Here and Gone needs to go away and return as a true mystery


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Told from multiply points of view, ‘Here and Gone’ by Haylen Beck starts with the basic idea of Audra running away with her two children from her awful marriage.  She gets pulled over in a small town, is arrested and suddenly the children disappear. You soon find out who has the kids and kind of why but once your over that shock the book starts to drag a lot.

Psychological thriller this is not! A bigger twist would have been had Audra really done something to the kids or better yet had no kids with her at all. Maybe it would have been better had the story only been told from Audra’s point of view, because you know she’s telling the truth and in a mystery book where’s the fun in that?!?!

I really liked the character of Danny, who has something like this happen to him a long time ago. Yet it felt like Danny could have solved this case a long time ago.

A lot expected things happen: Drug addict mother, abusive father, evil/cold mother in law, dumb cops…I mean the works. I almost feel like I’ve read or seen this before.

My issue with this book is that none of the characters are really unlikeable.

I didn’t want to spend time with them.

Sean and Louise (the children) are unpleasant. Louise might be younger but just never senses any danger.

The book was ok and would have rated it high but the ending felt very, very rushed and very forced.

Yes you find out that Danny got his revenge (yeah!!) but did he ever find his daughter? Is she alive or dead? How many other children did he save?

The dark web wants these kids but it never says for what…sure its for nothing good but still.

But the issue is that it just kind of ends not letting you know how many other kids had gone missing over the years.

Also some of the Forensic science seemed off.

Another issue is that Danny’s wife Mya killed herself but saying time and again that Mya was weak but Audra is not that felt very, very wrong. I did not like those comparisons at all.

The character of Collins is another sticking point for me. She has a very sick child at home and really needs the money. Yet she gets killed asap and there is never any mention of her very sick son. She gets killed and that’s it. There is also no way that she would treat these kids like that. It just didn’t seem to fit.

So all in all not the greatest mystery. I really was hoping for a big twist and in the end nothing really happens. You just know it will all end well. We are suppose to feel happy that this family survived but by never connecting with the characters it kind of feels like a let down.

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


Where’s the magic?!


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Where’s the magic?!

I was so excited to get this book ‘The Midnight Queen: A Noctis Magicae Novel’ by Sylvia Izzo Hunter. A tale filled with magic and mystery….I got anything but that.

The biggest issue with this book is that it starts out with a fight and your kind of lost as to what’s going on and who’s who. So many names and places being tossed about. Then its takes about 50 to almost 100 pages to get the mystery started.

As a reader you think ‘finally we get to the good stuff’….A possible assassination attempt, a missing princess, magic bring it on…and yet this book drags. There is no sense of urgency. There is just all this information being tossed at you, information instead of magic. I was expecting more magic but there are long, long, long moments of talking, where nothing happens and its just down right boring.

You have one or two funny moments such as Gray as an owl vs the window but it falls flat.

I did find Mrs Wallis funny, and I did like Joanna.

But its just I never connected with this book. I really could not find myself caring about Sophie or Gray.

Gray is nice and Sophie is smart but its an instant love story with characters I never connected with. I wasn’t interested in this journey they took.

Another issue is that the character of Gray stutters at first. Now instead of saying ‘gray, when nervous slightly stuttered’ one gets ‘h..h…h….hello sir..’ I don’t need to read all his stuttering.

I put the book down a number of times and had to force myself to finish it. A quick search informed me that there are two more books that follow this one. I shall not be reading them.

It was not a magical story for me.

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

Toss this book back into the Arena


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Arena, sounds interesting, Virtual Gaming is the new sport with gladiators being the players. That’s what you will find in Holly Jennings  book ‘Arena’.  That idea is all I liked. The rest of the book is awful.

The main character of Kali Ling, try as I might I could not connect with her or even really care about her issues or what happens to her or her team. I’m not sure why but the character never really popped for me.

The constant drug use was a put off. Its drugs, drugs and more drugs. The forced love interest is a  joke. This is romance? Wow from people who hate each other to lovers never read that before (rolls eyes). The sex scenes were laughable to say the least.

