For readers around the globe. :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We All Fall Down

Guys.
I really, really enjoy reading Natalie D. Richards books.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed We All Fall Down!
It tackles several topics including mental illness, hauntings, college, and friendship.
Paige and Theo have been best friends for years, but Theo finally wants more. Too bad Paige is trying to impress another boy... Something terrible happens the night of the party and their friendship is ruined. Bad things always happen on the bridge, but they never thought it would happen to them. 
Paige begins questioning her entire friendship with Theo. She knows their relationship is toxic, it could never work. Especially since she put a lock on the bridge with their initials on it.... Could that have cursed them?
After 6 months apart, strange things start happening to them. Theo is hearing voices, voices reviving conversations he had during the night of the party. The party that quite literally, ruined his life. It must just be a side effect of his medication. But the more it happens, the more he questions his sanity.
Paige starts finding things she lost the night of the party. Things like her earring, purse, shoes, even her own teeth.... Maybe it's Theo playing a joke on her, but maybe it's more than that.

If we're being honest, the supernatural side was a little too much for me. I don't usually read books that have hauntings, ghosts, the unknown, etc.. It just seemed a bit far fetched and out of place for me. Sure, you could argue symbolism, but I just didn't enjoy that part. That being said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the story and loved reading about Theo and Paige.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me an advanced copy of We All Fall Down!
(Even though I just now got around to reading it, whoops!)

Looking for other Natalie D. Richards books?
One Was Lost 
What You Hide

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Rabbit Hole

I literally don't even want to review this book.
I had such high hopes to get an inside look into the survivor's abuse that he suffered while his family was involved in a Satanic cult.
Too bad that's not the book I got.
Rabbit Hole: A Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor's Story, written by survivor David Shurter, is NOTHING like the title suggests.
Now, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I fully believe he had a traumatic childhood, one that obviously hurt him throughout his entire life. His family was not anywhere close to perfect. I believe that growing up the way he did significantly altered how he would view the world and how it shaped his personality.
HOWEVER, there is zero evidence to point to his family ever being involved with the Satanic Churches or anything of that nature. Although, he does mention a blood sacrifice and setting a man on fire in his family's basement. Yet when he brings this information to the police, they turn a blind eye? That doesn't sound right.....

Let me also point out, David speaks about Satanic practices and different affiliates of "high social standing" who happened to be covering up ALL of the "satanic panic" rumors. But he speaks as if his findings are fact, even though all of his information was found on forums, chat rooms, online videos, and different magazine articles. None of his information was found through credible sources. The one book that he references throughout the entire book was Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America written by Noblitt and Perskin, which is very interesting because they also co-wrote Rabbit Hole with David. Not to mention their book has received serious heat because while the scientific evidence is somewhat accurate, the explanations are written very poorly.

So no, I will not be recommending this book to anyone under any circumstances.

Thanks NetGalley for the arc!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Have Dog, Will Travel

So Stephen Kuusisto was born blind in one eye and soon lost vision in the other eye.
For 38 years, Stephen pretended he could see. He pretended he was normal. He graduated, went to college, and became a professor, all while pretending he didn't have a disability. 
See when he was growing up, people viewed disabilities as a disease. They didn't know how to react or speak to those with disabilities. So he had no choice but to mask his disability. 
But once his teaching gig didn't last forever, he decided his life needed a new turn, one that could ultimately change his life for the better.
He was getting a service dog.
He had to go through intensive training in order to get his very own service dog.
In Have Dog, Will Travel, Stephen outlines what was included in his training, as well as the training that the dogs have to go through, starting in their puppy days.
He also talks about the stigma that goes along with blindness. He talks about the stress of putting your life in the hands of a dog, but once that dog becomes your lifelong partner, there is no hesitation. That dog is going to protect you with their life because that is what they are trained to do.

Huge thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Have Dog, Will Travel!
Even bigger thanks to Stephen Kuusisto for writing this fantastic book that helped me better understand service dogs!

Have Dog, Will Travel hits shelves March 13th!

