Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Final Justice Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

34. Final Justice by W. E. B. Griffin
      Theme/Topic: book that takes place in your hometown

Newly promoted to sergeant, Philadelphia detective Matt Payne finds himself in the middle of three assignments at once: trying to nail down a cop killer, a serial rapist, and a murderer who fled to France 20 years ago. It's enough to burn out any cop. But Payne's not just any cop. And he's about to show the bad guys that there's no place they can hide from him-or from justice.

My Review:
This is book eight in a series. I did not realize it was part of a series until after I started to read it. Regardless, the story pretty much tells you what happened before. Those parts did get a little long, though, which prevented the actual story from moving forward. I would have preferred the background story in those instances to be more condensed.

Matt is good at what he does and is driven in pursuing the criminals he's after no matter what it takes. And then there's the seniority ones who are worried that Matt is only getting promotions because of his dad, who happened to be a cop as well. They are rightful to think that Matt doesn't have as much experience as he's younger. Then again, Matt seems very capable and knowledgeable about police procedures and everything like that.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Play Dead Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

33. Play Dead by Leslie O'Kane
      Theme/Topic: book based entirely on its cover

Meet Allie Babcock, an intrepid dog therapist with a knack for sleuthing. After Allie Babcock sets up shop in Boulder, her first client is a despondent collie whose previous owner apparently took her own life. But Allie soon suspects murder--and figures her canine client was a witness to the crime. Allie is quickly on the case when a second murder stops her investigation. Before making another move, she counts her enemies: several suspicious dog owners, a violent boyfriend demanding vengeance, and a mysterious door-to-door salesman with a bizarre story to tell. One thing's for certain: All of them deserve a serious once-over--or Allie's own life may be brought to a heel.

My Review:
A great read and mystery involving dogs. It had an assortment of odd characters but made the story unique. Allie is someone who's genuinely great with dogs. I appreciated that one of the characters was afraid of dogs. That hits close to home as I am actually afraid of dogs myself. Without going into too much detail, something happened when I was a child around 8 I think and I haven't been able to get over the fear. Don't get me wrong, though. I happen to like dogs, I just can't stand to be around them and somehow tolerate them when I have no choice but to.

Q: What's your favorite type/breed of dog?
A: My favorite breed is either a golden retriever or a husky.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

An Irish Country Doctor Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

32. An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
      Theme/Topic: book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit (Ireland)

Barry Laverty, M.B., can barely find the Northern Ireland village of Ballybucklebo on a map when he first sets out to seek gainful employment there. But Barry jumps at the chance to secure a position as an assistant in a small rural practice. At least until he meets Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly. The older physician has his own way of doing things. At first, Barry can't decide if the pugnacious O'Reilly is the biggest charlatan he has ever met or the best teacher he could ever hope for. Through O'Reilly, Barry soon gets to know all of the village's colourful and endearing residents and a host of other eccentric characters who make every day an education for the inexperienced young doctor. Ballybucklebo is a long way from Belfast, and Barry is quick to discover that he still has a lot to learn about country life. But with pluck and compassion, and only the slightest touch of blarney, he will find out more about life--and love--than he ever imagined back in medical school.

My Review:
This was a great and entertaining as well. I thought Fingal was hardcore and abrasive at first. Although, I have to say that I liked how he had a rough exterior, but passionate on the inside. There's nothing wrong with being that way, especially with doctors in a way, because I'm sure that they've seen it all. I enjoyed the relationship between an experienced older doctor (Fingal) and a fresh young doctor (Barry). Most young doctors can act like hotshots, but Barry didn't come across that way. Barry seemed to be very passionate about his line of work. He offered up a new perspective in Fingal's office (and house visits) and able to pick up on things if it just happened to be overlooked by Fingal. It was interesting getting to know the people of Ballybucklebo.

It's no secret that An Irish Country Doctor takes place in Ireland. I have always liked to travel and see new places. There are a lot of places that I would like to visit, but Ireland is at the top of my list. I am Irish on my mother's side and that's one of my reasons I want to visit Ireland. I've always heard and seen that Ireland's such a lovely country.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Finding Margo Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

31. Finding Margo by Susanne O'Leary
      Theme/Topic: book set in a different county (France)

When Margo misreads a roadmap while travelling by car through France, her husband Alan flies into one of his usual rages. Tired of his constant bad moods, Margo slips away from him at a motorway café. She hitches a lift with a woman truck driver and escapes into the French countryside. What follows is adventure and romance far beyond her wildest dreams. Will Alan find her before she finds herself? 

My Review:
I struggled with this review because even though I didn't particularly enjoy the book, there was something to take away from it.

While at a motorway café (service plaza kind of thing), Margo essentially reaches her breaking point and decides to leave her abusive (emotional/mental as supposed to physical) husband. She leaves everything behind except the clothes on her back and starts a whole new life. That makes this book a coming of age journey in that sense.