The only moment I thought was cute was that the new guy, rooke, would bring her a book and she’d drop it off the next day at his door.

The death of a player early on never hits home and the the rest of her ‘team’ never stand out. I can’t tell them apart and really you come to the point you don’t care.

I have read better fan fiction and other first time novelist then this book. Like say Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black see review 

Its like the author was stuck in the Virtual Gaming world and wanted to stay there more then being worried about building the characters.

I mean your in a VR world and yet its always a castle? Why not  under water or a race way? Change it up?!?!

Also what’s suppose to make this team good? They don’t get along so why are they a good team? How long have they been together?

Why is Kali so good because I saw none of that. They almost lost because they didn’t view other teams as an issue. And in the end I almost wish they had lost because that would have been a twist I was not expecting.

Oh and while we are at it why should I care if this team wins or not? Well I mean unless you worry about them not making all this money or the sponsors dropping them. But they must win because of there dead ‘teammate’ and because of the fame and money. There are no consequences in the end. Now I’m not saying make this like hunger games but at least make it have some kind of consequence. Money should NOT be a consequence.

But wait Kali is SO good she wants to be a team owner and change the industry?!?!? Change what? But she will not take her team because they need to make names for themselves. Ummmm yeah.

In the end I found myself ready to hit the escape button.

Side note I read that this book got a sequel?!?! That I can guarantee you I will not be picking up.

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

Finally a good sci-fi story!



‘Ninth City Burning’ by J. Patrick Black now this is what I call scifi. Humans fighting back against an alien invasion. Now your talking. Sure we never find out why we are fighting them but that’s besides the point.

I have to say the book description is not fully accurate. Jax to me was never the main character, neither is Naomi. To me the main character that connected everyone was Rae. As a reader I wanted to spend time with Rae and follow her story and how she has to switch from one culture to another. To be placed in a class with kids much younger then her. To me she was the most interesting part of the story, no one else.

Yes you follow a few other characters as well and you are able to keep them apart. A few times the description goes a little long with too much details. At times Kizabel has a little too much information. We get it. Or the battles yeah we really get it. Sure your creating a new world so I was ok with certain amount of detail but sometimes there was too much.

Sure never really know the reason behind the war but I loved the hints at valentines day. See someone didn’t get enough chocolates!!!

Jax’s past was missing but since I really wasn’t too into him I can easily overlook it.

I was bother that a moment was missing when Rae goes off to battle and her sister, Naomi, doesn’t say goodbye. Or at times I felt Naomi needed to be a little more worried about Rae. That really is one thing that bothered me about the book. These are sisters and I felt like it was always more Rae being worried about Naomi not the other way around.

The magic elements were kind of cool. Not really sure why there’s a link to the old glasses or certain older elements but hey its scifi. You just go with it.

I enjoyed how the book ends. Sure one could add another book or two but I will simply say please no. The book ends on a good note leave it at that. Don’t drag it out. But I would not be shocked if they’d made this into a movie.

Its a good scifi book that stands on its own.

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

The ‘Little French Bistro’ needs some spice

I was enchanted by ‘the little paris bookshop’ and could not wait to read ‘The Little French Bistro’ by Nina George, sadly instead of being enchanted I ended up being a little let down.

‘The Little French Bistro’ centers on the character of Marianne. Yes she is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage for over 40 years…so why not leave sooner? 41 years is a long time.

The book starts off dark (ie her wanting to end her life in the Seine) and only when she is saved does the book a lighten up. But the characters never really pop for me and Marianne seems to know to much at times (certain tricks in the kitchen even a chef does not know?)

Basically Marianne leaves and finds happiness elsewhere. Honestly it was like a lot of other books I read, very cookie cutter. Sure it has some nice/funny moments such as being naked on the boat or helping to delivery a baby. But it just felt very average.