Looking for other books on service dogs?
Try:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Year They Burned the Books

Okay so I have a few issues with this book.
1) When main character, Jamie, is talking to her parents the author refers to them (in Jamie's mind) as Mr. Crawford and Mrs. Crawford instead of Mom and Dad.
2) This is not actually about book burning but it is about censorship.
3) It deals with A LOT of controversy, such as LGBT issues and condom distribution.
4) IT IS SO OUTDATED.

I understand the need for a book like this, especially in the LGBT community.
I'm sure in 1999 (when this book was published) it was better suited for that audience, but I feel as a whole our outlook has changed quite a bit, whether that be better or worse, I'm not sure.

The basis of the book is a school newspaper editorial written in response to the school nurses distributing condoms to students on Friday in an attempt to promote safer sex. The editorial was pro-condom, whereas the op-ed was supposed to counteract the editorial. However, the op-ed was never written and caused quite a stir in the new school committee.
This created an excuse for school board member, Lisa Buel, to create a group through her church called Families for Traditional Values (FTV), which is against basically EVERYTHING. This group doesn't agree with the condom distribution, the sex education curriculum, or homosexuality.
The school paper catches wind and begins trying to counteract FTV with a renegade newspaper, one that cannot be shut down if the school doesn't agree with what they are publishing.
There is so much drama between the two parties (FTV and the school paper committee).

This book kind of irked me, far more than it probably should have.
 I understand the need for more LGBT books.
I understand the need to stop censorship.
I understand what this book was trying to do, but it was so extreme.
It really bothered me, and I apologize to anyone who disagrees with me.
I tried to keep my mind as open as possible, but I just could not handle it.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy of The Year They Burned the Books

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thug Kitchen

Okay, so I got this cookbook for free on my Amazon Kindle.
I had no idea it was a vegan cookbook, but I knew that my mom obsessed over it when it first came out.
I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but I bookmarked several and will DEFINITELY update this review when I have made them.

Here's the recipes I'm looking forward to the most:
Baked Okra and Potato Hash
Sweet Corn and Green Chile Baked Flautas
Tortilla Soup
Mid-Summer Salsa
Chocolate Fudge Pops
Maple-Oat Banana Bread
Chocolate Chip and Almond Butter Cookies (probably making this first if we're being honest)
Peanut Butter and Banana Nut Muffins

Looking for other cookbooks?
Siriously Delicious

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Alaska Wake Up Call!

So, Before I Let Go hit shelves today and Sourcebooks Fire hooked me up with an excerpt AND info for their Alaska Wake Up Call Giveaway! Check out the excerpt and then follow the link at the end for the giveaway :)

