Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: Divine Hotel: Time Travel Mystery

Divine Hotel: Time Travel Mystery Divine Hotel: Time Travel Mystery by Nicole Loughan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Divine Hotel is a run-down landmark and the place where Sarah, a social worker, finds her latest clients. Through a series of strange events, Sarah is met with someone who wants to help change the past in order to save lives. She can do this all if she can learn how to effectively use a ring that helps her time travel.

The initial premise of this book as a time travel mystery is what drew me to it, but once in the middle of the book, it is put on the back burner for the most part. There are many subplots that try to take over the story, some connected to time travel and some not. This subplots range from the plight of Sarah's latest clients to the history of the Divine Hotel to including infamous cult leaders. In what appeared to be a lighter mystery book, that threw me for a loop.

The book does clear up most of the mystery at the end (a little too neatly, in my opinion). What fascinated me was the few pages the author talked about the real history of the hotel, the organization that ran it, and what parts of the real story were included in the novel. Other than that, I don't think I got what I expected when I started reading it.

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Book Spotlight: The Tattoo




All Stacie wants is a tattoo, but her mother isn't having any of it.

What is wrong with a little tattoo? Everyone her age has one, and it's so cool! This is the 21st century, and a little tattoo is not that big of a deal!

But Stacie's mom, Connie, can't understand that. According to Stacie, Connie is too old and outdated to understand what's cool today. But soon, a visit to Stacie's grandma will change the way Stacie thinks.

Stacie's grandma notices how upset Stacie is with her mom, so she asks what happened.

Grandma then reveals to Stacie that her mom was just like Stacie when she was younger. In fact, she was a bit of a trouble! And she wanted a tattoo, as well!

Then grandma goes on by revealing a big secret to Stacie, who is very surprised! What is the big secret that will make Stacie change her mind? The answer is written in The Tattoo.

This book is available from Amazon, Destra World Books Publishing or direct from the author's website

About the Author:

Ronald Destra is a Floridian author, illustrator, publisher, and entrepreneur. Each of his books has a unique storyline that appeals to young ones, while teaching them about heavy subjects.

His books include: Best Friends, Santa's Little Helper, The Birthday Party, Hoppy the Frog, Tommy the Giraffe, The Little Hero, Fluffy the Bird, The Tattoo, Scrappy the Dog and many more.

Ronald Destra is the co-founder of Destra World Books Publishing. His passion is to help younger children learn that they do have a purpose in life and to never give up. 

 For more information, please visit RonaldDestra.com and DestraWorldBooksPublishing.com.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Speak to My Heart

Speak to My Heart Speak to My Heart by Rebecca Talley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hailey loves her accounting job, but when her grandpa suffers a stroke, she is compelled to go and stay with her grandparents for awhile to help out. What she didn't know was that Gramps's speech therapist, Peter, would be much more than professional help. With both of them just still getting over difficult breakups, can anything come of it?

This is a sweet romance novel that in a way is completely predictable, but there are still a few surprises that readers may not expect. Readers will love and empathize with Hailey, and root for her until the last page.

The only real problem with this novel is that issues are emphasized by repetition. First the action and dialogue show the issue, Hailey thinks about the issue, then the narration reiterates the issue. This type of repetition isn't necessary and gets old quick, especially when it comes to the subplot about Aunt Regina. The reader catches on quickly she's not necessarily a good person--we don't need to be told multiple times in the same paragraph.

*Book provided by Kindle Scout

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address

Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address by Stephen Birmingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life at the Dakota is a strange, unconventional and often times wonderful place. It's exclusivity doesn't allow many people to see these sides of it, but in Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address, Stephen Birmingham gives everyone a glimpse at the luxury life that was originally referred to as Clark's Folly.

This book does a good job at covering the history of Edward Clark, the building's founder, as well as the building itself. And along with that, you can't forget to include some history of New York itself and New York high society, including both inherited wealth as well as the nouveau riche. You get the inside scoop about the good and the bad side of tenants, from in-fighting, bigotry and wild parties to completely renovating the history out of certain apartments. The place also has plenty of ghosts to keep residents and readers busy.

What you won't discover in this book is anything to do with modern-day living in the Dakota. I didn't realize that this was not a comprehensive history of the building until about halfway through the book, when you realize some of the living tenants the author interviewed are long gone. The book was actually published in 1979, so more modern events (including John Lennon's death) are not addressed in the book. Some versions apparently have an additional afterward, but my copy did not. If you want to know what's going on there these days, the one-bedroom #97 is available for a cool $1.69 million (not that I've been looking or anything...).

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Review: Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story by Debbie Tung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being an introvert isn't easy in a world that's so connected. However, there are ways that introverts can find their space and use their unique strengths to do some good in the world. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World is the story of an introvert transitioning from the end of school to the beginning of a career and adulthood in general. And it's a extroverted minefield out there.

The drawings are cute and relatable without being overly weighed down with emotion. In terms of the content, I think that every introvert will find a bit of comfort in reading about how someone else is dealing with the same issues, because it isn't always easy to connect with other introverts out in the real world. It was so relatable to me personally that I just want to go out and buy a copy to carry with me, and when the next person says, "Hey, why are you always so quiet?" I can hand them the book and tell them to read it.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Review: Pure Hollywood: And Other Stories

Pure Hollywood: And Other Stories Pure Hollywood: And Other Stories by Christine Schutt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Pure Hollywood is a collection of stories that explores different relationships, including siblings, parents and children, husbands and wives, set everywhere from the California desert to a train station in Connecticut. The stories vary in length, from the long title story to shorter glimpse of life, more like character sketches than actual stories.

What this story collection doesn't contain is a real way of getting the reader connected with the main characters in each story. Although the descriptions of places and things are fluid and sometimes vibrant, if I can't connect to a character's motivations or hindrances for having any motivation, I feel like I'm wasting my time. These characters just didn't interest me, and it seemed like the characters themselves don't really want the readers to be interested in them, either. I doubt readers who truly love the short story form will find anything they like in this collection.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Book Spotlight: Everything You've Ever Done




An amazing memoir... You'll fall in love with this young couple! Amelia & Dave have a full and carefree life together. Then Dave begins to have bizarre personality changes, and their lives spin out of control. Forced to face a terrifying reality, they find spiritual discovery and unconditional love. A powerful (and true!) story.

The book is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle format from Amazon.

About the Author:

Amelia Marie Whalen encourages people to let go of fear and allow love. Through her experiences she has learned to face death and grief with an open heart. She is a rock climber and mountain bike rider with a deep appreciation of nature and adventure. She works as a technical writer and graphic designer.

Visit www.EverythingYouveEverDone.com for more information about the book and the author.