(Side note the use French  phrases without being translated becomes distracting after a while)

For me the its a very predictable book, you knew the outcome before it ends.  I did like the cooking moments, in that it almost reminded me of the charming movie ‘the 100 foot journey’ which was much better then this book. But in the end for me this book was just average. There was nothing really different about it. Now had she maybe had a barge and started cooking on that, that might have spiced it up a little.

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

Green is Golden!!

No I’m not talking money…I’m talking about the amazing ‘The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More Than 175 Recipes Hardcover ‘ by Jenn Louis and Kathleen Squires.

Now this is my kind of cook book. First off its a good size and hardcover which is a must in the kitchen. But what makes this book stand out is how its all set up.

I would like to point out the seasonal chart that breaks down the greens of the seasons. Its interesting to see what overlaps.

Now some of the greens I knew about but others not so much. Some I am pretty sure I will have a hard time finding, but that’s ok.

I like how ever green vegetable/herb is photographed. Then you have some facts about the greens and its varieties.

Telling you what season its in. How to choose, clean and store it. What I really like is the hint of how to refresh the greens. Because nothing is worst when it goes limp.

Some additional cooking methods and pairings of the greens are also listed.

Then come the recipes that are simple to follow which is good. Nothing worst them 40 steps. Also a wonderful picture of one of the finished meals.

As for the recipes we are not just talking salads but soups, fish, pasta, drinks, sweets, veggie/meaty main meals and some nice basics as well. So a really nice well rounded book. I mean you’ve got over 175 recipes your bound to like something.

So eat some greens and enjoy. And when all else fails put it into a pancake!

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

Keep it in the dark

Reading the description of ‘Long Black Veil’ by Jennifer Finney Boylan I was expecting a thrilling mystery… instead I got a book that was nothing like it.

First issue is I never connected or even cared about any of these characters. They are unlikeable and crazy and you just don’t care.  I could not keep them apart or even picture what they look like. The book starts out with 6 people, a kid and a professor? Yeah far too many people.

You end up with odd names like Backflip Bob, Falcon, Tripper, Pennypacker but again you can’t keep them apart or care how or why they are connected.

This book kept bouncing around a lot between characters and time. It would have been much better to focus on the one character of Judith who really has the most backstory and instead focus on her mystery (which I liked). That would have made a better book.

The only moment I liked was when they were all trapped in the jail and the comment of ‘I’m trapped’ hints at something else and becomes a double meaning. But one line is not enough for me to recommend this book.

This book also has some guy who is euthanizing pets?!?!?

I also found it insulting to call the german language a ‘language that sucked the beauty directly from the air.’  What is that? Also what ‘the black speech in Tolkien has to do with Hitler’ be beyond me. Does not add to the book. Acaully made me dislike it even more so.

I also kept rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue that made it sound like a teenage romance novel.

One time you have almost two paragraphs talking about comfort food. So much so I was expecting recipes on the following page.

So this book needs to be sent back to the editor. Focus on one character one could care about. Not this…whatever it is. Truthfully I have read better fan fiction then this.

By the time I got to the end of the book I had no idea who had been killed or why and to be honest I no longer cared.

The Long Black Veil needs to be shoved back into the dark.

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

The Apache Wars



I was really excited to read about this part of American history in ‘The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History by Paul Andrew Hutton. I had been watching a few Errol Flynn and John Wayne westerns at the moment that a times hint at this subject so I thought why not.

The first 50 to 100  pages of ‘The Apache Wars’ are good. You learn about Mickey’s kidnaping and also about Geronimo so I found that very intriguing as well as some of the traditions. Then it went down hill. This book has nothing but facts that just keep coming and coming. After a while you can’t tell the people apart, the places it really starts to slow down the book.

All the places listed listen I can’t keep every river and valley apart. Yes there is a map at the start of this book but you come to the point where you’ve flipped to much and are sick of it. Also all the tribes start to mix with each other and your eyes start to glaze over and you don’t remember what you’ve read for the last 20 or so odd pages.

I also found some stories being glossed over. Such as the mention of the kidnapping of Little Charley McComas. Well did they ever find him? Did he ever go back home? I mean the fact that I have to google the answer is just wrong. And ironic because the book is all facts.

