Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fall Reading 2016 The Hanging Tree


Readers looking for some ghostly tales to enjoy over the Halloween holiday should give The Hanging Tree a try. Cash has combined several classic elements within his tale. On the one hand we have the trope of the young couple on a lonely road and the feeling that they are not alone. But he also adds in a rather nasty curse lingering from the days of the American colonies. And not satisfied with such a mash-up, he also includes the victims of the curse as a sort of Greek chorus commenting on the action. In such a short span of pages, the author manages to work in a rebellious teenager dealing with her parents' divorce and her father's new girlfriend, vengeful ghosts, the consequences of poor choices, and the possibility of redemption. How's that for a story to read while you await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin?

I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall Reading 2016 The Great Life Mindset: Basic Edition


Mr. Piercy has chosen to look back over the first 40 years of his adulthood and put together some advice from the lessons he has learned so far. As he puts it in his introduction, "What I'm trying to do is give you simple, easy-to-understand principles that will give you a good foundation." He begins with a discussion of finances and covers basics such as income, student loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Examples are given and explained of the outcomes different people will achieve depending on their different approach to money. The examples he gives are very common situations such as the difference between using high APR credit cards or paying and charges in full each month, or the difference between buying a new car frequently, or choosing to purchase a reliable used car instead.

The book doesn't simply talk about finances. but also tackles philosophy, health, and attitude. As you may have heard, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got!" Although this book would make a good graduation gift, it would also be helpful for someone who has already been out in the working world for a while and is trying to make some positive changes to their life. Perhaps they never seem to rise above living paycheck to paycheck, and would like tips on how to break out of that cycle and start saving and investing. (And that's just one example.)

There are motivational or thought-provoking quotes scattered throughout the book. The author also shares the story of a major turning point in his own life and how it caused him to change his mindset. A list of favorite quotes on gratitude is included at the end of the book, and there is also a recommended reading list for those who want to explore more of the sources that inspired Mr. Piercy.

If you enjoy down-to-earth advice, try Piercy's tips for yourself. If you know someone who is about to leave school and move to the next stage of their life, then this could be a quick guide book to help them start off on the right foot. And another plus is that it is a quick read, so it will not take long to look at all the advice and begin to implement it.

I received a copy from the author for review purposes.    

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fall Reading 2016 A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve

Although I have seen Mother Teresa many times in the media, I have never read a book about her before. I am glad that I chose this one. Pulling passages from her letters, speeches, and interviews, the editor has shared Teresa's thoughts on the 7 corporal and 7 spiritual works of mercy. He has then followed each of these with testimonies from various eyewitnesses to her ministry and works. At the end of each section there is a reflection on the particular work of mercy addressed, and a prayer (many of which were prayed by Mother Teresa daily).

To describe the purpose and legacy of such a long and rich life as she lived, this seems to be a good way to organize everything that is shared. Simply reading through the quotes and testimonies we can begin to grasp how far-reaching her influence was. From Albania to Calcutta, Mexico to New York, she reached out all around the globe. Her thoughts on the nature of mercy and why we should show it to others are just as relevant now as when she first wrote them. 

This would make a good book club choice, since there is so much to discuss, or it could be used for a group Bible study. It can also be enjoyed simply as the biography of a remarkable woman. Reading it will cause you to re-examine your own life and how you are choosing to live it.

Visit the publisher's website for more information about the author or the book

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

Fall Reading 2016 Wonder Woman: The True Amazon


This origin story of Wonder Woman traces back to the myth of Herakles and the golden girdle of Hippolyta. From the retreat of the Amazons to Diana's departure from the island of Themiscyra is shown. There are scenes of the women spoiling their princess, of her battles with monsters and discovery of treasures, and the fateful events that led to her exile. Yes, exile from her home and family. It's hard to imagine Wonder Woman as a selfish and willful young woman, but those are the traits she displays in this depiction. And those characteristics are what causes a tragedy on the peaceful island.

The artwork shows a variety of women in all the occupations a society needs. Some are instructors, some are advisers, some work in the stables, but they all look strong and fit and happy. The expressions on the faces clearly shows the indulgence of the women for their princess, and also captures the petulance and arrogance of Diana.

Readers who enjoy origin stories, superheroines, and tales of folly and possible redemption will enjoy this latest edition to the Wonder Woman saga.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fall Reading 2016 Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection


Jamie Quinn may only be 5'2", but she packs a lot into that petite body. Although she is a family lawyer, she seems destined to be embroiled in danger and intrigue. Whether it is her cousin being accused of murder, the husband of a client dying of an overdose, or her boyfriend being stalked by a sinister figure - Jamie is sure to be in the thick of it. She isn't in it alone though, because she has a collection of friends and acquaintances that become involved along with her. Jamie's best friend and fellow lawyer Grace helps with her contacts in D.C. and legal smarts. Her former client and friend Duke lends his P.I. expertise as it is needed. 

Author Barbara Venkataraman has created an engaging character in Jamie Quinn. She has so many adorable quirks. Her insomnia, her grouchy cat, her complete lack of athleticism, and her quest to find her long-lost father all make a believable and very sympathetic character. How can readers resist a lawyer who oversleeps, and then rushes off to court wearing mismatched shoes? One who manages to spill the entire contents of her purse while trying to fish out her cell phone? Jamie feels as if she is someone we have always known and liked.

While there is intrigue and danger, there is also plenty of humor mixed into the stories. How many mysteries start off with a music store owner being bludgeoned to death with a didgeridoo? And when was the last time you heard of a disgruntled citizen leaving a message by mowing the words "Bite me," into the grass at a public park? Even some of the character names will have you smiling, like Marmaduke Broussard III or Commissioner Dilly Williams. (I won't repeat what Jamie changes her cat's name to, you will have to find out for yourself.)

If you enjoy mysteries with humor and a little romance mixed in, then give the adventures of Jamie Quinn a try. They are the perfect way to relax after a day at work.

I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.