Here's the thing. I didn't like the way she left him. If that was me, I would have told him straightforward that I wanted out of the marriage and moved out of the house. And then proceed with a divorce. I tend to think that couples get divorced over the littlest things, instead of trying to work it our first through counseling or some other way. Not to mention that she ends up falling for another guy who is pretty much the same type of person as Alan. To me, the story lacked that special something and lacked interest.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


It's Christmas Time; Sunday Funday

It's Christmas Time

Christmas is a few days away. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year for many reasons. Through the years, I have a lot of fond memories of the holiday season. Growing up, my family always started out Christmas day by going to Church first. After eating breakfast and sometimes waiting for my dad to get there, it was finally time to open up gifts from Santa and of course, my parents. My parents got divorced when I was little and even though my brother and I lived with our mom, we still got to see dad practically every day, even if for a few hours. I think they wanted us to have a normal life as possible, so things were a little bit different in our case. After we opened our gifts, we could play for a little while. In the afternoon (or at night), it was time to go to grandma's. Of course, there were more gifts to open. All the grandchildren would have a stocking overflowing with all kinds of things, including fruit. However, we also got to spend time with our aunts, uncles and cousins and just have a lot of fun.

My one aunt threw a Christmas party every year for the entire family. Usually held between Christmas and New Year's, it was one of the times that everybody came together. Obviously, my aunt had a gift for every great niece and nephew (since I'm talking about my generation). When we were young, our parents would actually get a gift and then act like it came from my aunt. That way, each of us kids got what we wanted. After reaching a certain age, my aunt would give us money each year until we would get married. When it came to opening gifts, we had to go in order from youngest to oldest. Every year, without fail, my aunt would mess my birthday/age with my cousin Brian. We were both born in the same year, but he was born a couple months later than me, making him younger.

Christmas Tag Time

1. What is your favorite Christmas movie? There's so many, so I'm just going to name a few: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation; Elf; White Christmas; Christmas in Connecticut; I'll Be Home for Christmas; Miracle on 34th Street (the original one); Smoky Mountain Christmas. Also Timmy's Gift, a Precious Moments Christmas movie, and Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,

2. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning growing up, but now it's in the afternoon when family comes over.

3. Favorite Christmas memory? Mentioned that above before starting this tag.

4. Favorite festive food? It's not really festive, but we make pumpkin bread and cranberry bread for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I would say that.

5. Favorite Christmas gift? It would be a few years ago when I got a kindle. I love to read and wasn't expecting that. I believe it was also the first Christmas without my grandma and getting something big like that made me feel special.

6. Favorite Christmas scent? The smell of the Christmas tree, but I'm also allergic to that so it goes both ways.

7. Do you have any Christmas traditions? Not really, just that it's family time.

8. What tops your tree? angel

9. As a kid, what was the one gift you always asked for, but never received? I don't know, but I've always been happy with what I've gotten.

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you? Just spending time with my family. Christmas is also my cousin's birthday so it's always been special to us.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Answer: I have a few, but most definitely O Holy Night; Believe by Josh Groban; My Grown Up Christmas List; and Not Far Apart by Ryan Kelly - it's a song about knowing that our loved ones who have died are always with us and watching us from heaven and they're not far apart from us.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 18, 2015

The Fault in Our Stars Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

30. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
      Theme/Topic: book that made you cry

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Review:
I have now read this for the third time, but it fit the particular topic/theme. Geared to teens and young adults, I believe that this is the kind of book that adults can get something out of as well - The Fault in Our Stars has been listed as a young adult book that adults should read (according to Goodreads) or something similar to that. This is an example of a typical teen love story. The only difference is that they have cancer. Anybody, no matter what, deserves  to have fun and fall in love. I believe that this story represents how everyone should have an outlet to help them get through the hard times like a favorite book/author like Hazel or video games like Gus and Isaac.

Since I chose The Fault in Our Stars as the book that made me cry, I'm going to elaborate on the moments that have done exactly that. I'm going to list three examples. For the most part, they are going to be from the first time I read this (so you can get a true reaction/fresh perspective). If you haven't read this yet or seen the movie, consider yourself warned.

Spoiler Alert Warning - Spoiler Alert Warning

  1. When Gus dies. This is one moment that gets me every time. When I read this the first time, I actually never saw that coming.
  2. When Gus asks Hazel and Isaac to write an obituary for him and when they read it at the church to Gus. I can understand that Gus wants to know what they think about how he affected their lives. You don't think that somebody will ask you to write an eulogy before they die. It bothered me more when Hazel read hers.
  3. When Gus told Hazel that his cancer came back. Looking back onto it, I can say I saw it coming. To me, that moment is the turning point of the story. Since this book is based on characters with cancer, I figured that someone would die (in particular Hazel). When Gus said that he "lit up like a Christmas tree", I wasn't expecting that.
I want to mention that I have currently read 38 books so far and am close to finishing two more at the moment.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'm Back, Announcements

First and foremost, I wanted to apologize for not blogging/posting for a few weeks. In November, I lost two family members within ten days, with the second one being right before Thanksgiving. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had to pack and go out of town for the funeral that Monday. That week was really strange for me as we left on Saturday, had the viewing Sunday, the funeral Monday, left Monday night to come back home and got back home early Tuesday morning. It's a roughly seven hour trip. Anyway, everything left me exhausted the rest of the week.  Both deaths have been affecting me more than I thought they would and have made me examine my life like never before.

With that being said, I will be going back to my normal posting schedule next week. Before then, I may do a couple book reviews. I will not be posting on Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

My new blog will definitely be up in January. More details to come at the beginning of January.