This book also jumps around a lot which didn’t help. Which is where a timetable would have greatly helped.

The only thing I did enjoy was the old photo’s included in the book.

What one gets out of this book is that it was a very violent time.

If your hooked on this part of history and know the area and all the parties involved then this book is for you.

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

Travel time

They say never judge a book by its cover well I did in the case of ‘How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip’  by Hitha Palepu and it turned out to be a cute small book. Could I find some of these tips online sure but a book is much better. That being said the title ‘How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip ‘ is misleading. This book is aimed more towards the first time domestic traveler or business traveler.

Being a world traveler myself I can tell you some of the tips would not work on a 4 week long world trip.

Where one can lose luggage or have to wait days for it to arrive (which is where travel insurance is helpful). Hence my travel tip of ‘pack as if your going to lose it’ comes in. (Hey maybe I could get a book deal! LOL)

Those are the kinds of trips where one has to deal with jet lag or adapter’s as well as a number of other issues. Not to mention bringing gifts for family and friends.

I did find Hitha Palepu’s comments on cocoanut oil very interesting.

Some of the tips are good. As well as reminding people to get out and enjoy the city when you arrive.

And remember if you forget something you can always buy it at your end destinations.

The most important item when you travel is your papers and medication. Check, check and recheck.

Folding versus Rolling was interesting and yes this book is a fun and fast read. Cute drawings as well.

One important item the book misses is where are you staying? Hotel? Family/friends? Because certain items don’t need to be packed and leaves more room for say other items aka souvenirs.

Example: When your on a trip you can always buy that extra vacation T-shirt so you don’t have to take so many T-shirts with you.

Other questions started to pop up such as how are you flying? Domestic or International? Are you in couch or first/business class? If your in first/business you get a lot of items that she advises to pack. And snacks for an International trip are not good because upon arrival you have to dump any fruits/veggies/cheese ec you did not eat.  PLus the travel lounge is open to certain fliers so they feed you well.

And this is just me but I am someone who can leave my computer/electronics at home when on vacation.

I rolled my eyes at the tea bags on your eyes…I think not! But true about the airplane being full of germs.

I did like the little list at the end of the book that could easily be pulled out. So that was a plus.

The book is nice and again depending on the type of traveler you are this might be helpful.

Read it and enjoy your trip.

Side note: one little tiny item that bugged me was that there was no photo of the author?

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

Queen of Soaps

I am not a soap watcher but I know some people who are hooked on them and I wanted to know more about the behind the scenes process so that is why I picked up ‘My Life to Live How I Became the Queen of Soaps When Men Ruled the Airwaves’ by Agnes Nixon. Well that and the foreword was written by Carol Burnett, who’s book I had just read a while back (see review )

What I found interesting is how intense it is to write a soap or the even the process of writing for radio. The day in and day out of nothing but writing.

I enjoyed the first half of this book about Agnes Nixon growing up, her family and how she went from college to writing for radio. It had some funny moments. I did feel like the second half of the book dragged a little.

Such as when she talked certain story lines in her soap’s I felt a little lost. Maybe someone who watched the show and knew the characters it would have been great but for me it just kind of mingled together. (I won’t have minded a joke about how long soaps drag out a story line. )

But two things that bugged me were as follows:

She mentions her mother passing away, but I would like to have known how old her mother was.

The same when it says that Agnes Nixon died, well how old was she? Sure I could google it (which I did) but I want the information on hand then and there.

I did like that the book included Agnes Nixon’s entire script that got her started (and also why she wrote it)

I found it interesting how in a day before internet the audience was so connected with a show. And how it moved people to go to the doctor or ask for help. One really no longer gets that these days. Also having her show touch on some political and day to day themes was interesting. It seems she had the right balance on her show.

I would have liked to have seen a  few questions answered:

Did she feel its easier or harder to produce a show like this now a days?

Advice to any young writers?

Did she ever  appear on her show?

How would she have ended her shows?

So just a few things. I think if your a soap fan this book is for you.

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