Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Dunning Man, by Kevin Fortuna

Sometimes, life is not neat and tidy.  Sometimes folks are just doing the best that they can.  This collection of stories helps us meet characters that we might normally simply dismiss as lowlifes, the dregs of society.  Their stories help us remember that rarely is anything black and white, all good or all bad.

This book was a very quick read, but that does not mean that it was all easy and breezy to get through.  On the contrary, I found the characters to be complex, and the stories to be quite compelling.  I found myself wondering about the characters, long after their stories ended.  That is the sign of some pretty powerful writing.

Anyone who has ever struggled (and who among us has not?) at some period of his or her life will be able to connect to the stories in this book.  Sometimes, life is hard, and we may not always handle it as well as we could.  I found that the writing was raw and honest.  This is the kind of book that really stays with you.  I am now interested in reading more by this author, perhaps something novel length.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours.  See the rest of the tour here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Heart Does Not Grow Back, by Fred Venturini

Dale was just your average high school guy.  So when he realizes, after an unfortunate incident involving his dream girl, Dale realizes he has developed the ability to regenerate limbs, he realizes he can no longer pass for average.  Eventually, Dale gets a chance to use his strange ability for extreme good, but it may his downfall.

I am a fan of dark comedy; it certainly is not for everyone, but for those who do enjoy dark or gallows humor, this is a great book.  Sometimes that darkness sheds the most light on the truth of life, and I think this book does just that. This is an incredibly mix of humor, body horror, and stark reality regarding the politics of everyday life.

The characters in the book are strongly written, and really drive the action in this story. Dale is damaged in ways to which readers will easily relate.  I found the writing to be fresh and new, and I am quite excited to see where Venturini goes from here.  All in all, a great book.

I received a review copy courtesy TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Memory Card Full, by Liz Weber

Liz was sold on the idea of getting a dog initially.  In the midst of a rocky relationship, getting a dog seemed almost a desperate attempt at saving the situation.  When the relationship ends, it is clear that the dog, Rufus, belongs with Liz, and he will change her life forever.  Through every rough patch, Rufus is there to make things better.  When Rufus passes away, Liz must adjust to life without him, and learns the healing that sometimes comes with letting go.

I am a sucker for a good memoir, and equally a sucker for books about dogs, so for me, a memoir that involves a dog was sure to pack a wallop.  And the fact that the woman in the memoir is and aspiring writer?  Well, I was sold before I ever picked it up.  

Liz Weber does a fabulous job of opening her life, and her heart, to the readers of this book.  I was enchanted from the first chapter.  The book has an easy-natured way about it, making it a very pleasant read, even when discussing not so pleasant things.  She has quite a knack for describing things in rich detail, to the point where you feel you are there, silently observing the scene.  

I was highly impressed with this book; it lived up to every one of my expectations, which is no small feat.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Unforgivable Fix, by T.E. Woods

When Mort wants to walk away from his past, but his top priority needs to be keeping his daughter safe.  Despite the fact that he had not been in contact with her for some time, when she comes to him for help.  Mort knows that his only hope for keeping her safe is The Fixer, but this might not be something even The Fixer can fix.

I continue to be enamored with this series.  I think the writing is really solid; I feel like I know the recurring characters well at this point, but the new characters, including the new villains, continue to be well developed and keep things fresh.  The plot is fast paced, and full of twists, so it really kept me guessing all the way through, just like her books have in the past.  

I really like that Lydia's character continues to develop through the series.  We learn more of her history and backstory, and I personally felt like it helped me connect better to her character.  This series continues to be solid, yet still surprises me and catches me off guard.  Which is a very good thing indeed.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lust: Poems, by Diana Raab

Everyone lusts for something.  A lover,  Acceptance.  A better life.  In this poetry anthology, the poet explores feelings of lust, in contrast to feelings of love, and that longing to just live life on one's own terms.

I feel wholly unqualified to critique a book of poetry.  As a literary form, it is quite different from what I am used to.  No real character development, no plot in the way you typically think of plot.  I know absolutely nothing about poetic form.  All I know is whether or not poetry speaks to my soul.  At times, this book absolutely shouted, and at times, it barely whispered.

Erotica is something that quickly loses its novelty with me, particularly erotic poetry.  So, it did not take long for my eyes to sort of glaze over as I read this anthology.  That is, until I got so some poems that dealt with body image framed in the context of sexuality.  Those poems, in particular, really stuck out to me, and connected deeply.  Regardless of whether I feel connected to the content matter or not, I do feel qualified to say that this anthology of poetry is fearless, and more honest that many people feel comfortable with.  For that, I am truly glad to have read it.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Shall Be Near to You, by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Rosetta always preferred the more manly chores on her family's farm, being outdoors and doing physical work.  When her sweetheart decides to enlist in the Union army to fight in the Civil War, Rosetta convinces him to marry her before leaving.  She then disguises herself as a man, and enlists in the same unit as her husband.  Reinventing herself as Ross, she finds herself fighting as well as any man, for the sake of her country as well as her family.

I have been on a huge Civil War kick lately, ever since I visited Gettysburg this summer, so this book was right up my alley.  This book was really fascinating, not only thanks to the beautiful writing, but to the fact that this fictional story was based on actual women who fought in the Civil War.  The research behind the book was solid, and allowed me to be completely absorbed into the story.

I thought the writing in the book was just gorgeous.  I adored Rosetta as a character, and I admired her spirit.  I felt like I was able to connect to her adoration of her husband, and her desire to follow him to the ends of the world.  The book will appeal to fans of historical fiction and romance, but I think that in all reality this is the kind of book that would still appeal to fans of general contemporary fiction who tend to shy away from historical books.  While the historical aspect is a huge part of the story, it does not overshadow the book.  One does not need to be a Civil War buff to appreciate the beauty of this book.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Night Visitor, by Dianne Emley

Rory had a very glamorous life, one that anyone would envy, right up until the moment tragedy struck.  Suddenly, Rory's sister was dead, and a man accused of murder.  Rory attempts to move on with her life, but finds herself sharing an odd psychic connection with the accused man, as he attempts to clear his name.

I really felt this book was well written.  I felt that Rory's character, in particular, was really well developed.  I felt connected to her, and could really see the action of the story in my mind.  The writing is very vivid, and appeals to the reader.

I really liked that the book wove together a traditional crime thriller storyline with a paranormal storyline.  It made for something unusual and intriguing.  I feel like the book will appear to a variety of readers by crossing genres. All in all, this was a really solid thriller.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.