STRANGERS, TRAITORS, GHOSTS
I open the door and jump out of the plan as soon as we land on the narrow strip. The concrete shocks my knees and I stretch in the freezing cold air. I expect to find Mr. Henderson's 4x4 waiting for me, or Sheriff Flynn, maybe. Instead, a lone figure stands against the rising sun. With the light at her back, I can only see her silhouette- a tall, gangly figure whose long hair dances in the wind. She raises a hesitant hand.
My heart skips a beat. Kyra. Without thinking, I start towards her, her name on the tip of my tongue.
Then the light clears. Her nose is smaller. Her hair lighter.
And the shout of recognition dies in my throat.
Piper Morden.
Not Kyra.
I forgot. Now I ache to forget.
Behind me, the pilot disembarks. He grabs my backpack and hands it to me. "Your return flight is booked. Be here on time. See you in five days."
So little time, but it has to be enough. "I'll make sure of it. Thank you."
The man hesitates, then says, "Be careful in Lost Creek. Not everything is as it seems here."
Before I can reply with a simple, I know. We've always gone our own way, he turns on his heels with military precision and stalks back to the plane. I head towards Piper, who smirks. Plenty of people don't understand our closed community, our way of living. We're all used to odd comments like these.
Piper wraps her arms around me. She's never done so before, but I cling to her. She's strong and familiar. She smells of winter and home. "Hey, big city girl."
"Hey."
"How was your flight?"
"It was good. Quiet. Early." Strange.
"I can only imagine." Her smile fades. "Mr. H has a business meeting, so he asked me to pick you up. We're glad you're here. Kyra would've liked that."
That's new. These last few years, Piper never considered Kyra's feelings, and now that she's dead doesn't seem like the right time to start.
I sling my backpack over my shoulders, wondering how to phrase this question without sounding accusatory. "What can I expect here, Piper? I know Kyra wasn't exactly...loved."
Piper stiffens, as if I'd slapped her. Then she flicks a wayward lock of hair out of her face. "Do you think us so cold that we wouldn't mourn her?"
"No, but-"
"Things changed after you left."
"Nothing ever changes in Lost Creek," I say, out of habit. The only way to mark the passage of time here is by the aging of the children. They grow older, as they're meant to, every birthday the start of a new year. The adults somehow appear to stop aging, and the elderly stop counting the years altogether.
Piper's mouth quirks up, twisting her face into a harsh grimace. "never mind. You'll come to understand."
"Understand what?" I ask, but Piper has already turned away from me.
"We take care of our own here. You ought to know that."
I trek after her and regret not changing into my bunny boots. My sneakers are fit for traveling, but not for withstanding miles of snow. The cold bites.
At least I've arrived with the sun. When Piper and I turn away from the airstrip. towards Lost, bright light peeks out over the horizon. Anticipation takes over and the churning in my stomach settles. I breathe. This is home. The zingy smell of ice in the air. The snow, layered over the permafrost, that crunches beneath our feet.
Amid the gentle hills and pine-tree forests lies the town of Lost Creek. Our small, private universe. From our vantage point, it looks tiny, like a collection of dollhouses rather than a place where people live.
But it is home.
Welcome home.

********

NOTES FROM KYRA TO COREY
SENT, UNANSWERED

Can you see the stars at your new school? I can't imagine that the night sky there is as clear as it is in Lost. When you're back, let's go camping near the springs. Just you and me and a campfire and the northern lights. We'll build a bridge. A bridge between us. I miss you, Corey.

********
 
I have plenty more of the excerpt that I would be more than happy to share. Just leave a comment and I'll send it your way!
To celebrate the release of Before I Let Go, Sourcebooks Fire has teamed up with Alaska Wild Berry Product to giveaway an Alaska Wake Up Call gift basket!
Check out the giveaway here:
 
Looking for my review?

Craig & Fred

Starting 2018 out strong with my fav dog book of the year, Craig & Fred!
So I first saw a video posted on The Dodo Facebook page of a marine who snuck a dog out of Afghanistan while on deployment.
 Obviously, I knew I had to get this book.
But here's a little back story first:
My husband and I currently live in South Korea because that's where the Army put us.
 I'm not going to even pretend this is in any way similar to Afghanistan, but there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE like Craig describes in his book, hence how he got Fred (well kind of).

So Craig worked in corrections in the Marine Corps for 4 years but just wasn't loving it. After his contract was up, he reenlisted for 4 more years, this time doing something else, intel.
That's when he got the orders he was waiting for: Afghanistan.
While there fighting the Taliban, he and the other Marines noticed a dog was just hanging out at shots rang out, completely unphased by the terror around him or even the people. That's when Craig decided to give him a piece of jerky, the rest was history.
Looks like Craig has a 'Fred!'
Soon after the initial meeting, they tried picking all of the bugs out of Fred's fur, and he let them! In fact, he loved all the attention he was getting. It didn't take long to realize the troop had a mascot. Fred even got to go on missions with them!
Basically, he was learning how to be a marine.
Which is when the guys knew... Fred was going home.

It took a crazy amount of people to smuggle a dog out of a war zone, into a helicopter, hide him in the barracks, and get him home to the states.
But it happened, IN JUST A FEW WEEKS.
 Now Craig has a lifelong friend who went through the same events as himself.
They had the same experiences and now they're getting to make their own memories.
Craig & Fred is such a heartfelt read, but with the rawness that only a Marine could tell.
Told through alternating chapters, we learn how Craig and Fred rescued each other and the tale of their adventures after the war.
Highly recommending Craig & Fred to be your #1 read in 2018!