keep her loved ones safe. She sets her sights on gorgeous and rich Dmitri Sevastyan. Even as the irresistible Russian toys with her body and mind, he tempts her heart.

Love is the ultimate wildcard.
When Vice and her associates maneuver Dmitri into a hasty Vegas wedding, he refuses to protect himself with a prenup, trusting her with all that he has. But can she trust him? As secrets unfold, the newlyweds share days of doubts and nights of the wickedest pleasures. Yet once Vice discovers her husband's past, will she stay to fight for her marriage or cut her losses and run?

5 out of 5 *Stars*

“Getting played never felt so good.”

Holy Cow! Kresley Cole has done it again.  I swear, I can’t figure out what my favorite series is of hers.  Every time I read a new book, the series it’s in becomes my new favorite series.  Right now, I’m loving me some hot Russians!
The Game Maker Series started off with The Professional…  A great book.  However, when book 2, The Master, came out, it became my favorite book of all time.  Now we have The Player.  I still believe Book 2 is my favorite, but this one is right up there close to it.

This book has drama, suspense, and A LOT of “make your body heat up till you need to fan yourself” love scenes. Page 1 draws you quickly into the story, and by the time you get to page 11, you’re hooked with no chance of putting it down until the book is finished. 

The characters were so compelling that your heart aches for them.  You NEED them to get their happily ever after! The sub characters were interesting as well, and any scene that involved them was just as entertaining as the last.  Not only that, the main characters from the first two books make a couple appearances.  The witty banter and heart melting connection is just as strong as in the other books.

The only criticism I have is that I wish there was a stronger conflict that the characters had to overcome, or even a villain.  The first two books had a conflict that made it seem almost impossible to overcome.  With this book, the way it ended was surprising, but it was always a given that everything would work out in the end.  I was waiting for that ultimate obstacle that really never came. 

Even with that, I’m still giving this book 5 stars.  It was a very entertaining and scandalous read that I would be happy to read again.  I wouldn’t expect any less from an author as talented as Kresley Cole!

Until next time…

Happy Reading, Everyone!!

For more on this book and where you can find it, click here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A MILLION WAYS HOME by Dianna Dorisi Winget (Adult & Young Reader review included)

I swear my son is reading these books faster than I can keep up! He actually finished this one before I had time to read past page two.  Here is the next book in our Mother-Son Book Club.

                                   Dianna Dorisi Winget


Poppy's life has been turned upside down after her grandma (and guardian) had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. But Poppy is working on a plan to help Grandma Beth so their life together can go back to normal. But when she witnesses an armed robbery, "back to normal" slips even further out of her reach. To keep Poppy safe, the budget-strapped police devise an unusual "witness protection program," wherein Poppy will stay with Detective Brannigan's mother. Soon Poppy is feeling almost at home, even making sort-of friends with a girl named Lizzie and definitely friending Gunner, a beautiful dog with an uncertain fate. But it's still not home. So while she and Lizzie navigate a rocky friendship and plot to save Gunner's life, Poppy also tries to figure out a new plan to save Grandma Beth and their home, all while avoiding a dangerous robber who might be searching for her. But what if Grandma Beth can never come home and the robber is put behind bars? What will happen to Poppy then?

4.5 out of 5 *Stars*

I couldn’t tell my son enough how much I loved that he chose this book for us to read.  I thoroughly enjoyed this Mark Twain Nominee.  This book shows a young girl’s struggle to make peace with life changing events, and to ultimately find where she truly belongs… her home.   

The story quickly took an eventful start, and never slowed down to take a breath.  In 242 pages, there was a heinous crime, enemies made, friendships started, illness, sadness, and life altering situations. 

Poppy is a self-sufficient and stubborn twelve year old.  She has the same stubbornness that I see every day in my own children.  It was hard to read about Grandma Beth because it reminded me so much of when my own grandmother got sick.  I started to notice the little changes in her appearance and hated that she wasn’t feeling better.  I never wanted to believe that she was really as sick as she was, and the thought never occurred to me that she would never get better.  When reading the emotions and thoughts going through twelve year old Poppy’s mind regarding her grandma, it brought the exact same emotions flooding back to me, and I was thirty when my grandma got sick.  Winget, the author, could not have hit this one more perfectly!

Everything that happened in the book, needed to happen.  There were no added characters or events that were meaningless. 

o   Did Grandma Beth have to get sick? Yes, because Poppy would have never been at that convenient store.

o   Did the robbery have to happen? Yes, because then Poppy never would have met Trey, his mom, and her friends.

o   Did the story of Gunner have to be there? Yes, because he gave Poppy a sense of direction when she felt so lost, and in helping him with his problems, she unexpectedly got answers to her own set as well.

o   What about the story of Virginia?  Of course, because Trey might not of been so adamant to help without that being part of his past. 

This was a great book.  If there was one thing I wish, is that there would have been an epilogue or one extra chapter.  For two days, my brain kept wanting to go back and finish reading the book before I remembered that I already had.  It wasn’t until my son pointed out all the loose ends that I figured out what the issue was.  I wanted to know what happened after the smoke cleared, maybe jump ahead a year later to clear up any unresolved question, because there were a lot.

********************5th Grade Student Review********************

I believe this to be the best book I have ever read!  The very beginning was full of suspense when the robbery happened and turned out to be my favorite part of the book.  Out of all the “human” characters, Poppy was my favorite.  I liked how she was the only one to believe in the Gunner.  The shelter dog, Gunner, would be my overall favorite character, and I really enjoyed reading his journey. 

Even though I enjoyed the book, I didn’t like reading about Grandma Beth, it was too sad.  I also wish more would have been said about Gunner and what happened to him in the end.  It felt like it was too short of a story.

I still really enjoyed the book, and would tell anyone to read it.  Thank you.


Overall, this was a really good book.  It makes me really glad to be in this Mother-Son Book Club because I never would have picked up this book without it, and that would have been a shame.  It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, this is a book that needs to be read.  Make sure you grab a box of tissue though, because you’ll need it.   

Until next time…
Happy Reading, Everyone!!!